Mark Boundy

By Mark Boundy

“Sales Isn’t Brain Surgery”…Or Is It?

“Sales Isn’t Brain Surgery”…Or Is It? 150 150 Mark Boundy

While a sales career doesn’t require the extensive education and licensing as a surgical career, a great sales professional shares some similar traits.

My wife is a surgeon…she performs advanced procedures through tiny incisions, accomplishing radical changes in her patients’ bodies and lives through tiny keyhole-sized openings.  I’m in awe of what she can do, and its impact.  I’m crazy proud of her and what she does and try every day to rise to her elite level in my very different field.

A truly great – buyer-focused — sales professional will find several similarities.  Top tier salespeople actually perform non-contact brain surgery. mandate

Big Impacts Through a Narrow Field of View

While I don’t save lives for a living, what I do is still pretty cool. I am an expert on customer value…something that exists only inside the customer; specifically, in a customer/client’s mind. I help salespeople open their clients’ minds to previously unconsidered – yet strongly appreciated — outcomes.

Like a minimally-invasive surgeon operating through a ‘scope, salespeople only have a tunnel-vision view into what’s going on in a customer’s mind.  My specialty is teaching sales professionals how to affect customer’s minds, businesses, and lives through that small window between seller and customer’s mind.

The Role of Generalist Expertise and Acumen

Surgeon and sales consultants are both more effective when we are genuine experts in the whole patient/client.  One of us learned anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology to help understand what a patient’s symptoms and labs really mean. The other of us learned economics, earned a top business degree, has managed a P&L, and grown successful ground-breaking businesses…and has been involved in failure or two. My value to my clients is the ability to interpret my clients’ symptoms through a deep/wide business acumen.

Likewise, customer-centric selling requires that sellers provide valued consultant-like insights for their prospects and customers.  A salesperson can’t provide insight/perspective into something they don’t understand.  I’m passionate about providing sales forces next-level business acumen, so they can position themselves ahead of their competitors.

Domain Expertise and Situational Mastery

My wife is an expert in one area of the body, and various ways to fix things when that part of the body is injured or diseased.  When she’s operating through a ‘scope, she knows exactly what all that confusing jumble of stuff is, where she needs to cut, and what she needs to preserve.  She knows what’s coming next, and what lies beneath the part she’s working on, just out of sight.  When things don’t look “textbook”, she’s either seen that anomaly before or can confidently deal with it.  Each operation is individualized to the patient, not the other way around.

I do the same thing, with organizations, not organisms.

Value-focused organizations put their salespeople in a position to either be expert, to anticipate, to accommodate, and/or to seamlessly call in needed expertise as-needed, when-needed.  Facilitating a buying process the customer is usually inexperienced in, helping them through the tough parts by virtue of the sales person’s experience in that domain.

Another thing:  great salespeople don’t blindly shove canned (even brilliantly persona-tailored, technologically sharpened) value messages into every patient’s — oops, prospect’s — brain.  I teach clients to apply value messages surgically:  confirming first whether application caused any value to form between the prospect’s ears, and then what kind and how much.

Closing is Only the End of the Beginning. Focus on Outcomes

My wife’s complication rates and patient outcomes are far superior to peer and industry averages.  This isn’t just because of her technique in the OR, but about her mastery of patient counseling, recovery, and post-op care, and how she develops an exceptionally de-siloed care pathway…focused on patient success.  She knows what world-class looks like and helps those around the patient deliver the care that ensures great outcomes.

I help my clients think not just until the close, but to plan seamlessly to customer success.  I harp on the mantra that there is no after-sale care, but between-sales care.

Customer-focused sellers know that signing the contract is the moment when the pressure to perform starts for your customer. There are several good ways to handle the transition and a bunch of wrong ones. If your business involves repeat-, cross-, or upselling, a world-class approach to implementation and outcome assurance is your only option.

Passion for the Profession

I don’t get called in for emergency life-saving surgery in the middle of the night, but we both love what we do for our respective patients/clients.

I want my clients to learn to walk, then run without me over their shoulder. This doesn’t happen by pushing them out on their own too soon…but it also means aggressive support in the early going so that they leave the hospital, umm…engagement, prepared for their own development.

Unlike a surgeon like my wife, my ideal client is one who is doing OK, but knows they could be doing better.  Are you and your salespeople treating opportunities like everyday complex selling situations, when you know in your heart that what you sell could be elevated to mission-critical for your customers?  Perhaps we need to set a time for a consultation.

To Your Success!