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Selling? – Then learn from the ‘half-way doctor’

If a doctor started the consultation by telling you the ‘features’, ‘advantages’ and ‘benefits’ of a new pill, you would get worried.  If you mentioned that you had a headache and, immediately, the Doctor said, “I’ve got just the pill for you”, you would probably run for the door.  Medical people at every level, have ‘diagnosis’ as the focus of the consultation; they will ask about your symptoms (pain etc), your lifestyle (drink, smoke, exercise), your worries and stress factors – and so on.  The medical people tell me that ‘understanding the patient completely’ enables the doctor to offer the best diagnosis  – and subsequently (and ‘subsequently’ is a key word), propose the best ‘solution’ to the problem.   Doctors, like sales people, have to learn to resist the urge to produce a solution before they have the complete picture and the priorities agreed by the ‘patient’.   If you think about it, not to do so could be fatal!  A sales person selling an inappropriate solution is a bad situation, but a doctor ‘selling’ the wrong medication would be catastrophic.

I have done simulated patient exercises with Doctors purely on getting a good ‘history’ and making a ‘differential diagnosis’ (diagnosis alternatives). Good consultative selling is similar.  The complete diagnosis (with priorities) is made before any mention of a solution and without prejudging what the solution should be.  I am no doctor, of course, so keep your clothes on; I don’t have the medical knowledge to make a competent diagnosis. But it’s that lack of knowledge inhibiting the urge to offer solutions that makes me very good at getting a good overview of all the problem symptoms.  I am an excellent half-way doctor’

Want to hear my full ‘learn from the half-way doctor’ motivational pitch?  Email me at wdfreeman@ymail.com. My stethoscope is always ready.