First Diagnose Then Prescribe

How many times have you heard this piece of sage advice in your sales career? My guess is many times over.

If you are like me and many other sales professionals, regardless of your generation and industry you have used your relationships, product knowledge, skills, and charm and have done very well. But something has happened and your sales results have reached a plateau for a variety of reasons.

Sound familiar?

Imagine going to the doctor. You walk in pay your co-payment, sit and wait. Then your big moment comes and the nurse calls your name, and you are ushered through the door that many others have entered while you have waited.

The nurse’s next step is to weigh you (yuk), and check your blood pressure. Then you are escorted to a room for an extending waiting period.

Finally, the Doctor enters the room with a warm smile and her stethoscope around her neck. She sits down looks at you; checks your heart asks you to stick out your tongue and say ahhhh. THEN reaches for her script pad and fills out a script, states that any pharmacy will fill this out, and to call her if you do not feel better within the next 24 hours, and then quietly leaves the room.

Question: How would you feel? Would you take this script to the pharmacy?

In reality you make experience a kaleidoscope of emotions, and would under no circumstances execute this prescription.

Why? It’s simple. The Doctor never asked you the first question about how you feel, where it hurts, how long you have had these symptoms… nothing. They have no idea of how you feel, or which questions that you may have.

Let’s apply this to our craft: professional selling…

Your competitor does this everyday when meeting with their customers and prospects. The outcome is a sales plateau at best.


In creating a solid diagnosis and positioning you for a consultative discussion a few questions are in order. I have found these to be very effective in speaking with an initial prospect.

  1. What are your requirements and expectations in making this type of purchase?
  2. What is your preferred buying process?
  3. What are some real issues that you deal with on a daily basis?

In posing these questions I bet your prospect will open up and identify for you what is really important to them in choosing a supplier and using the product that you have to offer. Taking this into consideration and giving it careful thought you are now in a position to prescribe a viable solution.

To your success,


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