Sales: Good Word or Bad Word?

Some healthcare professionals that I have met with over the last 24 years have protested using the word “sales” in relationship to the services they provide to their patients or clients.  Instead, they use various euphemisms such as “treatment plan presentations.”

Healthcare professionals often shun the idea of being a salesman because they associate the word with being “pushy.”   In fact, it is a poorly skilled or inexperienced salesman who resorts to excessive pushing or pulling of his patient or client in an effort to shove or drag him into going ahead with a treatment.  However, very few healthcare professionals err on that side of the fence.

It seems that one’s attitude toward the word “sales” depends on the definition of the word in your mind.  If it means to you “making a client buy something they don’t NEED or pushing on them something they don’t want,” then that would definitely be the negative side of the word.

But wait!  What if the word sales means “helping the client or patient to accept the ideal care they DESERVE to have?”  When you start to present a service to your patient or client, try to keep in your mind that they deserve ideal care from a health perspective, whether they are rich or poor.  This doesn’t mean that everyone has the means to afford ideal care – at least not at first glance.  However, in presenting ideal care, many professionals have been quite surprised that a patient or client has gone ahead because they saw it was important and the right thing to do, and they found the means to proceed.

Don’t fall into this mindset, “Well, I told him what he should do and now it’s over to him.”  It is unfortunate but true that patients and clients are usually under educated in what you are presenting to them, and they depend on you to guide them into ideal care.  Almost anyone will tell you they can’t afford something, but often it is just that they don’t know the long term value of what you are recommending.

When a healthcare professional says “you should do ______,” the patient or client hears the word “should” and knows that this means they don’t have to.  The simple handling is to look the person in the eye and say, “Mrs. Jones, you need to _________.”  If you are being honest and ethical, Mrs. Jones will choose that ideal care more often than not.

Patients and clients depend on you to lead them into ideal care.  Call it what you want, but live up to your patients or clients expectations.

To Make “Sales” A Good Word Again,
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