Should you ask vendors to call you Doctor vs first name?
I have a very definite YES and very strong feeling about this topic. Being an African America dentist I should have given it more thought before I graduated but hadn’t till my Jamaican classmate mentioned soon after graduation that he had corrected someone, a vendor or whomever he was doing business with regarding a preference of being addressed as Doctor. At Meharry Dental school we were addressed as doctors since freshman year so you kinda get used to it. But more importantly you need to stress to everyone that isn’t friend or family or in a social setting that you should be addressed as doctor because it’s your LEVERAGE. Why would someone trying to do business with you try to address you like that anyhow? “Oh, I thought we were on friendly first name basis.” Oh yeah? That’s a lie. You didn’t expect me to challenge you and you thought you’d try to slip it in and if unchallenged you win… Nope, it ain’t gonna happen here buddy. I’m in charge and I’m a real Boss. When you say it jokingly I’m gonna show you I’m serious about being a Boss.
That’s just what’s going through my head but that’s just me…anyhow you decide.
You worked too hard to attain the leverage and they are trying to take it away to bring you down to their level or lower to give them an advantage on you. This could be for negotiation or just mental jockeying to stay ahead, why else would they want to call you by your first name? Do they know you like that from some previous relationship? Well, why then do they insist on calling me Jerry. Doctor is my leverage and I intend to use it to let everyone dealing with me know that I’m a professional and I also soon inform them that I’m also a businessman or Entrepreneur. Plus, my mom would roll over in her grave if I were allowing that. As hard as she worked to get that and as proud as she was of that degree…”hold up Jack”
They’re some haters out their that for whatever reasons have refused to call me Dr. Lanier and it cost them the opportunity of being able to work with me. I don’t have time for their foolish inferiority complex that prevents them from allowing me to play my role that I paid dues to qualify for. So did you. So don’t allow it or start telling people to just call you by your first name in the work place especially.
My company hired a new doctor, young Vietnamese dentist and when I stopped by the office unexpectedly I thought she was a DA, she looked so young. Then she introduced herself to me by her first name. But I asked, aren’t you the new dentist? She said yes, but her last name is hard to pronounce so she allow people to… I stopped her right there and gave her my lecture about leverage and the title “doctor”.
There was a very famous cowboy dentist that was also a gun fighter named ” Doc. Holiday”, yes a dentist. Do you know his last name? Do you think he’d be a legend if he let everyone call him Bob??
I said No Doc. You use that title and don’t allow anyone in the workspace, especially vendors, and business associates deprive you of your leverage.
I’ve personally employed probably 100 dentist over my career and always address them as Dr. Last name. Even if your last name is hard, change that before you drop the title.
The only time I don’t want to be addressed as doctor is when they ask “is there a doctor onboard the plane?” No, that’s when I’m Jerry
Stay in Boss mode and remember in that Hip hop song “You don’t know me like that…”
Hey Doc !! See you at the Top !!