You are a Doctor not a Salesperson

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Customer Development

Do you think selling as dishonest and manipulative? Some of the teams we encounter are looking for the most accomplished liar they can find to jumpstart their sales process. Perhaps you feel that way?

This post “You are a Doctor, not a Salesperson” from eLAMPROS might change your mind. Some key points:

“Studying the ‘sales process’ the doctor uses to sell a cure, you will notice …

  • A doctor is important enough for you to go to them.
  • Generally a long wait is worth your time to get to see the doctor.
  • The more important the problem you have, the more important the doctor becomes. And, by the way, you don’t try to go the least expensive route.
  • Doctors don’t sell you – they diagnose you using data points you provide. And you believe them and act on it.
  • Doctors can tell you about a problem you don’t even know you have.
  • The diagnosis and recommendations you get from doctors always trump those you get from a friend or family member … or even a website.
  • The ‘sales cycle’ is very short.
  • Doctors are always going straight to the decision maker for the decision.
  • Every time you have a problem you go back for another consultation.

We tell our team, “You are not a salesperson, you are a DOCTOR”. When we find ourselves working with prospects to DIAGNOSE their problems we seem to end up in a doctor-like situation. Our prospects buy more quickly, they trust our recommendations, the decision maker is involved early and often, and they appreciate our advice and come back for it often.”

For the record we believe that integrity is essential to the startup sales process, many times you are promising future performance and the team needs to be mindful of the consequences not only to the customer and but to their reputation. We follow Steve Blank’s “Four Steps to the Epiphanycustomer development model, which means that we believe the founders must sell. Why? Sometimes it’s the presentation and sometimes it’s the product. In the early market it’s too easy to blame the messenger if you weren’t part of the conversation with the customer and don’t want to hear that your product needs to be changed.

We have a roundtable next Tuesday that will look at sales issues for SaaS firms. In particular how does SaaS change sales management, sales compensation, and selling strategies. It’s over a lunch from 11:30 to 1pm at Plug and Play, 440 N Wolfe Rd Sunnyvale, California 94084. You can Register here.

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