Why DID You Get the Sale?

There is a great maxim in sales that says, “Once the sale is made, stop selling.”  That’s good advice. At some point, though, you should find out why the customer bought.

Medical sales is very competitive.  No one likes to lose the sale to another company or rep.  In fact, when it happens, it can keep you awake at night questioning your product and everything you did in the sales process.  During my medical sales training events, most of the participants claim to follow-up with customers after a lost sale to learn why they didn’t buy.  It’s good information that you can use in your future sales efforts.

How about the customers who did buy—wouldn’t you like to know what it was about your product or company that appealed to them the most?  What were the features or benefits that cinched the sale?  What problem, dissatisfaction or situation existed with their current product that made your product a better alternative?

In my medical sales training programs and presentation, I spend a lot of time talking about follow-up.  Follow-up is the step in the sales process where most medical reps blow it.  They don’t plan follow-up in advance, so getting back in front of prospects, especially busy professionals like doctors or hospital executives, is challenging.  They also don’t create a follow-up plan for after the sale, which is very important in terms of maintaining the current business or keeping the door open for future sales.

At some point after the sale, once the customer has used your product successfully, it’s good to find out why you made the sale.  “Dr. Jones, you said the new instrument system is working well.  I’m curious, when you decided to give my product a try, what were the deciding factors?”

As a salesperson, you want to know Dr. Jones’s answer for two reasons:

  1. The reason or reasons why he bought may be important to you when you’re attempting to sell the same product to other prospects.  Dr. Jones may have discovered an important benefit that you and future prospects might overlook.  You can ask Dr. Jones if you can share his story with other physicians during your sales efforts.  If he agrees, it’s almost like getting a verbal testimonial to use (make sure you ask before you use his name).
  2. When Dr. Jones tells you the reasons why he chose your product, you know how to keep him satisfied as a customer.  For example, if he bought because he can get a next-day loaner, it’s incumbent upon you to make sure that he always gets his loaner the next day.  It hurts to hear a dissatisfied customer tell you, “Your product hasn’t lived up to my expectations,” especially when you could have done something about it.

Yes, it’s beneficial to know why your customers didn’t buy.   It’s often more useful to know why they did.  As a medical sales professional, this should never be a mystery to you.  Don’t assume.  Ask.