THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Pricks and Cocks

Did I get your attention with that headline?

Why?

You see, what I wanted to mention was that:

  1. during a recent trip to the dentist they told me that I would feel a small prick when the needle was used but that it would be momentary and almost painless;

  2. during my recent vacation, I was running past a farm early in the morning and heard a cock crow

So why did I get your attention with the headline?

What were you thinking?

My point being that language is in the mind of the listener (or, in this case, reader).

That’s why sometimes what you mean to say to someone when you write an email and what they read and respond to are two different experiences.

Language can be confusing (let’s not even get started on Fanny).

Colin Campbell famously tells the story of us silencing a restaurant when I accused him of thinking that selling was an STD.

Back in the day, he had been raised by Dental Jedi Masters who taught him that to sell was a sin – and not what healthcare professionals were about.

Fortunately he, and others, have evolved a more balanced view over the years.

Even this week, a notable dental business advisor has accused some in the sales training landscape of teaching gimmickry that has no place in a professional environment.

Whilst I would agree with the sentiment, I think the article would have carried more potency if some specific examples had been referred to.

Nobody that I’ve ever worked with or referred to in the sales training space, whether it has been for front desk, TCO or clinicians has ever used gimmicks in their material.

Hence the term ethical selling – which has been adopted to describe that which persuades patients to make decisions that are appropriate and affordable.

Language is most often defined by the listener, not the originator.

What I hear and what it means are frequently different:

  1. our patients don’t use Facebook = I don’t use Facebook

  2. our patients don’t have email addresses = I can’t be bothered asking them because I’m already busy

  3. our patients don’t seem to have any back stories = I don’t have the right personality for this

  4. I don’t believe in selling =

  5. I don’t know how to do it

  6. I don’t want to break out of my comfort zone

  7. I wouldn’t buy anything off anybody anyway

  8. I’m comfortable with my income at the moment

  9. I’m not confident in my clinical skills

  10. I don’t believe in business coaching = I’m a tightwad

and so on……

The word “sell” can grate the way “prick” and “cock” can do if out of context.

In context, they are harmless and useful.

But you need the right people at the listening end of things if you want to your message to be heard.

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