KOLBE WISDOM™ AND SALES & SERVICE
If “selling” can be defined as the exchange of goods or a service for money, then it stands to reason that the process is influenced by the instincts of both buyer and seller. So by knowing the Modus Operandi™ (MO) of your team you can predict how they will work at maximum effectiveness.
In Dentistry there is so much more than just selling an item of treatment or even a service. You and your team are engaging in a life-long relationship with any new patient to your practice. Sadly if you read and listen to some of the people advising dental professionals you would think it’s simple. That all you need to do is follow the memorised script to its, apparently, logical conclusion for effortless success.
This approach, presuming one size fits all, not only fails to bring the best out of the members of the team but also omits any consideration of the buying instincts of the patient, client or customer.
A quick review:
In previous postings I have outlined the principles behind Kolbe Wisdom™ and how, by using the 32-question Kolbe A Index, it is possible to identify the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours.
I outlined the four Conative Characteristics:
- Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information – Specifiers.
- Follow Through – Sorting and Storing Information – Classifiers.
- Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty – Improvisers.
- Implementation – Handling space and intangibles – Builders.
Each Action Mode has three Zones of Operation, which determine how the individual acts when using it.
- Initiating Zone: how they insist on beginning the problem-solving process.
- Accommodation Zone: how they respond to people and situations.
- Preventing Zone: how they avoid or resist problems.
We lead from different strengths and it is the mix of the intensities in each of these characteristics that gives rise to our individual ways of doing things – our modus operandi, or MO.
A successful sales team is (like any other team) a synergistic group that takes advantage of all the instinctive insistencies. Too often it is presumed that an individual with what is deemed to be a “sales personality”, described as outgoing, high-energy and driven – frequently by greed – is the right person to have in charge of sales. If that were the case and these are the qualities to succeed in sales there wouldn’t be the failures in selection that there are now.
Successful selling requires creativity; it’s a matter of pure instinct. Most recruitment techniques, like sales training courses, miss the point. There is little point in selecting the extrovert because he or she is the life and soul of a party. Similarly, there is nothing to be achieved by teaching manipulative techniques in mirroring and gaining a false sense of rapport in order to make a one-off sale which will be followed by buyer’s remorse when their innate needs surface.
The phrase about a leopard changing its spots comes to mind when considering the different ways that a member of the Dental Team will initiate in everything they do, not least the sales process.
Take, for example, a discussion about rebuilding a broken down dentition. A Fact Finder would instinctively want to know everything about the patient before describing the treatment required. Someone who initiates in Follow Through would be keen to describe the reliability and longevity of the proposed work and perhaps offer a guarantee. In Quick Start the clinician will just want the patient to trust their judgement and will be itching to get going. The Implementor requires something tangible like models, wax ups and radiographs, so that their instinctive needs are met.
Unless the authentic instinctive nature of the person involved in dealing with the patient is allowed full rein then they will be unfulfilled, inefficient and ultimately unhappy. This will soon show itself in their dealings with patients and will lead to less than optimum performance of the whole team.
Good sales people meet their customers’ needs by using their instinct to find alternatives that work with the instincts of their customers. The process must be win-win without manipulation of the client to act contrary to their best interests.
When instinctive needs are met, there’s no procrastination, no buyers’ remorse and no customer dissatisfaction. That is the sales process at its best.
Sadly the reality is that much sales talk is artificial communication, which ignores buyers’ instincts in pursuit of the “close the deal” attitude. Until this changes, the majority of dental people in “sales” including front desk, nurses, hygienists, treatment co-ordinators, associates and, above all, practice owners will continue to fail and they and their patients will continue to miss having their needs met.
Want to discover your Kolbe A? HERE
Next week: Sales considering the patients’ MO™.
During this piece I have, once again, borrowed and quoted heavily from Kathy Kolbe’s book “Pure Instinct” which is available from Kolbe Corporation through their website www.kolbe.com.
It is possible that some of the concepts I discuss will not be clear to the reader who has not read the earlier articles, for back copies please email me.