How Does Your Doctor Do It?
Tom had a 10:00am appointment with his doctor. He arrived a few minutes early, and started looking at the stack of People, Time, and Newsweek magazines that were on the coffee table.
Shortly thereafter he was escorted into Dr. James W. Smith’s office for his examination. Dr. Smith proceeded to tell Tom all about himself. Where he grew up, where he went to college. He described his years at medical school at NYU in New York City, and told him about how he did his internship at UCLA Medical Center.
Then he started telling Tom about how qualified his nurses and support staff were and about the new X-Ray machine he had just purchased for $480,000.
After this brief introduction, Dr. Smith fired up his laptop computer, and commenced his 25 slide PowerPoint presentation that told Tom all about the wonderful services that the doctor and his staff provided.
It had eye-catching graphics and charts. Great patient testimonials, and was narrated by a famous actor.
After about 75 minutes, Dr. Smith asked Tom how he felt. He said he was having headaches. So Dr. Smith prescribed some pills, and sent him on his way.
What’s wrong with this story? EVERYTHING!
Doctors Ask Questions
Doctors don’t work this way. They ask questions. The first thing they do is ask you to fill out a medical history form.
They want to know about many things like:
- Your ailments, illnesses, surgeries, and injuries.
- Your family’s medical history.
- If you’re allergic to any drugs.
- If you’ve been seen other physicians and if so, who and when.
A nurse then gives you tests. Blood tests. Urine analysis. Maybe an X-ray. Perhaps an EKG.
Then the doctor comes in, asks you lots of questions, and begins to examine you. He listens to your heart and lungs, taps your knees and elbows with a rubber mallet to check your reflexes. He looks into your eyes and ears, and up your nose with a little flashlight.
He makes you open your mouth, pushes down your tongue with a depressor, and makes you say AHHH, while he looks down your throat.
Depending upon the answers to the questions and the results of the tests, he may ask you more questions and/or run more tests to be sure what’s ailing you. Or give you a prescription and send you on your way.
Finding The Customer’s Pain:
Sales people are often trained to “Find The Customer’s Pain.” This may not be the best phrase, because what do you do when you’re in pain? You usually see a doctor, right?
So, if the customer was in “pain” she would call you, or one of your competitors, and ask you to come over because she would knew she had a problem needing fixing.
But, if the customer doesn’t know she’s got a problem, how do you discover that she has a need for your product or service?
You do it by asking questions. Not by talking about yourself, like Dr. Smith did.
Just finding out that a problem exists isn’t enough. You’ve got to discover the financial impact or economic value of the problem. You’ve got to get the customer to tell you how much it’s costing them because something isn’t working properly.
The Problem’s Financial Impact:
Shelly, whose company makes shipping label software told her coach about one of her clients who ships at least 1,000 packages a day. When asked how many of them get shipped to the wrong address, she said that only two were mislabeled each day, or just 2 percent.
You’d think that 2 percent is good, but what is the actual cost to the company of those two mislabeled packages each day?
Consider the additional costs of:
- Pulling a new order from the warehouse and putting it in a box.
- Retyping the labels.
- Dealing with an unhappy customer who didn’t receive the merchandise.
- Restocking, if the merchandise is returned.
- The merchandise if the package is lost.
- The duties, insurance, and brokerage fees.
- The list could go on and on…
In this case, it was costing her client at least $100 for each mislabeled package. That’s $200/day. $1,000/week. $50,000/year.
By finding out the financial impact of the customer’s shipping problem, Shelly had discovered a $50,000/year problem. (What’s the cost of this over the next five years?) Now her $5,000 solution didn’t seem so expensive, in fact it paid for itself in just five weeks.
So, spend more time asking great questions, and less time talking about yourself and your company, and you’ll create more opportunities, close more sales, and make more money.
Brad Sugars founded the brand Action International in 1993 when he realized there was a disconnect between business advice and implementation. The answer was Action! Brad Sugars created a business coaching company so that business owners throughout the world can realize their goals in business. Today the company is known as ActionCOACH. To learn more about business, visit Brad Sugars Review blog!