Argument Structure


Argument Structure

When you were in high school, It was required that you would write a term paper before you could earn your diploma. Teachers would say that it didn’t matter what you wrote about, so long as you could form arguments. If you went to a university, you couldn’t graduate until you turned in your senior paper. It didn’t matter what your topic was, as long as you made sound arguments.

(I did my senior high school paper on steroids in sports. 1989. C-. Nice effort, Matt)

The idea of crafting an argument goes back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks. A structured argument contains a claim, data, and a warrant. At least that is how I remember it. Let’s think of our Argument as a mental model:

Claim-Your opinion. You stick your stake in the ground.

Data- Evidence, preferably numeric. Facts.

Warrant- Powerful summary. The benefit to society if I am right. Another nice way to warranty an argument, is to present this scenario: What if I am wrong? Then…etc.   (You would then go and paint a picture of a terrible world where your argument is wrong.)

In sales we are trying to be persuasive. In business we are trying to think correctly. The idea of an argument is a terribly simple idea. But it is one that we should take seriously.

Please share your thoughts here…


“Phrases that Pay”


Influence doesn’t come from conversations. It comes from quality conversations. The idea of having and practicing “Phrases that Pay,” is an idea that when taken seriously, can help you to find that mojo! Confidence! And, confidence, if you really look back over your sales career, it’s confidence that has always been there in times of success. So let’s take a look at these “Phrases that Pay.”

Well? These are just phrases that sound…!  They hit home. You enjoy saying them. And my friends, when you are enjoying making presentations? Well….that’s when you are Confident! Confident sales people are target-oriented! They sell gear! Let me now share with you some of my Phrases that Pay:

ScanX- “scanx is a low-anxiety system, especially for your staff and your patents”

Sitting Appropriately in a stool- “your upper leg-lines should be on a slight downslope, 20 degrees, feet-flat on the floor” ( when you say this phrase, go into the operatory and let them see you in the operatory. Present from the operatory. It makes dental salespeople look so much more credible, when they are not in the hallway.  Get into the arena!)

Modernizing Offices (selling replacement EQ)- “I want to help you to modernize your practice, over time, in a way that fits in with your budget. Doctor, I want you to think of me as your Modernization Specialist.”

Forest Comfort Stool“Finally, a dental stool that we can get excited about!”

Forest Color- “We call it the Starbucks Effect. Light and dark contrasting earth-tones. People don’t just go to Starbucks for the coffee, they walk into that building for the Atmosphere.”

Matt Highland Polaris Training- “Matt Highland will go into the office. He’ll hand each girl a cheat sheet. And, he will CREATE LIFTOFF with the camera!”

Meisinger- “Meisinger is the Grandfather of all bur and diamond companies. 126 years. (pause) ….. Quality.”

Forest Company- “Doctor, this is a company that lives and breathes it’s brand strategy…(pause)..Affordable Excellence (pause) …Designer Friendly.” 

Lastly, Do you want to make up your own “Phrases that Pay?” Here’s how you do it: Take any Product and run it through the gauntlet of The 7. Believe me, if you are willing to work at it and be creative, you’ll become a dental Shakespeare.



One of my best customers, when he first started to support me, he said this: “Matt, I want to sell more of your stuff. I’m just not completely comfortable with it. I just need to get more familiar with it.”

He even had a guilty expression on his face. As if, he truly wanted to give me his business. But, he just couldn’t pull the trigger, because he simply hadn’t seen it, and touched it enough. Wow. I got excited and set out on a mission of Familiarity. My most notorious moment was six months later. We were having dinner at a very nice steak house. I reached down into a box and laid an entire dental X-ray control box on the table cloth. The customers immediately starting laughing out loud. I told them about my thoughts about Familiarity. They appreciated the thought process. It’s always been a funny story for us to remember. We laugh about the fact that only Matt would have laid a dental X-ray on the table cloth! You know what? They started selling those X-rays. And yes, he continues to make fun of me to this very day.

Familiarity is a terribly simple idea. But I think it’s a good idea to take it Seriously.

Be Visible


Be Seen! (I know…..a bit ridiculous in terms of it’s simplicity)

Let’s say you are down. Let’s say you are uninspired one day. Just be seen! My Father was in sales. He would say with great passion, “you’d be amazed what happens, if you just walk in the door, Matty!” He would say it again and again. He would try to pound it into your head.

(I would love to get some comments or suggestions here).

I like to try to say Hello to everyone. Great questions:

Are you taking any time off soon? Where did you grow up? Is this your home town? By the way, what are the roots of your last name….I was wondering? What do you like to do when you’re not here working? Tell me about your trip?

Dale Carnegie? Take an interest in others? People appreciate it.

I’d like to get better at this. Hope to get some comments here. What are some other great questions?

See ya!

Simple Ideas Explained


Simple Ideas Explained

If life is the sum of your decisions, then what kind of a process do we have in place for making those decisions? If a salesperson is to have an earth-moving and uncommon performance, then how does he or she go about making decisions about the short moments of influence that are available?

Imagine each simple idea as a decision-making filter. Imagine trying to strain each planned month, week, dental meeting, or sales call through the decision-making filter?

(think- Hank Barton’s 7 ingredients…as a way to strain your presentation preparation)

This is what the Simple Ideas are all about! I hope that you find these blog posts to be mostly involved with the idea of making great decisions in preparation.

a pilot or a heart surgeon?…and the idea of a Checklist.


Who is more responsible…..a pilot or a heart surgeon?

Most folks say that you have to give the nod to the airline pilot. The airline pilot has more lives at stake. The pilot probably ranks #1 when it comes to personal responsibility. You’d better believe that before that plane leaves the ground, a pilot goes through what is known as a “pre-flight checklist.” If you look up “pre flight checklist” in Google…you end up here( think of your pre-call plan as you read the just the first paragraph ).

I’ve always tried to tell rookie dental reps, that when you make a commitment, you’ve got to make a note. The idea of a checklist is a terribly simple idea, but it is one that we should all take seriously.Image