Prescription Without Diagnosis is Malpractice

As we have been talking about planning and setting sales objectives I received an interesting question.

“How can I set a realistic sales objective if I’ve never met this prospect?”

Outstanding question.

The Importance of Discovery

Research Prior to Your Meeting

In order to create a realistic sales objective you should have discovered some things about your prospective client (how to perform a productive discovery will be a topic of future articles). If you haven’t had the opportunity to do discovery or haven’t had much of a conversation with your prospective client yet, then:

  1. Do what research you can prior to your next contact, and
  2. Make discovery the objective of your next meeting.

Prescription Without Diagnosis is Malpractice

When we enter into a client’s life with a pre-conceived notion of what the solution actually is, several bad things happen:

  1. We miss out on opportunities to add value in places we didn’t anticipate.
  2. We may end up solving the wrong problem – which may cost you the sale.
  3. When customer’s detect that you’ve already decided what the solution is (typically your product) without careful discovery they feel manipulated and misunderstood – which will very likely cost you the sale.

In the healthcare world we have a saying, “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

Prescription Without Diagnosis is Malpractice

You cannot ascertain what the solution (product, quantity, timeframe) would look like or whether it is realistic without a discussion with your prospective client. Once you have met with the client and determined the scope of their need, you can recommend solutions and then craft your sales objective.

In some sales it is possible to have a reasonable idea of what the scope of the opportunity will be before you have met with the client. In this case you may have developed a “value hypothesis” and estimated a solution prior to having met. In fact in many cases we will use this “value hypothesis” as a means to engage the prospective client. If that is the case, just remember that these estimates are just that—estimates. Only after you have met with the client and determined the actual scope of their need is it appropriate to suggest a solution and craft your sales objective.

Closing Tip: If you haven’t had the opportunity to do discovery do what research you can and make discovery the objective of your next meeting. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.

Until next time!

James

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