Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sort of Sums Up The Day

Nah - it wasn't that bad. I visited my dentist's office for a cleaning. My hygienist Danielle is back from maternity leave (and she is the only one I'll see) and she was laughing as I told her I was blogging my visit.

I hated the dentist. Not my dentist - he's fabulous. He totally saved me from dentaphobia (it's a real word - look it up), but over the years I have encountered some of the sickest bastards in the business. People who really messed with my head. You know the kind (sample dialogue) - "Uh, I can feel that." "No you can't." And so on until I was a sobbing wreck and vowed to avoid anyone with a DDS after their name.

What was the agent of change? First, Dr. Valdemar Welz was recommended by someone I trust. Second, Dr. Welz sat down with me for nearly an hour before he ever looked in my mouth. An hour. I had filled out a profile in the reception area and self-identified as a dentaphobe, and he asked good questions. More than that - he asked the right questions about fear triggers (the sight of anything dental, all of the sounds, and the War of the Worlds overhead lamp) and he countered with ways to help me avoid these things. I was invited to bring my own CDs and offered monster headphones that blocked all dental sounds. In his chair I never saw "the needle" - he always concealed it. Best of all, he always has two assistants in the room, one to assist him and one to pat the shoulder of the patient - or be ready for whatever comes up.

Over the years he's repaired or replaced all of the work done by the psychotics before him. It hasn't been cheap (I always ask which of his children I'm sending to Harvard) but I don't live in fear of "the dentist" anymore.

There's a lesson here for marketers - and no, it is not "hit 'em with the laughing gas" (but that would be fun.) I'm pretty sure the lesson is listen before you speak. Don't speak at me - don't "push" your product, your marketing plan or your thing (whatever it may be.) You might just be rewarded with a lifelong customer. The kind that refers other lifelong customers. And blogs you.

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