The powerful role dental assistants play in purchasing

2020 03 11 17 37 6319 Price Jennifer 400thumb

Imagine attending a dental meeting armed with a long list of products to purchase on behalf of your dental practice at the exhibit hall during that meeting. Imagine then being told that you are unable to complete the purchase because of the title on your name badge. It reads "dental assistant."

Jennifer Hawley Price.Jennifer Hawley Price.

This situation happens far too often. I have been at the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the DALE Foundation's booth at a large dental meeting when a DANB certified dental assistant (CDA) came seeking help. She was attending the meeting to make purchases on behalf of her dental practice and was told to send her dentist to the booth because this dental product company was unable to sell to dental assistants.

According to the DALE Foundation's Value of Dental Assistants to the Dental Practice research, 74% of dental assistants said that they recommend products, and 72% are involved in placing dental product orders, with 42% of dental assistants doing this work independently for their dental practice. That is a great deal of purchasing power.

The DALE Foundation's research also revealed that DANB CDA certificants are particularly influential. Dental assistants who hold DANB's CDA certification were more likely to independently meet with sales reps, make recommendations for purchases, and place orders for some products and services.

Despite significant purchasing power, only 60% of dental assistants indicated that they meet with dental industry sales representatives. There is a relatively large gap of those involved in meeting with reps and those who are involved in recommending and/or purchasing products.

Dental assistants take their purchasing responsibilities seriously. Perhaps it's time for dental manufacturers, distributors, and sales reps to take the purchasing power of dental assistants seriously as well.

Jen Hawley Price is the chief engagement and development officer at the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the DALE Foundation. In her current role, she oversees DALE Foundation educational products and supports DANB and DALE Foundation in strategic initiatives, including collaborative work with key partners in the dental industry.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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