Recommending is not selling photo RDH

Recommending Care Without Selling

March, 2021

Author: Mandy Dennis, RDH

How many times have you walked down the aisle of oral healthcare products and seen another customer looking puzzled as they stare at the multitude of products? Customers in stores may not understand the differences and may be lost with the endless options. We can help.  We can begin asking questions and then make recommendations to help them make a decision based on their needs and wants. We aren't selling  a product for a store. We are solely making a recommendation. This doesn't change when we are in our offices. The location of our recommendation may change,  however the intent behind the recommendation remains the same.

Recommending vs. Selling

Patients ask our opinion on how they can do better with oral hygiene and home care. They are asking because they trust us. Choosing products which will help our patients be more successful with their home care is part of our job. It is also our responsibility to be honest and tailor recommendations based on the patient's needs and wants. If you are ethically recommending a product and happen to be compensated for that product, then it’s fine. However, if you are making a recommendation based on compensation, the problem isn’t with the compensation, the problem is with the intent. it is when you are choosing to tell someone they need something, not based on their need but on your personal reimbursement, that it becomes selling.   

Helping Patients Get Their Recommendations

It’s incredible to think how many products are on the shelves for oral care. With Gum Health Physical, we have been able to print out the recommendations to assist our patients for when they go to the store.  Going to the store can be overwhelming as individuals look for the product you have recommended. Should they not find it, they may settle for something different. While patients are eager to listen to your  recommendations, they are also looking for convenience. Suggested home care aids may not always be carried by the store your patient is going to. Colgate’s newest recommendation tool allows you to conveniently recommend products and helps your patient get these products without shopping or settling for something else. Colgate Professional Direct (CPD) has become a convenient tool for patients and providers. You are able to recommend the best products for your patient without the need to stock every toothbrush or toothpaste in the practice.  Reduced  stock saves the practice money and the patient gets exactly what they need, not a stock toothpaste and toothbrush. Your recommendations are sent as an email or text. Patients can then purchase these items and receive their products at their door. CPD has allowed us as providers to give our patients the recommendations and information they need, without printing or writing this down on paper. There’s  no confusion.  

Fellow colleagues have also found the link to be a great resource in a time where our patients are not looking to leave their house.  

“CPD has been so great, especially during the pandemic, with little contact shopping. It has been so convenient to make sure that my patients are getting exactly what I recommend they use!”- Jennifer Collins, RDH, Chico, CA


-  Recommending a product based on professional opinion isn’t selling. It’s utilizing your knowledge to help someone get what they are specifically needing.

-  Patients are expecting you to make professional recommendations. They are looking to leave with information on how to get healthier when they leave the practice and go home.  

- CPD has made recommending products easier than ever with direct access for patients. 

Recommending  products personalized for your patient is giving professional care. Using accessible tools to make obtaining them easier for our patients is one more way to give exceptional care.


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