In today’s show, Chris Cox Au.D., and Riley Bass Au.D., sit down with Darci Vick, a Professional Development Manager at Audigy Group to talk about Audiology’s 4 Letter Word — SELL! Why are we afraid to sell? And how can we present ourselves confidently as Audiologists?
Did you miss our series on Transitioning from Student to Provider? Catch up on what you missed by visiting our special series page.
Listen to the Episode Below
Read the transcript:
DARCI VICK: Speaking of sales.
CHRIS COX: Sales. Just step on up. I’m going to sell you something.
RILEY BASS: Are you selling the circus?
DARCI VICK: Step right up.
CHRIS COX: Peanuts, candied apples.
RILEY BASS: Or, like the carnival where they guess your weight or whatever, and then you get a prize.
DARCI VICK: You should always go 50 lighter regardless.
CHRIS COX: OK. Yes, pounds lighter and today–
RILEY BASS: You weigh $1.20?
DARCI VICK: Yeah. Yes, I do.
RILEY BASS: Welcome back to the podcast. We have been separated as a team for a couple weeks. But we are back in business.
And you may have heard we have a guest with us this week. Once again, we are so happy to have Darci Vick visiting us from the professional development team here at Audigy. Welcome Darcy. Please tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are now and what you do.
DARCI VICK: Yeah. I came into Audigy in 2013. I was a membership development manager. So essentially, my job and responsibility was reaching out to private practice owners, and explaining what Audigy is all about, and trying to build a relationship, and have them see value in what we do here and what we provide. So I did that for about two years, on the phones quite a bit, building relationships, having those conversations, essentially what you might consider the sales position for the company.
And then basically, I transitioned from there into the professional development manager position because I wanted to take those relationships that I had started and deepen that relationship, and work with those practices on a deeper level. And I’ve been doing professional development for a little over a year now.
CHRIS COX: Awesome. So that’s a pretty good background being here at Audigy. Today our talk is on a four-letter word that we seem to have in audiology as a profession. And that four-letter word starts with an S.
DARCI VICK: Yes. And it’s one that I’m OK having my four-year-old say, actually.[LAUGHTER]
CHRIS COX: So what is that?
DARCI VICK: So what’s that four-letter word that starts with an S that my four-year-old can say? I would say that word is sell.
CHRIS COX: Sell.
RILEY BASS: Sell
CHRIS COX: That’s it.
RILEY BASS: Not like the cells inside your body. Right.
CHRIS COX: That one starts with a C. I don’t know if you remember that.
RILEY BASS: Just wanted to clarify for everyone, we’re talking about sell as in sale not cell as in cellular.
CHRIS COX: All right. I think we’re clear on that. I think we’re good.
RILEY BASS: Do we need to go over it again just to clarify.
CHRIS COX: I don’t know if we do or not, but just in case, we may come back over and review that.
DARCI VICK: We’re good.
RILEY BASS: We are all on the same plane. We’re ready to go.
CHRIS COX: All right. So we’re talking about selling or the idea of sell. And one of the many things that we come across with discussions with students and new graduates is this idea of I just want to help people.
I don’t want to have to sell them anything. I don’t want them to have to pay me money for anything. I just want them to be able to hear and everybody to be happy.
And if you’ve been in the profession at all, one or two years out even, you know that can’t really work. That’s not how this works. We’ve gone to school, we’ve learned all these things, we have this expertise. And at some point, we have to exchange our knowledge for money, right?
DARCI VICK: Right.
CHRIS COX: So can you tell us, Darci, and talk to us a little bit about this idea of cell and why you think that has such a negative tone within our profession.
DARCI VICK: Yeah. Sure. So I think to kind of touch on what you just said a little bit, I think there’s a lot more alignment in what sales really is and what everybody is here doing, trying to help people. When I look at that, I think that selling is just your avenue to be able to help somebody find a solution. But I think when we go back and we think about– close your eyes for a second–[HARP MUSIC]
–and imagine a salesperson. Riley, what comes to mind?
RILEY BASS: The movie Matilda, her dad on that movie.
DARCI VICK: OK.
RILEY BASS: Danny DeVito I think it was where he’s got the slicky hair, and the plaid suit, and the cigar, and he’s running the speedometer or the odometer backwards in the cars.
DARCI VICK: I remember that. And I’m sure a lot of people listening are probably imagining something very similar, that car salesmen look. Chris, anything that you would add in there? When you think of sales and a salesperson, what are some of those words that automatically come to mind.
