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Delivering Happiness: How Successful Doctors Embrace Selling

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

embrace sellingThere’s a connection between busy practices and doctors who embrace selling. Marketing savvy doctors understand how healthcare marketing builds their business. The breakthrough business doctors understand how salesmanship is a key to success.

The dreaded “S-word” isn’t in the vocabulary of many doctors. Sales gets relabeled as business development or case acceptance. In many practices, cost factors and financial details are delegated to an administrative person. Furthermore, the inconvenient function of winning patient acceptance is often avoided by the provider.

It turns out that almost everyone—including doctors—dislikes sales out of a fear of rejection. Sales is contrary to their personality and their professional training. In fact, sales would appear contrary to the personal qualities which motivate doctors to pursue professional training. As a result, the positive benefits of successfully 'selling' in a good practice are sometimes lost.

How highly successful doctors embrace selling…

Financially, professionally and personally rewarding practices have a different perspective than most. Most of all, they recognize that everyone in healthcare delivery has a sales function. Therefore, the overbearing, heavy-handed stereotype of days past is wrong.

Medical practices that enjoy the greatest business success are devoted to understanding and meeting the needs of the individual patient. Consequently, they employ a team approach to informing, persuading, influencing, convincing and helping people with their healthcare options and decisions.

The doctor is the foremost authority. Above everyone else in the office, the doctor holds the most influential position in the patient’s mind. In addition, that can't be delegated. It requires a leadership decision.

Discover the patient’s perspective. Consumers/patients don’t want to feel pressured into buying anything. They want answers to their problems, needs or interests.

Patients first. An effective sales process is a “personal and purposeful service” to deliver benefits and solutions that the patient seeks, according to author Daniel Pink.

Manage the fear of rejection. Author and business trainer Tom Hopkins puts handling rejection anxiety at the top of the list. This universal concern is not personal. Often, it is an imagined fear.

Relationships count. People, including patients, want to do business with people they know and trust.

Selling helps people. Sales is not a necessary evil. In his book, To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink recommends a better perspective…that it’s a means to make a better world. That’s an easy step for caring and compassionate medical professionals.

Hence, nobody shops for a colonoscopy…

People want to buy happiness. Patients never shop for a particular medical procedure. Doctors who distance themselves from sales could consider how they help people/ patients solve problems.

Successful doctors and medical practices embrace selling. A patient’s primary interest—what they are actually buying—is happiness.

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