Articles by Lara Hodson

A PROCESS FOR SALES SUCCESS

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The Similarity between Doctor’s Visits and Sales Calls

I went to the doctor for a routine check up the other day. Upon my arrival, the Receptionist greeted me enthusiastically, confirmed my appointment and requested my insurance card. I presented the card and was instructed to have a seat in the waiting room. A few minutes later, a nurse opened another door and called my name. She guided me through the door into the back office where the examining rooms were. On the other side of the door was a scale. She beckoned me to step on. I did. She jotted some notes down, took my pulse and blood pressure and ushered me into the examining room to wait for the doctor. The doctor came in, greeted me warmly and we shared pleasantries. He commented on my low blood pressure and began to ask questions to determine what the purpose of my visit was.

It was at this point, I had a revelation. The process I went through for a routine check- up could be duplicated in a sales appointment. There are four specific steps that occur when you go to the doctor’s office. Let’s investigate the process at the clinic and see how we as sales professionals may benefit by using a similar model.

The first step at clinic is the prequalifying step. The Receptionist asked me to present my insurance card. Indirectly she was asking if I could I pay for the services rendered. As sales professionals, an important first step is to prequalify your customer. Are you speaking to the decision maker? If not, you are talking to the wrong person. Are they capable of paying for services rendered? How will payment be made? The prequalifying step is an important one.

The next step is the questioning model to determine your prospect’s present condition. The nurse takes your pulse, weighs you and makes notes. She gets a general idea of the situation and why you scheduled the appointment. In sales, you must of the present condition of your customer. You may have to ask some general questions to determine their present state. It is not a bad idea to jot down a few notes. It indicates you are listening. The right questions are key to collecting the information.

Page 2 – Lara Hodson

The third step is for the doctor to dig even deeper and ask specific questions to gain a thorough understanding of your situation. He listens carefully and then repeats back for clarity. When he has a clear understanding of your situation, he can make a recommendation for a prescription if necessary. Are you asking the right questions to clearly understand your client’s needs? Are you listening carefully to their responses? Do you have a clear understanding about their situation and what they need?

Finally, step four, the doctor repeats what he learned. He understands your situation and can suggest a remedy. Are you clarifying back to your client what you understand their situation to be? Only then can you make a recommendation. Confirming what you learned is essential.

Imagine what would happen if a step of the process at the clinic were eliminated? You arrive at the clinic, present your insurance card to the Receptionist and take a seat. Instead of the nurse coming out to weigh you and take your blood pressure, the doctor comes out. He spreads out a large variety of pills and medicines. He shares with you details about several different pills and the benefit they provide. He asks which one would work best for you and if there is any reason he could not get you started on a prescription right away. This scenario may seem absurd and unlikely to happen at a doctor’s visit. Unfortunately, it happens often with sales professionals. It is not uncommon to recommend a solution when we don’t know what our customer needs or wants. We have not prequalified them, asked questions to determine their state, confirmed what we heard and in no way in a position to offer a solution.

If you follow this four step process, three things are likely to happen. You will get a clear understanding of your customer’s needs, gain credibility and be perceived as an expert and your sales will increase. This scenario is not absurd and will most likely happen.

Lara Hodson, PHR
Performance Consultant
Dale Carnegie Solutions of Central Indiana
(317)660-1606
Lara.Hodson@dalecarnegie.com

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