Reflections on the CDA Conference

August 24, 2015

This past weekend, Jacob and I had the privilege of attending the California Dental Association meeting in San Francisco. It was our first conference as exhibitors, and the first time either Jacob or I have ever tried our hands at sales; needless to say, it was quite a humbling experience for the both of us.

The sales representatives we met were like a large family – they all seemed to know one another from the ‘circuit’ of conferences they cycle through each year. We were very much the new kids on the block, and couldn’t help but feel green. The majority of reps were staying at one of the fancy hotels that were partnered with the CDA or convention center; we stayed in an Airbnb loft above a glass factory. Ours was clearly a much more authentic San Fran experience, and the intimidating flights of steep stairs we climbed each day provided an authentic workout. Every morning we hiked to the convention center in our suits, wearing backpacks filled with Supply Clinic swag to attract attention to our table. The suits with backpacks look brought me back to college, where it was all too common to see students on their way from class to a corporate interview during the on-campus recruiting season.

Our table was situated directly across from a booth selling instantly heating heat packs, with three paid models drawing in a crowd. This actually worked to our advantage, as it brought significant traffic to our aisle and booth area. As a side note, the models had name-badges that read ‘Model-1’, ‘Model-2’, and ‘Model-3.’ The massive convention hall generally felt busy, and during lunch hour there wasn’t a moment to breathe. Vendors in the hall were peddling items ranging from surgical instruments to disposable prophy angles to boxes of gloves and face masks. It was welcoming to see many of the vendors that currently list on our site, and extremely flattering as many more vendors approached us with interest in selling their product through Supply Clinic.

Drawing people to a booth to sell your product requires just the right mixture of confidence, sincerity, and shamelessness. I think having this experience (for some time) is invaluable, but wouldn’t necessarily want to make a career of it. As the conference progressed, we improved our pitch, became much more effective at drawing people to our booth, and converted many dentists into registered users on the spot. We hope that with our promotion that lasts until August 31st, we will see many more users sign up and begin to make purchases.  Jacob and I will use the techniques learned from this conference, and continue to improve upon them at conferences to come.

We hope to see as great a crowd at the upcoming ADA and Greater New York dental conferences this fall!


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