CHRIS COX: Yeah. I just think of that person that’s trying to get money for something maybe something that’s not that great. And a car salesman is a typical prototype for salesman. But there’s a whole bunch of them out there that I think we all put together in our mind as just that person that maybe the slickster that has a good smile and you just don’t trust them for some reason. But they’re going to try to sell you whatever it is whether it’s insurance, or a car, or anything.
So yeah. We have this, all of us. We have this negative view. It’s a stigma of what a salesperson looks like.
DARCI VICK: Right. And you guys aren’t alone. And I’m sure anybody listening is probably imagining something very similar. I am a salesperson. And I’m proud of that.
CHRIS COX: I didn’t know that. I never would have hired her on to come do this thing. I think we need to get out of here.
DARCI VICK: And I don’t have my plaid suit on today and my slicked back hair.
RILEY BASS: But you do you have a cigar.
DARCI VICK: I do have a cigar. You’re right. But what I think when you visualize– think about physicians. Physicians are selling solutions and remedies to their patients, right? When you think about teachers, teachers are selling the idea of why it’s important to their kids to listen in class and to learn. When you think about parents, parents are always selling their kids on the benefits of vegetables, all these ideas.
CHRIS COX: Yuck.
DARCI VICK: Right? It can help your mom with that.
RILEY BASS: That’s great parenting skill.
CHRIS COX: Oh, you don’t want to eat these? OK. That’s fine. I don’t either.
RILEY BASS: Me neither. Let’s throw them away and get ice cream.
DARCI VICK: Right. Right. But entrepreneurs, they’re trying to sell investors on why they should invest their money into this great product or service that they have, this idea that they have. And there’s so many– in any role that you have, I would say 90% of the positions out there, 90% of the people out there are salespeople. But we don’t close our eyes, and we don’t think of physicians, or parents, or teachers as salespeople.
CHRIS COX: No way. Research people are salespeople too?
RILEY BASS: No.
CHRIS COX: No way.
RILEY BASS: No way.
DARCI VICK: Yeah. Think about it. Think about it. And think about– anybody listening here, have you ever interviewed for a job?
CHRIS COX: Yes.
RILEY BASS: Weird. We just talked about that last week.
DARCI VICK: I listened. I listened to that podcast. It was great. But when you think about that, you’re selling yourself. You are. You’re selling your ideas. You’re selling your education. You’re selling your skillset to a potential employer about why they should hire you and what the benefits that you can bring to this position are. So I think when we think about what sales is and what it isn’t, I think it’s pretty drastic, right? And any of those examples, we don’t visualize that slicked back car salesman.
And I got into sales because of all the things that you just mentioned, Chris, wanting to connect with people, wanting to help people, wanting to provide solutions, because we just want to help. That’s what sales is to me and where I see that. And that’s my narrative. I want to switch what people think about sales and how they define it.
CHRIS COX: OK. So you’re saying that there’s many different types of sales out there. When we’ve got the kind that we’re all familiar with– but there’s a different kind. Can you explain the different types of sales that you know?
DARCI VICK: I think if you really look at sales, you can define it one of two different ways. When we visualize and think about sales in that traditional format, it’s transactional. And when you think about that, the feeling that somebody gets, it’s about me and me as a sales person. So what’s the benefit for me as a sales person to have this transaction take place? I want to be done with it and I want to move on to the next sell.
That’s kind of the old way of thinking when you think about sales. When you think about the new way of sales and what’s selling really is, it solutions focused. And it’s really about what can I as a salesperson do to provide a solution to you and to really make it you focused. So what are the things that I’m doing and speaking to that had value to you in your situation?
And I think when we start looking at sales as a solutions focused, you’re not a salesperson you’re a solutions provider. And I think if we think about that and every element, specifically with hearing care, and specifically with hearing aids, we’re not selling those hearing aids so that we can make money. And there are some people out there that do. But I think generally speaking, the people that are listening in today and the people that are in this profession, they’re doing it, like you said, to help people, and how do we help people hear better.
RILEY BASS: I think if we do that same exercise that we were talking about earlier, where you close your eyes and you visualize what a salesperson is, if you do that for an audiologist the overall word that’s going to come back over and over again is going to be help. Every single person I’ve ever asked why they became an audiologist is because they want to help people. And I think that we get so stuck on that helping people that we kind of forget how we do that sometimes.
DARCI VICK: We do want to help people, right? And I think in a lot of positions I worked with a lot of audiologists and providers. And you’re right. They want to help people.
