A Lack of Consultative Selling Skills in Healthcare

Hi, I’m Brad Ansley, Director of SPI Health, Sales Performance International’s dedicated life sciences practice. We’ve worked with many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, medical device, and med-tech companies to optimize their sales performance. In our experience, we’ve found that one of the challenges many companies face is a lack of consultative selling skills. Keep watching to see how we’ve helped other companies overcome this challenge.

Stakeholders in today’s health care market are looking for solutions that help them meet their practice and patient goals, yet many sales representatives show up ready to immediately discuss marketing messages and features and benefits, without really understanding what or if their product solves a critical business or patient issue. This would be similar to a physician prescribing before diagnosing. Many representatives do a poor job of diagnosing the buyer’s real problem. As a result, they prescribe the wrong solution, or even worse, fail to convince the customer that their solution provides any benefit at all. A sales professional who doesn’t diagnose critical practice issues, and help the health care provider visualize how his or her organization’s capabilities are going to help, unwittingly puts him or herself in the position of being just another salesperson. This type of salesperson brings little or no value to the healthcare provider. Just like a physician who prescribes treatment without diagnosing the patient may be guilty of medical malpractice, salespeople that don’t diagnose critical practice issues first are guilty of sales malpractice.

Today’s successful sales organizations focus on integrating a consultative dialogue framework that encourages a collaborative discussion between the sales representative and the healthcare provider. Using this framework, sales representatives explore key critical practice or patient issues, and the quantifiable impact that these issues have on the organization. They can then begin to paint an evidence-based vision of how their product can fit into a solution for the practice, and the value that it can provide. We have over a quarter century of experience helping organizations differentiate themselves, not only by what they sell but how they sell. By integrating a framework for consultative selling, we’ve helped companies shift from selling the product to selling high-value solutions that drive market share. If you’d like to hear more about how we’ve helped other organizations contact us and we’ll be glad to schedule a call.

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