I hear it all the time. Orthodontists decide they want a new product or technology and are “convinced” that it will grow the practice and attract patients… But they turn around and sell this same awesomeness that patients can’t live without for “cost”. The latest and most ubiquitous manifestation of this sales technique (and I’m talking about us orthodontists getting sold, not patients) involves 800-dollar mouth vibrators. I’ve been told by dozens of orthodontists that they use the vibrators because it makes treatment faster and increases capacity and patients want them… so then these same orthodontists just add the cost of the vibrator to the case fee.

Ok, so let’s ignore for a second that it is dumb to pay for capacity or speed if you’re not at capacity. Let’s forget that finishing faster and having more cost per case makes financing more difficult. Let’s also imagine that there is not city, county and state use tax on these devices that you’re more than likely forgetting about and eating when you sell for cost.

Instead let’s focus on the fact that it is dumb to spend money that you don’t have to spend on equipment or inventory with no upside (i.e. profit). If the product is as awesome as the salesman convinced you it is, then patients will pay a premium price above and beyond the cost of the device and the normal case fee. Patients desirous of this product will also pay in full or accept a much larger down payment and much shorter financing terms. If the vast majority of your patients are doing that then by all means buy the mouth vibrators by the case! If, however, you’re selling the devices for your cost then you’re just making money for your sales rep, adding risk to your business and potentially reducing your conversion rate when it comes to shoppers. Oh, and don’t forget that if these mouth vibrators catch on in your area then all your competitor has to do is call YOUR sales rep to get his or her very own mouth vibrators!

Look you can do whatever you want and if you just like the cool toys then by all means go for it. I just want to make sure you’re clear on the business principles involved here! Be smart! Do what it takes to get great results in a reasonable amount of time. Look after your patients and yourself!! Your rep is a big boy or girl and they don’t need you lining their pockets.