Can I get some Valium?

“Sure no problem.” 

Imagine a teenager goes to their Doctor and asks for Valium, they say they need the pills for sleeping. They look tired, the GPs busy, so writes a script for Diazepam. The teenager leaves.

How happy would you be if you were that teenager’s parent?

I’m guessing, not too happy with the Doctor just giving your child what they asked for. Teenagers aren’t noted for their medical expertise, ability to diagnose, and then decide what action therapy to recommend.

That’s why Doctors don’t give patients what they ask for. Although maybe some do, as Lily Allan wrote, “You go to the doctor. You need pills for sleeping. Well, if you can convince him, then I guess that’s not cheating.”

So, as a consultant, in sales situations, are you bringing your expertise to the table, challenging the obvious, helping clarify issues, and recommending appropriate actions … or are you ‘order-taking’, doing as you’re asked … because that’s the path of least resistance.

For consultants, there is no added-value in ‘order-taking’. It does the client a disservice. And it firmly positions you as a vendor, not a trusted partner.

Think of a recent client meeting you’d like to reflect on.

1. How did I bring my expertise to the table?

2. What were the obvious solutions that need challenging?

3. How did I respond to the client’s issues?

4. How did I add to and influence next actions?