Educate, Entice, Expand – Part 1

educate, entice, expand

A while back, the stars must’ve been aligned just right because I had two incredible, but rare encounters with two service providers that provided stellar service by asking the right questions, actively listening to my concerns, and confidently answering my questions. This was obviously before Mercury was in the microwave or whatever it is they say, because I could write twice as many blogs about the bizarre encounters I’ve had recently. But I think you’ll agree, we’ve had enough of the negative headlines as of late so I encourage you to come with me on this glass-half-full journey.

As we sally forth, consider how many times a buyer has assured you that they fully understand your service and/or product. After which the two of you shake hands and you simply go about your business, accepting their claim as Bible rather than taking the time to completely engage and understand their needs while ensuring that they have a firm grasp on all of your services and what is going to work best for them.

Part #1 – The Teledoc

I had been battling a sinus infection for about a week. Let me rephrase that, I had been battling what I presumed to be a sinus infection for about a week. You see, I hadn’t exactly seen a doctor yet but because I get about a handful of these a year and the symptoms lined up, I crafted my own diagnosis. You can all refer to me as Gina Trimarco Klauder, MD from now on.

The Saturday before I was scheduled to fly from coast to coast and speak in front of 400 people, I finally caved and set up an appointment to see an actual medical professional so I could snag some antibiotics. What? I was able to diagnose myself, why wouldn’t I also know what I should be prescribed? Because it was Saturday, I opted for Teledoc.

I LOVE Teledoc. Easy, check. Inexpensive, check. No spending an insane amount of time in a waiting room where if you weren’t sick when you entered, you’re definitely sick when you leave because there’s always a small child ready to sneeze directly into your open mouth, check.

The doctor and I connected and as a frequent flyer of sinus infections, I immediately shared my diagnosis and list the antibiotics that typically work best for my situation. Doctors love this, right? Being told how to do their jobs by someone who did their residency at WebMD and got their medical degree from Google.

This made me think about my approach with prospective buyers who are always quick to identify their pain points and what it is that they think I can do for them. Like, let’s slow our roll here and let me do a little digging. Oftentimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. At this point I obviously validate their concerns by repeating back what I hear and either agree with the challenges they’re experiencing or offer other things to consider. In layman’s terms, I show them their blindspots. For example, one of my training clients was experiencing difficulties with their sales team and was so convinced they needed some serious training. Through some carefully crafted questions and sharing my experience as a Master Trainer (and some deliberately long pauses) they eventually came to the conclusion that it was their leadership team that was the “illness” and not necessarily the sales team.

Back to Dr. Christopher (an actual Dr. by the way).

He asked me probing questions, at which point I should’ve been annoyed because after all my extensive medical background I had already come to a conclusion, but he listened carefully and responded to my answers with “and we’ll talk more about that.” As he wrapped up his questioning, he broke it all down for me: bacterial sinus infections are often confused with viral sinus infections and giving me an antibiotic for a virus isn’t going to do jack diddly. Let it be noted that he used much more professional verbiage like “good bacteria” and “prolonged infection” and “won’t be effective in treating your symptoms.”

Truth be told, he was a better salesperson than most actual salespersons. Maybe he paid for med school moonlighting as a pharmaceutical sales rep, he shared A LOT of information, but we didn’t exactly get into his work experience so I’m purely speculating.

I’ll leave it at this. Because of my past experiences I considered myself an expert on sinus infections. Turns out, I am not. Kind of reminds you of all those times your clients come to you convinced they know what solution will work best for them, but in reality they’ve been living with the pain for so long they’re missing where it started. Making your clients feel like they aren’t an expert in their own business isn’t the solution but neither is acquiescing to their perceived illness and simply prescribing them an antibiotic because you’re intimidated and don’t know how to gently and properly make your client wrong.

Dr. Christopher never made me feel stupid. He provided me with facts, research and compelling stories that helped me better understand my symptoms. When all was said and done, I left feeling grateful for his expertise and within eight hours after following his recommendations I was feeling so much better.

In short, when faced with a confident, but misguided client, ask yourself, WWDCD? (What Would Dr. Christopher Do?)

  • Validate their concerns and experience
  • Confidently own your own knowledge
  • Continue learning to continue being a trusted advisor
  • Make your case (have facts and stories to back it up
  • Approach every sale with the mindset of wanting to educate and enlighten

To be continued…

In the meantime, who else has had an enlightening sales experience lately? I want to hear about it! MESSAGE ME!

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About the author

Gina Trimarco is a native of Chicago and CEO/Founder of Pivot10 Results and Carolina Improv Company. She has 25+ years of experience in marketing, sales, operations and people training. Gina combines street smarts and improv comedy skills with her experience in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, which sets her apart from her competition.

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