Selling with Story
Edition: February 2012 - Vol 20 Number 02
Author: Mace Horoff
ďReason leads to conclusion, but emotion leads to action,Ē according to neurologist Donald Caine. This applies even in medical sales.
The practice of medicine is based on science, a body of knowledge accumulated through study and observation. Since science is factual and logical, it might seem that the best way to influence those who make buying decisions in the world of medicine is by selling with facts and logic. Itís not.
Selling in healthcare means selling to experts Ė people who know more than the salesperson about many things. The challenge is that these experts often believe that they know more than the salesperson about everything. The data and studies you might use in an attempt to influence healthcare professionals often encounter an impenetrable aura created by ego or a mistrust of salespeople. Try as you might, the journal articles and white papers you pile on your customers only get you so far, often nowhere.
So what works?
Customers can resist and ignore the facts and figures that you throw at them because in the brief moment of a sales encounter, itís just noise. There is little time to analyze or think about it. Data often doesnít connect. Yet a compelling story will. People cannot not listen to a good story, especially when it is about someone like them. Yes, I know thatís bad grammar but there is a very important message in it.
Sales managers can often be heard telling their charges, ďThe product with the best story wins.Ē I disagree. Itís not enough just to have a good story. You have to be able to tell it, and tell it well such that the customer experiences a level of emotion where he or she wants to avoid the pain or achieve the great outcome that the story personifies. Data makes them think. Emotion makes them act.
If you sell in healthcare, youíre an expert on your product. Youíre intimately familiar with the clinical data that supports your product and you must be able to discuss it intelligently with intelligent people. But you are also a storyteller. Your job is to attach emotions to the possible outcomes and then to sell the desired outcomes. It sounds easy, but itís not. Great stories can take days or even months to craft. And it can take years of practice and experience to become a salesperson who can deliver a great story.
Itís not the best story that wins, itís the best story told by the best storyteller.
If you would like to find out how you can stop losing sales to competitors who tell better stories than you (and sleep better at night!), call Mace Horoff at Sales Pilot Medical Sales Performance (561) 333-8080 or info@MedicalSalesTraining.com