“Sell the benefits not the features!”…..but are you REALLY making the emotional connection?

Selling features-advantages-benefits has been around since Noah came off The Ark. Most folk in retail pharmacy seem to at least be aware of this concept. But couching the benefit in a way that truly and uniquely connects to the customer’s emotional reality is a skill that few have mastered. One of the many reasons for this sub-optimal mastery relates to the ingrained culture to speak to the patient when making a features-advantages-benefits recommendation in such a way as the words that the patient hears could easily be used for the next patient where the recommendation may also be pertinent.

In short, the translation of a largely product/service oriented benefit to a uniquely tailored patient emotional connection is far more likely when asking the right questions the right way, to invite the patient to speak freely about their most fundamental emotional drivers for considering the given product/service. Easier said than done. This is a conversation based on trust. This translation must connect to the basic human need for that product/service at the emotional level, eg the patient wants to return to a desired state in terms of any one or combination of work, rest, play. The things they really want to do. The lifestyle motivations. Any other patient motivations, eg save money, be healthy, get rid of debilitating symptoms, etc. are just pathways to these three most utter of human endeavours.

But how? The essence of the skill required is to get the patient to translate their signs, symptoms, side effects into impacts on work, rest, play. Get the patient to really articulate and “feel” their desire to change. Signs, symptoms, side effects are merely the implied needs of the patient. Even though 99% of the time they may not consider it so. This is their expression at the superficial level of the medical domain. Magic starts to happen in your ability to really emotionally connect when you can elevate the discussion to the level of explicit needs – impacts on work rest play. And how much the patient would appreciate your recommendation for a solution – at this emotional level.

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