But I think what we have to do is differentiate what true 100% in it to help is versus having a job and a career where we’re going to be able to accomplish our goals, and to be able to have revenue for ourselves, or some source of income. So, Chris, I know you and I talked a little bit about that earlier and what that difference is with 100% helping versus helping you but also helping yourself achieve your goals.
CHRIS COX: Oh, yeah. I think there are many examples of that. And one of my favorite parts about the profession of audiology is that we are about helping. We’re about solutions. It is about helping that person connect with their world around them through better hearing.
And it’s not like we’re just– and I don’t to make anybody matter. But it’s not like we’re just selling an item, just a widget and that’s it. We’re here for the long run to help our patients hear better through technology or whatever that we recommend to them.
You think about the transactional, the more selfish view of selling things. It reminds me of the guy in the news lately who purchased that one drug that was going to help with– what was it? I was–
RILEY BASS: Diabetes or blood pressure.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, something like that. And then he pumped the price up of it to like $700 a pill or something. It was incredible. That’s 100% selfish right there, right?
Say what you will about that whole situation. But that’s just transparently transactional. He wanted to get as much out of that sale and that business as he could by just cranking it up and knowing that was the only drug out there that could do what it does.
So that, to me, is just 100% pure selfish. And none of us want to be that way. None of us want to appear that way. As audiologists, we want to look like we’re helping. But on the other end of it, you also have to think about those people that the mom and pop shops that are open just to help their community and also to make a living.
And with those people. It’s a totally different thing. It’s not about that transaction, it’s about being a part of the community and helping their families grow. So it’s just you’ve got them on both sides of the spectrum. And when you think about it, not necessarily as sales, but just as making a living, to me, it makes it a little different tone to that word, sell.
DARCI VICK: You guys asked earlier what my background was. So I think if we go a little bit further back, I’d love to share with you guys where I came from before coming here to Audigy.
CHRIS COX: That would be great. Please.
DARCI VICK: So I spent 10 years in banking. I aways say that like a prison sentence, right?
CHRIS COX: 10 years.
DARCI VICK: 10 years in banking. But I did. So the first half of that, the first few years I was in a big– what I want to say, like a national bank. I’m trying not to use names here. And I got in there, and it was a great experience for me to learn how to understand features and some of the different things with some of the products that you have in banking, so your checking accounts, your savings accounts, your loans, credit cards, all those things, those are all products, and talking about how to sell them to your customers that are coming in.
And it was very sales focused in the fact that we had quotas, and we had certain things that we had to meet, and if we didn’t meet them we had to do it cold calls, like try and get people to sign up for credit cards over the phone calling them home at night.
CHRIS COX: I probably fell for one of those.
DARCI VICK: I think I talked to you.
CHRIS COX: Yeah, maybe. Thanks for that.
DARCI VICK: But I did that for a few years, and I learned what I liked and what I didn’t like about sales. But I ended up transitioning out of that company because I felt like I was in it for me, and there is too much pressure for me and for the bank, and we were actually helping people. And we are kind of cornering them to some positions. And I didn’t like that feeling that I had.
So I went to a community bank and spent about eight years in community banking doing the exact same thing, talking about products, talking about services, but really changing my approach in the company that supported that. The bank that supported that was really about solutions. So when I was talking to somebody about a home equity loan, it was really talking about what are your goals in life? What do you want to accomplish? What kind of home do you dream about? What kind of changes you want to make?
And it was about building that connection and really listening to understand what they wanted and how I could provide a solution for them. So I think if you go back and you think about maybe a credit card that you guys have, or paying off student loans–
CHRIS COX: Oof.
DARCI VICK: Oof. Big topic there, right? But talking to somebody and having somebody be on the other side of that conversation and listening to say, what are your goals? How soon do you want to pay off that student loan? What are the different services that we have available to be able to help you do that? That approach is really what I look at as with sales, is that solutions focus.
So I think that’s just another example. You can think of a million different examples outside of what we do here where there’s a good and a negative experience when it comes to some sort of a sales relationship.
RILEY BASS: All right, Darci. So we know that you spent this time in banking as you were essentially the sales person. But I’m sure there’s been examples that you have where you were the purchaser in this case, or the–
CHRIS COX: Customer?
RILEY BASS: –the customer. That’s the right word. I’m like, what is that word besides patient? That was the only thing I could think of. So what is it from your perspective that really sets a transaction or a solutions-based purchase to go from a bad experience to a good experience?
DARCI VICK: So there’s one story that always comes to mind when I think about me being on the other side of a sales transaction, so to speak. And it was when I was about seven months pregnant with my daughter. And it was summertime. And I was getting out of the car packing some things out.
