Sales Professionalism

We have all probably heard this analogy once in our lives -asking questions and probing for information in the sales call is much like a doctor’s examination. There is a nice correlation between the way in which our medical professionals go through the learning process to understand the cause and the source of the problem that we can all learn from. However, when you really explore the entire process in context, there is a great deal more that we need to understand and can learn from before we can simply act like a physician in the customer interview process.

The following represents other critical thoughts, perspectives, and lessons to internalize before simply probing for information like our favorite local physician:

1. The motivation for medical appointments and sales calls are entirely different: Most of us visit visit the doctor because we chose to. Most physicians do not make cold calls, referral calls, or set-up appointments to simply build a relationship. When we make an appointment with our doctor it is because we were motivated to do so-we have something going on for which we need an answer or a solution. This also facilitates a more receptive and engaged diagnosis process.

In a sales call, most sales professional set-up or initiate the appointment. The salesperson is the one who was motivated to make the meeting happen. In many cases, our clients are not consciously aware of or interested in solving any particular problem or making a change of some sort. Hence, the clients will be, and often are, more guarded in the interview process. After all, they are not the motivate ones here.

2. We trust our physicians, no one trusts a salesperson: While most everyone trusts their doctors, few trust sales people. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 79% of the clients do not trust their sales people. When we walk into a doctor’s office they have their medical diplomas on display, we know that they have been licensed and certified and we are all aware of the tremendous amount of education and training involved with becoming a doctor. With all this background, generally in combination with a warm referral, we readily trust our doctor.

On the other hand, salespeople have a bad reputation. Their arrogance, their selfishness, their pushiness and their financial motivations make them untrustworthy from the start. The trust and credibility instantly granted to a physician has to be earned and rewarded by the salesperson. This takes time, commitment, and sincerity – something too few sales professionals are willing to focus on consistently.

3. Physicians don’t care if we take their advice, salespeople need their clients to buy the remedy: In reality, your doctor does not have a vested interest in whether we take their advice or not. They are professionals at identifying and recommending solutions to problems. But, their success or their income is not dependent upon whether their patients take their advice, fill the prescription, follow the plan or not. That is up to the patient. Their job is to identify the issue, understand its cause, provide their professional expertise to create and recommend a solution and leave the rest up to the patient.

In the sales realm, we want, need, and are dependent upon our clients buying and using our solution. If they don’t buy from us, use our services or engage in a professional relationship, we accomplish very little as it relates to our job description and our paycheck. Unless we are willing and able as sales professionals to truly offer advice and solutions as resource experts without being dependent upon compensation or a subsequent order, we will likely not be seen as credible or unbiased like our fellow medical professionals.


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