Five Things Your Great Sales Guy and Doctor Have In Common

(Jacob Kreimer has worked in Buenos Aires and Boston after graduating from Tufts in 2011. He is looking for his next challenge as part of the Sales and Business Development track at the Startup Institute. He is an adventurer by nature, organizer by sheer willpower.)

What do the staff at Mass General and phenomenal sales teams have in common? More than you might think. One way to think about it is to imagine your product as a cure to a serious pain plaguing your leaders. Whether you’ve got a stethoscope around your neck or a phone to your ear, your one goal is to make that pain disappear. An awesome sales team knows the secret sauce to successful selling: hearing out clients’ painful challenges and connect them with the product’s healing touch. Here’s how:

  1. Listen, Doc…

Your name finally gets called from the waiting room, and you’re ready to tell the Doctor what’s bothering you. Just like a bad sales team won’t let you get a word in, bad doctors don’t listen. On the flip side, your favorite doctor will ask you “What’s bothering you? Can you tell me more about that?” and let you explain what hurts and why. Great sales people will do the same – they shut up and listen to clients’ problems to gather the most information to understand what’s going on, visible or hidden.

  1. Accurate Diagnosis

Consider your pain points. You’ve explained what’s bothering you – it seems like your headaches have been clawing at you for a while. You think it’s because of migraines, but your not sure. Any good doctor has some follow-up questions up his sleeve: How do your eyes feel? What’s your posture like at work? Do you have a history of sinus trouble? All-star sales teams know that potential clients feel pain but poke around until the find the true underlying cause. Then the ask, “how can I help?”

  1. The Right Prescription

Good doctors never recommend you medication you don’t need. Would you trust someone who proscribes you antibiotics for strained eyesight? No way! Excellent sales people know right away if their product can really solve a client’s pain. If it can’t, they get out and move on to the next patient—there’s no use in dragging them tooth and nail with a service they just don’t need. Your time is your greatest asset – don’t waste it on patients or clients you can’t cure. Instead, direct them to a service or doctor who specializes where there pain is. A great referral never hurt.

  1. Constantly Improving

The best professionals in any field don’t sit idly by. Great doctors, just like great salespeople, reinvent themselves on the regular. They attend new classes and work with peers to share insights and strategies. They test new strategies and look to grow their knowledge. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got…

  1. Lifelong Relationship

If LinkedIn has taught us anything, it’s that your network and relationships will be around for the long haul. Reputation matters, and exceptional sales people don’t just sell – they make relationships that will serve them long after the deal is closed. Just like a reliable doctor, great companies know salespeople aren’t just another expense on their P&L sheet – they’re the lifeblood of your organization, connecting client needs with product reality.  If you’re a startup ready to drive some revenue and hit it big, you already know the time to ramp up your sales team was yesterday. Arm them with the feeling that their skills are just as valuable as any doctor, and you’re well on your way to revenue euphoria.