My throat was sore again. And It wasn’t getting better. Time to go to the doctor. Remembering the old Johnny Carson jokes about his doctor the “eye, ear, nose, throat, and wallet man,” I decided to ask a few friends. I was referred by several other speakers to “THE MAN” Dr. Robert Thayer Sataloff.
I sat in the lobby waiting (and waiting).
There was a wall full of framed things from floor to ceiling.
Diplomas from six major schools.
Awards from all over the world.
Sixty-eight plaques in all.
Impressive. Very impressive.
“Tell me a little about yourself.” He asked as he looked me right in the eye.
“I speak, write, and travel. Mostly travel.” I joked.
“How long has your voice been weak?” he asked – same eye contact.
“It’s been building for about two years. I gargle with peroxide and salt water after every talk, but it doesn’t seem to do much good.”
“What else have you done about it?” he asked.
“Not enough to make it better.” I said with a bit of Philly sarcasm. “Ten people at the National Speakers Association have recommended you. So I came here for the miracle cure.”
“What do you expect me to do?” he asked.
“Fix it!” I shot back.
He numbed my throat with a spray that made me gag. (One of 50 or so gags that day.) He stuck a mini-cam down my throat and showed me a picture of it on a TV right in front of me. “There’s the problem. See that little do-hickey on the edge of your vocal fold? (he pointed to my throat “live” on the TV screen) That’s a polyp. It’s gotta go. I recommend surgery.”
I recommend surgery. Three words you don’t want to hear. So when the doctor said them to me, it was a sinking feeling. “Are you sure?” I asked.
“If you do, you’ll have a golden voice for thirty years. If you don’t, you’ll sound like the godfather in three years.”
“You’re making me an offer I can’t refuse.” I quipped.
He then hits the print button on the TV/video machine, and a Polaroid picture of my throat comes out with the little bump on it. “Here, keep this as a souvenir.” Dr. Sataloff said.
“This isn’t a souvenir – it’s ultimate proof.” I said.
“Will you put me to sleep for this operation?”
“Jeffrey even if we didn’t – you I would put to sleep. Yes you get a general anesthetic.”
“Is it a big operation?”
“Fifteen minutes, and you’re as good as new. One small detail. You can’t speak a word for a week. And you can’t give a full blown talk for six weeks. Look at it this way – it’s a great opportunity to write.” He said.
I smiled. Weakly.
He recommended some in-house therapy. Dr. Sataloff has a full team of speech therapists. As I walked down the hall there were one hundred autographed photos of celebrities who have been healed by the doctor.(More proof.)
What a sale. What a perfect sale.
He was selling me an exact solution to my problem – and he wasn’t asking for the sale – he was telling me, “this is what you gotta do.” And he built such an iron clad case, my only choice was “yes.”
He did it with the six things:
- Credibility beyond a doubt from his awards and customers.
- Likeability. He was relaxed and friendly. He smiled.
- Perfect diagnosis. Ask first. Then sell. Questions to uncover facts. Probing to find the real problem.
- Trust from his self-assurance and character.
- Believability from seeing my own throat on TV as he examined me.
- Peace of mind from his demeanor and reassurance that all would be well.
Now all I gotta do is get my throat cut. If you see the rest of the story next week, it means I lived.
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Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Business Marketing Services, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to email@example.com