Diagnose Before The Client Prescribes

Sellers Diagnose Client Needs

When you diagnose, you end up caring about the client. Many times, we don’t hear out their needs, just our own. And when you do that, the client prescribes what they need, and a seller becomes an order taker.

In my years of consulting as well as coaching with sports sales staffs, I’ve been mystified as to how a team performing B2B transactions with large companies can only come away with sales of two season tickets, despite the organization having 20 sales people and 300 employees. Essentially becoming an order taker, not a seller.

And that’s when I approach the sales representative who is jumping for joy at selling two season tickets, while likely leaving more revenue on the table.

When I Diagnose My Reps

“How did you arrive at selling the prospect only two?”

The Reply

“Well, that’s what they want,” says the order taker.

My Reasoning

No doctor should ever allow the patient to dictate what should be prescribed. They have diagnose the problems, come up with solutions. Nor should a seller let a client dictate the terms of what they should be buying.

That’s the role of the seller, to diagnose every facet of what the client requires through the product or service. The seller is the expert, not the client, who may think that they know what they want, but they are clueless about what they need. Maybe they need six season tickets, not two.

When the seller becomes the order taker by choosing not to diagnose, there is sale. There is only the lost revenue that could have been.

Their Logic

“Well if he needs six, why did he say he wanted two?”

My Retort

And this is when I’d pick him up, rock him slowly, and say “shhh…let me tell you a story.”

My Reasoning, Part Duex

Isn’t it funny that clients usually arrive with what is the smallest possible buy in – “We want just two”, and don’t arrive with what they realistically need? – “We need to buy six season tickets!” That just never happens. It’s too outside their level of understanding to get there on their own (they’re patients not doctors remember), and if they do, it’s too risky to admit it to a seller.

It’s the seller’s job to probe, explore and unpack the need in the situation. That’s the stark difference between a seller and an order taker. If a representative of a sports team doesn’t see that, their manager should. Plenty of money left on the table when an order is taken, rather than a sale that is diagnosed.

Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett has trained multiple sports franchises over a 20-year sales career, and is a successful podcaster. Bennett will be teaching "Sales Staff Management Skills" at the Sports Sales Boot Camp in Pittsburgh on June 28, 2016.

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