The Perfect Consultation

Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about the perfect sales consultation.

I don’t really see a difference between a medical aesthetics or cosmetic surgery consultation and a sales consultation. I’ve been involved in sales for over 20 years, and have experienced lots of different sales courses, selling styles, acronyms, SPIN, REPEC, from telephone cold calling through to level negotiations.

All of this learning is great, however ultimately sales come down to a couple of core things.

One is around generating rapport and the second thing is about creating a win/win environment. Generating rapport is simple – you either get on with someone or you don’t.

I’ve been to many to meetings and sat with someone I’ve just not clicked with, where you just don’t have that spark together. As I find it quite easy to build decent relationships with people, when there’s not that kind of rapport between us, I find it quite uncomfortable.

The question is, what would you do in a situation like that? Well, you’ve got two things you can do, really. You can either work through it, or you can just say, “I don’t think this is going to work out,” and make your excuses. I used to follow the money and go, “Yeah, we’ll work it out. We’ll find some way.” But your intuition just doesn’t lie. In this situation, it tells you that you’re at odds with this person and there are valid reasons for this. You’re just not what they’re looking for and people tend to get a little bit defensive.

In a sales environment, I would probably walk away from a situation like this because it’s a recipe for disaster. The trust will take a long time to build and you can always come back to things later. There’s always the potential that it was just wrong time or temporary circumstance, but you can always come back to it. Ultimately, if you’re in a Medical Aesthetics, whether it’s surgery or sales, building rapport should come relatively naturally to you. People buy from people that they like. Therefore, your marketing strategy should focus on finding people who are like you, to be able to sell to them and bring them through the door. When you try to work with someone who’s just not quite on the same wavelength as you, that’s when things tend to go wrong.

The second thing is around ‘winning’. I think some salespeople find this a bit of a strange concept. Yes, Sales is competitive, but it is not ‘win at all costs’. Your prospect is not an adversary and ultimately you want to have a business relationship and become business partners. This is the same attitude you can take with your clients. It’s about an exchange of value. They value the service you provide, and you value what they give you in return (money, a referral, etc.). If people don’t value what you’re doing, then walk away.

I had experience quite recently, actually, where I was doing a bit of consulting for someone and unfortunately, they couldn’t really go through with the suggestions I was making. We had previously agreed on a fee for the consulting service, and because they couldn’t go through with it, they said, “Well, you’ve only kind-of done a couple of days work, then we’ll just pay you for a couple of days.”. I got a bit annoyed about that actually, because it’s kind of like, “Whoa, hang on a minute. I’ve given quite a lot of value here, I’ve done a lot of work.”. So I basically refused to accept that because it’s like “Right, I’m not gonna take 50% just because you feel that that’s what you want to give me.”.

That’s kind of like me saying to you, “I’ll tell you what, one of your clients has only had half a treatment, didn’t turn up for the rest. What’re you going to do? You’re gonna charge them 50% for it?”. No, you’ll charge them the full fee. I took exception to this and I made a decision.

I sent an email saying, “Right, there’s one of three things that we can do. This can only end one way. Either you don’t pay me at all, because if you believe what I’ve given you is of such low value, then I don’t really want to be paid for it because I obviously haven’t delivered. The second thing is to give the half payment to charity. Or pay me everything and we’ll work again when you come back round to it.” In the end, they didn’t pay me, and I expected that to happen.

If you’re now thinking, “why did you just give away 50% of your fee?”, it’s because I’m worth more than that. I’d rather not be paid because what it did is it basically said to me that that client would never have worked with me properly anyway, so I wrote off some money, but I exited the relationship. When we talk about win/win situations, we want to create opportunities for you, in which both you and your patients benefit.

It has to be like this, it cannot be offset. Because you’ll end up in a master-slave relationship, where you’ve got your clients telling you what to do. This is an uncomfortable relationship to be in, especially if you’re a consultant or practitioner because it’s like the tail wagging the dog.

“You’ve asked me for my advice, and now you’re telling me what to do. If you didn’t want my advice, then you probably shouldn’t have hired me as a consultant in the first place.”

Those early discussions and the rapport building process is very important. If you don’t get that connection, it’s going to be difficult for you to stay equal and then you’ll struggle. You’ll have a kind of power battle, which is going to throw your relationship out of balance and drain your energy. Of course, we’re all going to have challenging clients and we’re always going to have difficult situations to deal with. However, if your work life is filled with these situations, you’re going to hate your job, lose all of your energy and ultimately you’re not going to be in the flow.

If you’re working with people who are like you, respect you, listen to you, and value what you’re doing and your opinion, then you’re going to be in a much better place. Not just in your business, but also personally as well.

So what I say is, you can use the rapport building process to make sure that you’re happy doing business with a new person. You don’t have to accept every person that walks through the door as a client and you can actually benefit by knocking someone back. I did it, I probably did it a bit later than I should have, but I did it anyway and once I did, I felt better. There’s no disrespect or failure in telling someone that a business relationship probably won’t work because you are effectively saving both people. You want to create a win/win situation and if you’re not gonna get that win/win, don’t engage in the relationship.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardcrawfordsmall/

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