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My Son’s MRI – An Unexpected Sales Lesson

A couple of weeks ago my son, Ben, had an appointment to attend an MRI in London.

Ben was born with a lymphatic malformation in his abdomen which thankfully for him seem to be primarily a cosmetic concern rather than anything else. He has recently had one or two challenges with it, after coming down with a cold. He complained that some of these lymphangiomas were causing him some pain, which prompted us to be concerned about whether they were subcutaneous or intra-abdominal. Hence him needing to go for an MRI scan.

Our Angel Of A Nurse

If you’re reading this, you come from a world where you no doubt understand our anxiety at the thought of the little guy having to receive general anaesthetic…. It was nothing short of terrifying for us as parents.

Enter our “angel”

The nurse assigned to Ben, and boy was she an ANGEL, was sent from heaven! I watched with fascination as she wooed Ben, one step at a time, slowly and surely BUILDING TRUST through little forms of trust-building “exercises”. She got him to engage in small words and small games. Slowly and surely, BEN WARMED TO HER. Then came something really fascinating.

The Golden Rule In Sales

With Ben, she followed the golden rule in sales wholeheartedly the entire time. She was SELLING. Make no mistake, the process of gaining Ben’s trust was akin to a selling process. It made the experience literally night and day for us and was an incredible experience for Ben.

First, she had to build rapport very slowly, then start to build trust by asking him to do more and more and more, as they went through, starting small and building with time.

Here is where I was most impressed. She refused to break the golden rule in sales, which is, ‘always stay in agreement’.

I have seen situations in many environments working with kids, where there was, ‘a procedure that needed to be followed’. Our guardian angel refused to let simple procedures break the golden rule in sales, which is to stay in agreement.

She Wouldn’t Break Ben’s Trust
Here’s what I mean. As many of you be aware, in hospital you’re given a band to wear around your wrist with your patient identification on it.

Ben absolutely hated the idea of having anything on his wrist or ankle to which the nurse simply replied:

“Nope, we’re not doing that, he doesn’t like it and I don’t want to break his trust!”

She simply said to the other nurse and the doctors:

“Put it on his form as we won’t be doing that”

Another example…

As you are undoubtedly aware, going into hospital environments during COVID times presents itself with having extra COVID-related tests.

If you’re not familiar with the Great Ormond Street, it’s one of the most famous children’s hospitals in the world, with many immunocompromised children under that roof. Therefore, all children being admitted need to have an additional swab on the inside of the mouth and nose, to test for infections etc

When the nurse simply took out the swab, BEN LOST IT, and once again she said:

“NOPE, we’re not doing that. He will be put under soon. I’m going to tell the doctors that they need to do it when he is asleep. I AIN’T BREAKING HIS TRUST now.”

And time after time, she bent little rule after little rule in an effort to make sure she did not break Sales Rule Number One, ‘always stay in agreement’.

Build Trust first THEN offer different opinions
Nobody likes to do business with someone with whom they disagree, and very seldom do people actually do business with people with whom they disagree.

Only later on in the relationship, once true trust has been formed, will the opportunity open up to offer different opinions on sensitive topics like vaccinations or breastfeeding, surgery or general medicine.

It matters not whether you’re right or wrong, it matters whether you EARN the opportunity to offer a different health paradigm.

You’re not going to change someone who has held a belief for over 20 years, within the first minutes of meeting.

Your best bet to change peoples’ beliefs is to first gain their trust by not breaking Sales Rule Number One.

I can tell you right now that our experience was made so much better by the nurse simply understanding Sales Rule Number One ‘always stay in agreement,’ and she REFUSED to break that.

She completely took control of the context and narrative and “bossed” the surgeons and anaesthetist around.

In Summary
Always, and I mean ALWAYS, stay in agreement with a prospect until you have built their trust. Later on, which is usually nowhere near the sales environment, you can then offer different opinions on sensitive of closely held beliefs.

Speak to you soon!

Yours in Service,

Dr. Ryan Rieder, D.C.

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