*It is strongly suggested you read the previous columns in this series before you read this one. Click to read Part I and Part II.
Last month, I asked you the following:
In order to sell your average patient (and remember, selling is just helping your patient acquire what they need), in which direction should you move them? Positively or negatively?
Most folks will say they would move them in a positive direction. Sounds logical, doesn’t it? In fact, that is exactly what most salespeople do.
Moving your average patient—the one who has no movement or motivation to move—in a positive direction is, without a doubt, a colossal mistake and the most frustrating trap a salesperson can set for themselves and their customers/patients. Yet, this happens all the time in almost every industry.
How is this usually done? The method most salespeople use to move their average customer in a positive direction is by making a presentation of features and benefits.
A salesperson will start presenting these wonderful features and benefits only to be met with a little resistance and/or a little objection from the customer. So, they’ll be persistent and try again only to be met with more resistance from the customer. The more the customer resists, the harder the salesperson tries (to persuade). The harder the salesperson tries to persuade, the more the customer resists. And so on.
Awful cycle, isn’t it? By the way, if you ever wondered why salespeople generally have a reputation of being pushy, aggressive, sleazy, insincere, etc., this is it.
And this is also the exact reason that all eyecare professionals are wary of being perceived as “salespeople.” They don’t want that perception to damage their professional reputation.
But why is moving a neutral customer/patient in a positive direction such a bad thing to do? Look at the third and final rule of the Law of Motion:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s why!
To illustrate, let’s look at the pendulum again:
Any time you try to push an average patient in a positive direction, they will resist and be vigilant about staying right in the middle. Try again and they will resist again with the same effort in which you tried to persuade them.
Are you starting to wonder what would happen if you went in the opposite direction? I hope so. Am I actually implying the key to selling the majority of your patients—your average patients—is to move them negatively? No. I am, however, stating it unequivocally.
Start moving your motionless, average patients in the negative direction and your sales and the satisfaction of your patients will soar.
Scared? Please don’t be. Rest assured what is to come will make complete sense and cause some of you to have an “A-ha” moment and some of you have to laugh (in a good way) but, most importantly, it will make the “chore” of selling vanish. I’m going to give you complete control of the selling process in your office.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is where the fun begins. Next month, I will begin to show you exactly how to go about this.
Robert C. Bell is president (and head coach) of EyeCoach, an organization designed to teach and coach innovative and industry-specific sales techniques to eyecare professionals. Contact him at