Name: Monte Bruner
Franchisee Since: March 2011
Service Area: North Metro Atlanta
Like so many Americans, Monte Bruner lost his job when his employer went out of business in the wake of the recession. A surveyor and civil engineer by trade, Bruner knew it would be challenging to find another job and began exploring other options. He worked with a franchise broker to narrow down a list of hundreds of franchise opportunities to a few service-oriented businesses. He was attracted to The Dentist’s Choice because it didn’t require him to upsell a service. He launched his Dentist’s Choice franchise in March 2011 and never looked back.
QUESTION & ANSWER:
DC: Describe your most memorable customer experience.
MONTE: There are a few that stand out. One practice in particular, I had visited several times in an effort to get their business. After one of the visits, I left thinking I would never get the chance to work with them. The next week, they called me needing some repairs and now they are one of my best customers. An office manager at another practice told me from the start that they have been working with a competitor for years and really like the owner. I handed her my card and told her, “I hope to have customers feel that way about me,” and left. She called me a few weeks later because the competitor couldn’t get a piece quick enough for a repair. I contacted The Dentist’s Choice corporate team and they were able to help me get the piece within a week. The practice has consistently done business with me since then and is also one of my best customers. That’s the great thing about being part of The Dentist’s Choice: Even though I have my own local small business, I’m backed by a large organization that has deep connections and relationships with key players in the industry.
DC: What key takeaway did you have from these experiences that others can learn from?
MONTE: You have to be persistent. You can’t be afraid to follow-up. You need to keep going back and checking in with current and prospective customers. As you get busier, it becomes harder to visit practices in-person, but you need to keep this a priority and make time.
Also, don’t be afraid of marketing. I’m an engineer. I’ve always been an introvert. When I was talking to The Dentist’s Choice president Steve Everhart about investing in my own Dentist’s Choice franchise, I told him my big set back was that I was scared to death of having to market the business. I realized that I could easily hire someone to market and joined anyway. Steve reassured me that I would be fine and worked with me to overcome my fear. I really credit him for my marketing success. I wasn’t forced to change my personality, but was taught best practices that have helped me tremendously. People don’t like salesmen or when people are being pushy, so I just be myself. For instance, one day I came into a practice I had visited numerous times and said, “Hello,” to the receptionist, who I talked to several times. She turned around to the office manager who happened to be standing there and said, “I’ve told you about Monte. He comes in all the time. Doesn’t he just look honest?” I never thought I would say this, but marketing is my favorite part of being a Dentist’s Choice franchisee. I actually truly enjoy it.
DC: Any sales tricks other franchise owners can try?
MONTE: Don’t just offer your service; find another way to stand out. For example, I have a really good family recipe for deep fried pecans. Each year, my brother and I fry about 100 pounds of pecans, and I give them to prospective and current customers during the holiday season. I’ve done this from the very beginning, so my customers have gotten used to this. They typically start asking me about the pecans in September. Similarly, dentists sterilize handpieces in a plastic bag. Every time I visit a practice, I give them one of those bags filled with Hershey Kisses.
ABOUT THE DENTIST’S CHOICE
Founded in 1993, The Dentist’s Choice is a nationwide network of community-focused dental handpiece repair experts, providing quick and cost effective repair services on handheld tools used by every dentist. Local franchise owners pick up handpieces from dentists’ offices in their markets, repair them in their lab and typically return them within a week. Focusing solely on handpieces, The Dentist’s Choice concentrates on high speed, slow speed and electric handpiece repairs, sonic scaler and attachment overhauls, and fiber optic replacement services. For more information, visit www.thedentistschoice.com. For franchise information, call 800-757-1333 or visit www.tdcopportunity.com.