There is a saying in the medical field, “Prescription before examination is malpractice”. If you were a doctor examining a new patient who complained that pains in their abdomen had become intolerable, you would not simply prescribe a painkiller and send the patient home. You would perform a careful diagnosis that included bloodwork and tests, as well as a thorough physical examination.
A doctor must find out if the patient has an upset stomach, appendicitis or colon cancer before offering a prescription. The same rule applies when you are trying to sell a car.
I have been in the car business for close to 30 years and I’ve probably seen at least that many versions of the proper steps to completing a sale. I’ve seen 7 step versions, 10 step versions, 12 step versions and probably a few more I can’t remember. What I have never seen is a sales process that puts the “prescription”, showing them a vehicle, before the “examination”, doing an analysis of their needs and desires.
Unfortunately, however, I have seen it happen much too often in real life. Oh, the salesman will tell you that he qualified the customer and he probably did ask them a couple of basic questions, however, what he did would fall far short of the “examination” he should have done.
Think of our early scenario with the doctor and the patient and imagine the doctor writing his prescription after taking the patient’s temperature and finding out how much he weighed. The doctor could claim to have done an examination but I don’t think any of us would have found that to be sufficient.
It certainly is no sudden bolt of revelation for me to tell you that salespeople tend to rush the sales process. In some cases, that might even be a bit of an understatement. They try to shortcut the process to get through it quicker and then justify that by claiming the customer didn’t want to spend that much time.
Well, ask anybody that knows me, I hate spending time in the doctor’s office. In spite of this, I would be highly upset if that doctor tried to shortcut the examination process and just prescribed a few pills and sent me home. In fact, it is because I hate going to the doctor that I want him to do a complete and full exam and solve any problems right the first time so I don’t have to go back anytime soon.
Most car shoppers are like that, too. They really don’t like the processes involved in buying a car. Many dealers have modified their processes to try to make the whole process more customer-friendly and that has helped. Most customers, however, are still apprehensive and have some misgivings about the process. And, when they buy a car, they are “stuck” with the results of that purchase, typically for several years.
That is why you need to do a complete and comprehensive examination of each and every prospective buyer. Only then will you be able to help them identify all of their issues. By being a professional salesperson you help them to be an informed purchaser. The proper examination, diagnosis and prescription are just as important for the car buyer and their salesperson as it is for the patient and their doctor. Only by conducting a thorough examination can you avoid committing sales malpractice.