Be an opportunity doctor, not a salesperson

If you’re selling a product, why are prospects meeting with you? Because they have a problem to solve, a job to get done. There’s some friction in their organization that needs to be replaced with value.

Very often they’re not sure how to get rid of that friction, and they’re hoping that your organization can help. You need to be able to demonstrate to the buyer that you’re able to diagnose the solution for their friction, replacing it with value.

People hate spending money, so you must demonstrate that the cost of hiring you is way less than the opportunity gain they’ll reap from your solution. So, forget acting like a salesperson. You need to be an opportunity doctor.

Being a doctor requires that you make a strong effort at diagnosis. Doctors don’t have patients if no one has symptoms. If you are very poor at diagnosing value added solutions for prospects, that can help solve their problems (even ones they didn’t realize they had before they met you!), then you are not going to be a very effective salesperson.

You are either going to be rejected more often than you should be, or you’ll be regularly haggled down based on price. If you can’t add massive value, then you’re going to get stuck with price as the only way of moving the needle in your negotiations.

Why do vicious price negotiations happen for expensive products? Why are you forced to sacrifice your own margins to get a sale? There’s only one reason. Because you have not demonstrated enough value.

You must show the other side that what you can offer them is a huge opportunity that they shouldn’t pass up. You can only do this successfully if you behave like a doctor, not a salesperson.

Let’s say that you make widgets. The marginal cost of an additional widget to you is peanuts. In fact, your factory is eager to get rid of them. How do you show the buyer that the marginal value to them of having that one widget is precious?

You ideally would make your widget into a massive opportunity for him. How are you going to do it? You’re not going to do it by selling it as a standard commodity product. You need to perform the diagnosis to discover the severe pain that that widget is going to remove for him. You need to prescribe your widget as a valuable solution for him. Then that widget becomes something that he won’t haggle too much about.

Let’s say that you have cancer. Obviously, you’re going to want to hire the best possible surgeon, with the highest likelihood of curing your cancer. Are you going to haggle the price with the guy?

Even though that’s an extreme example, in which your life is infinitely precious, it points out your objective. You want to discover so much potential value, such a giant opportunity for the buyer, that what you charge is going to look meaningless in comparison.