About two weeks ago I was doing a seminar for a variety of professionals. Some sales professionals and some non-sales professionals. I often find that non-sales professionals (attorneys, doctors, engineers, architects) believe that the expertise they possess is what is most important when “selling” their services to others. It could be, but most often, a layman does not have enough knowledge to know the level of their expertise so it is most often assumed by the prospect. Therefore, what are the next criteria they use to makes decision on who to work with?
“Well, Greta I understand that you need to ask clients what they are looking for but it is different for me” (by the way, whenever someone says to me their business is different, I tell them that they owe me one dollar. I am collecting dollars from everyone who says their business is different and I am very close to retiring….).
When I asked him why it is different, he exclaimed that in professional services (he was an attorney) people make decisions on the professionals level of expertise. Yep he told me they are buying “expertise”. Well let’s evaluate this for a minute. Most people who are buying these services are assuming expertise. Since that is an assumption, what is the next level of decision making? That is the question isn’t it. I will tell you it is not based on what you often think it is based on.
First of all, unless you are calling on robots, your business is not different. If you are trying to gain additional business from humans it has more to do with the way they make decisions, not what you sell.
So let me give you an example. If you went to the doctor and told him, “Doc I have a real pain in my ankle” and the Doctor (a professional, remember) said, “Yes I’ve seen that before. Take this (handing you a sample of a white ointment) and this I’ll work”. How do you feel? Ripped off, uncomfortable, not confident? But why, he used his expertise, right?
Let’s try this again. Same symptom, same situation. You go to the Doctor and say, Doc, I have a real pain in my ankle”. He asks a series of questions; “How long have you had it? Is it a dull or sharp pain? Have you injured yourself at all recently? Does it hurt more at different times of the day? He takes an X-ray and says, “I know just what it is. Take this (handling you a sample of white ointment) this will help your pain”.
How do you feel now? Better about the situation. Why? The prescription was the same. So is it about the answer or how you get there. It truly is how you get there. Sales like anything else is about belief. Belief is an emotion not an intellectual thought. Belief comes from different places but I will tell you it most often comes from creating self-realization in the person you are selling to.
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