September, 2018

What I learned about Marketing while my Dentist was drilling a hole in my teeth.


Last month, during my visit to Dentist, he was drilling a hole in my teeth. I felt pretty confident and was trusting this guy whom I had met a week earlier. How was he able to sell me this idea of drilling into my teeth and how did I buy into it with so much confidence? How did he sell this trust?

In Business, trust is the holy grail of sales. Trust translates into sales and Brand loyalty which we dub as Brand Value.

So, I had to learn, how the Dentist did it, to win my trust and confidence so fast. In fact, all Doctors seem to be doing this across the globe and have been winning trust and authority. So, what do they do?

When you hear the word ‘Doctors’ what is the image your mind is painting? Its people dressed in white oversized overcoats, busy taking care of people. Not a bit of your brain would compare think of him as a cheesy salesperson. You agree they are professional. We have a respect for them as a society. How did they do it?

Now, let us step back to my first visit with the Dentist the prior week. Me at his office, Nurse had me sit in the checkup chair and the Doctor walks in. The first thing he asked me, how was I doing, was I comfortable in the chair. Then followed it with queries on the issue. I explained I had a pain in my front teeth and felt it shaky. Paying attention to what I was saying, he reached out for his gloves and asking, how long did I have the pain. The Nurse next to me made sure to enter every detail into a custom software. I could see the computer with Graphs and diagrams.

Now he was asking some more questions relating the pain and the teeth. He would stop the examination, ask a question and wait for my answer, and then go back to examining the teeth. He did a complete examination of other teeth of which I didn’t have any pain at all. He made remarks on each tooth and the Nurse kept making entries into the software. He was building a total profile. Then he ordered an X-ray. Within minutes Nurse took the X-ray.

Can you see the brilliance of it? He never said a thing till this point, but asking questions. It was all about ‘me’ his customer. He was making queries and listening to ‘me’. His interest was in finding out the problem, the cause of it before he spoke about anything else.

Now he looks at the X-ray, points at the teeth to see the damage at its roots. He diagnosed the problem. Now he spoke on the solution. The teeth need to be removed and the damage needs to be corrected. But, he added there is a chance to save the teeth by doing the root canal. And he expressed his intention to save the teeth, rather than remove it. Prescribed the antibiotics, I had to take before I come back the next week.

I walked out of his office feeling satisfied. Here is an expert who has found the problem and he has the best interest of me to save the teeth. The selling was complete. I had traveled the entire sales funnel. But, I never felt the sell. The tooth pain was the enemy, we have become partners fighting this common enemy.

Can you translate the journey into your Business Sales Funnel?
Sure, you can, and I will show you how. Let’s take a classic Sales scenario of a Car Sales Showroom. A Customer walks into your showroom. He is looking for a Car or thinking about buying one soon. Now one of your salespeople approaches him and starts the conversation. What is the conversation is going to be about? Is the Sales team going to talk about the features of the latest model?

Now Pause. You need to think of yourself as the Doctor and your Customer is the patient. Now the conversation is not about the Car or its latest feature and It is all about the Customer himself. The diagnosis of his lifestyle. His dream, his desires, and current problems, and aspirations. ‘Customer first mentality’

Now, do you remember the custom software with teeth diagrams, that the Nurse used to fill out? You don’t need a fancy software like that, but you definitely need a Check List. Simple plain A4 checklist of questions. It is a powerful tool for engagement. In questions, the customer is able to see new possibilities.

What do I mean by that?
Let us assume that you are a Digital Marketing Agency. You are in conversation with a Business prospect. As you talk with the checklist and one of the questions ‘Is your company engaging in Content Creation’. Now the Client asks you back, “what do you mean Content Creation, we are an engineering company?” Now you explain what Content Creation is and its benefits. Customer learns two things from this. One about ‘Content Creation’ and the second vital thing that you are the specialist. You become a professional in his eyes.

Now, to the cool part. The checkup is complete. All along you have the best interest of your Customer. Now is the time to give the prognosis. Just like the Dentist, who pointed out at the X-ray. You present the prognosis of the checklist with your Customer.

Have you seen a Doctor, asking you what medicine would like to have? If you knew which medicine to have, you don’t need a doctor in the first place. You will never see Doctor asking and showing 3 to 5 options on the table and asking you to select which you like the best. No, he will do the decision for you in your best interest and present you with one prescription. As a Business Professional, you need to do the same. Present one step that the Customer needs to take in the best interest of his well-being. That is how you stand out and gain respect, trust as a professional and not as cheesy commission agent.

One more thing, the Doctors have in their arsenal. This may seem counterproductive and is duly undervalued. I want to you grasp this superpower. General practicians, if necessary will send his patients to another specialist. After your checklist conversation with your prospect. If you see that the best solution for the Client is to send this Client to another company? Are you ready to do that in the best interest of your Customer? Yes, you do that because you know the ‘Customer First’ Business always wins.