“Play a role that only you can play, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been playing it. Your expertise matters. Slow down, take up space, help your prospect think through their situation, and that’s when really good outcomes happen.” – Jeff Bajorek in today’s Tip 1717
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today Jeff Bajorek is here with a great story and a great lesson to help us close out the week. Here he is:
Jeff Bajorek: I spent the formative years of my sales career in orthopedic medical devices. I stood in a lot of operating rooms providing real-time technical support to my customers, the surgeons who were using my implants. One of the implants that I sold was for total knee replacement, and it utilized a state-of-the-art, quarter-of-a-million dollar computer-guided navigation system to make sure that measurements were exact. It also gave us an opportunity to approach the surgical technique differently, which was very important. I’ll get to that in a minute.
But because of the way we were approaching the surgery, and it was different than the way a lot of surgeons had been taught, those surgeons required a lot of our expertise and a lot of our context, and really to interpret the data the machine was giving you. It wasn’t giving them new information, it was just giving them information in a different way. That’s one of the reasons I stood in a lot of operating rooms during these cases.
Well, this was my first case by myself. My manager/partner/mentor was on his way to Tucson for our national sales meeting. I actually had to reschedule my flight to grow my business and stand in this case. But that’s what you do when you’re in sales, right? I was assured that I would be okay. I was assured that I had done enough of these with my partners and with technical expertise that I could do this by myself.
Jeff, you’re ready. It’s going to go great. Doc knows our stuff. You know our stuff. You know, Doc, we’re going to be in good shape. Well, the case wasn’t so straightforward. I’m standing there 26 years old, and a surgeon getting The information that he’s not entirely sure how to interpret turns around, looks me in the eye, and says, Jeff, what do I do now?
Now, my pucker factor, that’s an industry term, was about an 11 out of 10 at this point. There’s a patient on the table relying on me and the surgeon and everybody else in that room to do a great job so that their knee could function well again. This is someone who’s been in pain for a long time, long enough to undergo major your surgery to correct it. That’s the weight that we all carried on ourselves as we entered that room. He turns around and looks at me and says, Jeff, what do I do now?
Now, after I gulped, took a couple of deep breaths, I gathered myself and said, Hold on, what is it telling you? What is it telling you that you don’t like? How can we verify what it’s telling us? Is the computer wrong or are we just getting information that we didn’t expect? How do we validate through the redundancies in the system that we’re actually getting accurate information? If this is accurate information and we don’t like it, how can we proceed safely a step at a time? How do we make sure that we’re doing right by the patient? Only after we slowed down, only after we took it a step at a time, only after he went through those redundancies did he start to appreciate the information that he was given.
Finally, he said, No, you know what? That was strange information, but based on what I’m seeing, I think we can proceed. So he did. The case went beautifully. Despite that little tense moment or two in the middle, the outcome was ideal. We did a great job. The surgeon did a great job making sure that the implant was put incorrectly and the patient had great range of motion, pain-free, the whole thing. I obviously spent time making sure that the outcomes came out the way that we did, and that patient did great.
What was really interesting is, afterward, we were just doing a little bit of a postmortem on how we could get better. We did that often. We learned that there were some things that we didn’t pick up on in the preoperative planning that would have primed us to get that weird information and wouldn’t have been so tense in the middle.
But the moral of this story here is that even though I was only I’m 26 years old, even though this surgeon had been operating since before I was born, I still played a role in that case. I played a role not just in interpreting the data, not just in reminding that surgeon of what he already knew so he could do his thing. I brought down the blood pressure in the room by reminding that surgeon of what he knew he was capable of. I brought that surgeon back down to Earth by helping him do what he does best. As a sales rep, as that trusted advisor, that is often what you do best.
When you play your role and enable your customers to play theirs, when you do what only you can do that enables them to do what only they can do, that’s how you become an indispensable part of their team. That’s how you earn customers for life. That’s how they rave about you and tell their friends about you.
Don’t abdicate that role. Yes, you’re selling a product. Yes, you’re selling it’s an implant or a widget or whatever it is. And yes, at the end of the day, you’re going to get a commission check, hopefully, for selling those things. But your role is often something bigger, at least when you’re trying to build a long-term reputation and a long-term business out of that.
So don’t abdicate that role. Don’t forget how valuable you are, even if sometimes that value is just to bring the collective level or the collective blood pressure down in that operating room or boardroom, whatever it is. You play a role that only you can play, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been playing it. Your expertise matters. Slow down, take up space, help your prospect think through their situation, and that’s when really good outcomes happen.
Scott Ingram: For links to connect with Jeff and to get his newsletter where he shares ideas like these every Sunday, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1717, and once you’ve clicked over there, be sure to click back here for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!