There is an awful lot that business people can learn from doctors, and I once sketched out a keynote talk: ‘What medical doctors can teach us about business’. If the UK Government gets its way with National Health Service reforms, I might dust it off, re-title it: ‘What medical practice can teach us about business’ and take it on the road to GP groups around the country.
Let’s look at pain
Doctors rarely have any problems convincing a patient to take their medicine or have their operation. Most people who do resist their doctor’s advice do so because they also have conflicting advice – often from another doctor.
Of course, the stakes can be very high at a doctor’s surgery: you may be in pain, concerned for your long-term health or even facing terminal illness. Your doctor can diagnose what is causing this and offer ways to remove or reduce the pain, enhance your long-term health prospects and even, perhaps, cure a life-threatening illness.
How does this relate to sales?
Nobody buys anything without a reason, and there are only four reasons why anybody does anything:
- Duty – they feel they ‘must’
- Curiosity – they need to ‘scratch an itch’
- Pleasure – they want something that will ‘feel good’
- Pain – they want to ‘stop the pain’
What doctors can do is offer the promise of stopping the pain. As a salesperson, this is a phenomenally effective way to sell. If you can identify what hurts for your customer, then you are on your way.
Selling like a doctor
- Discover their pain
- Make sure they are aware of it
- Demonstrate that you understand what’s causing it
- Suggest your product or service can heal it
- Let the potential customer ask you questions
- Provide evidence that your medicine works
- Discuss the perfect prescription for them
So here’s the deal
Next time you are trying to sell, take some time to diagnose your potential customer’s discomfort. The more pain they have, the keener they will be for the right medicine. If they also believe that you have that medicine, they’ll bite off your hand to get a fix.
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Selling is an essential skill for anyone in business, so it’s a great time to polish up you skills and remind yourself of the basics.