Tim Huffaker 2017Let me use an analogy to illustrate the role of a salesperson.  

The salesperson in this analogy is the doctor, and the buyer is the patient.  The patient has a need, either in the form of immediate pain, or an illness. The pain might be the result of an injury or some undetermined cause.  In both cases, the doctor will perform a diagnosis to determine the cause of the pain or illness. Doctors see their patients for regular check-ups, in addition to unplanned emergencies. In both instances, they perform a diagnostic evaluation to determine the health and well-being of the patient.  There are illnesses and diseases with vague, or indiscernible symptoms, which unchecked, will result in complications or death.

A professional salesperson is truly a doctor in terms of their relationship to the customer, or prospect.  The focus of the professional salesperson, the so-called “doctor of sales”, is to diagnose the needs, wants and desires of the buyer and to provide solutions to those needs.  The professional salesperson will also confirm the current status of the buyer and validate it, if nothing is needed. There are also many instances where the buyer believes they have no needs, when in reality, their current situation could and should be improved, resulting in increased profits and performance.  In many cases, the professional salesperson can diagnose needs that are totally undetected by the customer. It is through the experience and knowledge of the salesperson, and through his or her diagnostic skills, that the need is discovered.

The majority of all doctor visits are the result of pain, or injury.  Likewise, the majority of all sales are the result of known or identifiable needs.  However, just like it would be foolish for a patient to self-diagnose their pain, or injury, without the services of a trained physician, it is equally imprudent for buyers to diagnose their own needs in the absence of a sales professional.  It is all too common for the customer to buy what he/she believes is the solution to a need, only to discover that what they purchased is not the cure and they have not only wasted time and money, but lost opportunity. A professional salesperson, with their experience and knowledge will save the buyer both time and money as they properly diagnose the situation and provide the correct solution.

The very first responsibility of the professional salesperson, after establishing trust and confidence with the buyer, is to perform a diagnostic evaluation of the buyer’s situation, in order to determine what is needed and then to help them achieve the correct treatment and cure.  A diagnostic evaluation is much more than just stating the problem, or even writing a prescription. The professional salesperson will comfort and nurture the buyer until they are back to health. The professional salesperson will schedule regular appointments to discern the needs of the buyer, even if they have no pain or symptoms.  Just as in medicine, there are unnoticeable illnesses, which undetected can cause suffering and even death. Every professional salesperson needs to assess the health and well-being of their customers on a regular basis.

You are a doctor of sales and need to perform your duties as such.  Visit your customers regularly. Always diagnose first and then provide the proper treatment.  Your responsibility is to maintain the health of your customers. Never forget, if there are no customers, there is no need for salespeople.  Keep them healthy and happy.