Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Art of Communication: Selling The Best Therapy (Part 1)

Selling The Best Therapy
Part One - The Need to Fight Fire with Fire

I was sad but not at all surprised to see this blog, 

in which a surgeon does the right thing and recommends the gold standard treatment for a patient with cancer. The patient, quite reasonably, seeks a second opinion but that second doctor is so persuasive that the patient on only chooses a lesser therapy but comes back to complain about the surgeon's practices.

The surgeon involved and the commentators below believe that this was some sort of failing in communication on his part or unreasonable behaviour on the part of the patient's husband. I will agree that there was a lack of understanding by the surgeon about how the patients' minds would work and their decision making process. However, when it comes down to it, the surgeon was simply outsold by a better salesman.

This surgeon believed that his product was so good that it would sell itself. He was proven wrong. Products do not sell themselves. A great product unsold remains on the shelf whilst the inferior product competently sold takes over the market.

The customer rarely chooses the best product. They choose the product that was best sold.
Doctors may be the great receptive communicators (ie taking a history) because they are taught how to do that but many are lousy at the other side of communication, objective focused expressive communication. This is the realm of the salesperson and they are the experts.

And this is a question of morality. Modern medicine and individual doctors are playing straight down the line and by the rules. They are being honest and unmanipulative. They lay the simple facts on the table and ask the patient to choose without cohersion or pressure. They even give a fair hearing to the competitors and hope that hard statistical evidence will win them over. They really are playing fair.

There is a general rule. The morality of a person is consistent. Those moral enough to recommend the treatment with the best objective outcome are too moral to use sales psychology. The morality of those that recommend anything but the gold standard therapy in outcome terms must be questioned. The further they are from that evidence, the more their morality must be questioned. Selling your own therapy regardless of the evidence shows deep moral corruption and expect that immorality to come out in the use of sales strategies.

Were it not for the marketing departments of the pharmaceutical industry who are prepared to use psychological strategies, modern medicine would already have its back against the wall in the face of New Age healing and its marketing. Somehow, doctors are seen as money grabbing and profiteering despite having earned it the hard way by diligently learning and working for patient benefit. However, those that sell themselves as full of love and light claim to be beyond money can charge up to $1000 per hour for a consultation and make significantly more addressing a wider audience. 

The New Age can create millionaires by talking about religious beliefs detachment from material possessions. And nobody seems to notice! That is sales! That is brand image!

Of course, doctors would never criticise because they believe in permitting patients to make up their own minds on the evidence. They barely use their power. They barely defend themselves in case they offend somebody else's sensibilities, even those of the lowest morality. They think it is enough to have the truth of the evidence on their side. They just let them get away with it.

If you are trying to sell a product that has no hard evidence for effectiveness against products that do, you must have pretty low morality. That comes through in the immorality of their salespitch. They will do anything to sell. They are desperate. Their ego and life depends on it. 

Don't expect respect, even due respect from such people. Expect every underhand strategy including emotional manipulation. Expect them to know the worst tricks of the dark arts of sales psychology and to use them.

The darkest art of sales psychology is to make the customer decide subconsciously and emotionally rather than use their conscious mind to make a rational decision. The salesperson then maniplates the subconscious emotions until the customer is convinced.

The customer is defenseless in this process. All of their conscious rationality has been subverted and avoided. The subconscious has no rational process on which to analyse, process, judge or decide. It simply takes in what it has seen with a total lack of judgement.

These strategies are being used all of the time by those who care only about achieving their aim. Half the time they do not realise they are using them or defend them with pretty words like 'love', 'care' or 'heart'. They do not know what they are doing or how they are doing it. 

They are 'street-wise' and have learned in life that this is how they get their own way. It is effective and they do not care how it works or the morality of what they are doing, sabotaging the ability of the other to think for themselves or make a rational and objetive for their own good or the good of others.

Or they are learned by copying another successful salesperson or manipulator without understanding. Or it is learn as a ritual, from those that sell the lowest common denominator of sales psychology and techniques. Just do it like this and it will work. 

Do not try to understand what you are really doing. You really do not want to know that. It would sabotage your ego and self-image of sugary goodness. Just do it. Just keep telling the customer how wonderful you are and how much you care. Keep up that superficial smile.

It works. The customer is defenceless in this process. All of their conscious rationality has been subverted and avoided. The subconscious has no rational process on which to analyse, process, judge or decide. It simply takes in what it has seen with a total lack of judgement.

If you are up against somebody using this type of strategy and all that you are using is to educate them and try to lead them to a rational, conscious decision for their health benefit, you will lose. You stand no chance. They have sabotaged the very thing that you rely on, the patient's ability to think for themselves.

This is McDonalds vs the organic fruit and vegetable producer whose life's work is to honestly provide the healthiest possible food for the health and good of all. Happy meals. Let your kids decide. Make the association in the children's vulnerable mind between burgers and happiness.

The only error in this metaphor is that the doctor who recommends the best outcome therapy is blindfolded to the reality of the malicious strategies being used against them and gagged by their ethics not to whisper a word against the opposition. They are fighting against all odds with their hands tied behind their backs.

The very first stage of a doctor learning about sales psychology is 'Know Thy Enemy'. Know the strategies that are being used against recommendations of the gold standard therapy. Accept that those who do not have the ethics to support that gold standard therapy and who would instead sell their therapy for their own personal profit are not going to fight fair. 

This is not about communication. This is about subconscious manipulation.

The opposition is using it against you!

And do not expect those whose life and self-image depends on their ability to sell second rate or worse therapies using dark psychological arts. In fact, expect them to impose shackles on the best of the medical profession so that they cannot fight back. Expect them to paralyse anybody who gets in the way of their egos and profits by burdening them with inflexible ethics. That is exactly what they have succeeded in doing. 

To even start to gain a level playing field is to play dirty, just as dirty as the opposition. It is the one and only level playing field. Their strategies must be balanced out to assure fair play. It is to openly expose and sabotage their strategies as they would do to you. To win and get the patient to accept the best therapy for their health, you have to play the detractors at their own game.

If you don't play the game, you automatically lose.

Part Two: The Light and Dark Arts of Sales

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