And this little boy walks up to our driveway. And he’s selling newspapers. And we don’t subscribe to the newspapers. And so I thought, oh, I’ll give this kid a quick minute.
CHRIS COX: Does anyone subscribe to newspapers anymore?
DARCI VICK: I think three. I think there might be three people. Yeah.
RILEY BASS: Unfortunately, he has the longest bike route. They’re like eight miles apart each way.
DARCI VICK: Pretty much. Pretty much. Poor kid, right? So he comes up. And he’s like, can I talk to you about the newspapers? And I’m like, oh, sure. As a sales person myself I always like to hear people’s approach. And before he starts anything, he goes, I’m going to make mine a little bit different than what I’ve been saying.
And keep in mind– I don’t know. He’s seven or eight years old. No. Maybe like 10. I don’t know. He’s young though.
And he goes, you look like you’re going to have a baby. And I was like, well, I am. And he goes, do you know how much money you can save in coupons every month with the Sunday paper for diapers, and for food, and for things like baby stuff? And I was like, no. How much?
He goes hundreds of dollars in coupons. And you could get the newspaper too, and you could still learn about what’s going on because you want to know what’s going on in your community, if there’s events for the kids and babies, or safety, if you want to know about safety. And this kid is elementary school. There’s no way he’s any older than that. And I look at him.
CHRIS COX: Hustler over here.
RILEY BASS: What a stud.
DARCI VICK: But you know what he did? He observed, and he changed his approach, and he customized it to really talk about things that would be important. And then he asked me some questions. And I don’t remember specifically what we talked about. But he was really listening to understand what my situation was.
Had I been a newspaper subscriber before and why not? And I don’t know where he learned this. But as a young kid, for me I was like, I’m not going to subscribe to the paper. But I hope that you find a profession where you can continue to do this as you get older. And if you ever have any tips or you need a new job interview practice, you come back here and let’s talk. But it was an incredible experience–
CHRIS COX: That’s really cool.
DARCI VICK: –just to hear. You could’ve come up and said, hey, we’ve got this newspaper. It’s $1.50 a day, or whatever it was. But he really just observed and customized his approach for me and was very observant. And it was great.
RILEY BASS: It works as long as you’re actually pregnant.
DARCI VICK: Well, that’s true. I think I beyond the point of having it be in question.
RILEY BASS: It wasn’t a question anymore.
DARCI VICK: No. No.
CHRIS COX: What do you think, kid?
RILEY BASS: Get out.
CHRIS COX: Get out of here.
DARCI VICK: Yeah. Yeah.
CHRIS COX: No. But that’s really cool. And that really speaks to what we’ve been talking about, about making it about this– and not making about a transaction, making it about solutions-based or as a problem solver. And this young kid knew that and understood that. And however he understood that, it got to you.
And now you’re telling the story a few years later– what– four years later now?
DARCI VICK: Yeah, about four years later.
CHRIS COX: And it’s still on your mind as one of the big, impactful sales transactions that you had. And it was from a 10-year-old kid.
DARCI VICK: Yeah. I bet if we were to ask him if he was a sales person, I don’t think he would have said that. I thin he was that attuned to what he was doing, and what his mission was, and why he was– loved what he was doing. This kid was passionate about newspapers. And good for him for that.
But I think that that’s a key thing, is you have to be passionate about what you do, and you have to be genuine about that. And if you can be passionate about what you do, that’s going to go into every conversation that you have. And I think that that’s also what separates that solutions focused versus transactional.
People that are more transactional, I don’t know that the passion’s behind that as much. They don’t really believe in what they’re doing and their mission. And I think if you can have a strong mission and a strong belief, that’s going to go right into your ability to connect with people and provide those solutions.
CHRIS COX: Yeah. If they’re just passionate about money or getting the next big car or whatever it is, then it’s definitely going to show through. And so I like that. I like the little bit of advice that you gave. Be genuine and be passionate. But there’s room in our profession for both of those to be passionate and to be genuine. And I think that where we sometimes falter is that we don’t keep that in mind, and we try to be someone that we’re not.
We try to be this big, amazing, awesome doctor. And that can kick us in there in rear end sometimes because maybe that’s not being genuine. So what are some of the things that we could use as students or new young professionals that could help us with this whole idea of sales versus helping people?
DARCI VICK: I think one of the first things to do is to really empathize with who you’re talking to, whether it’s a patient, a customer, a family member. Going back to kids in the classroom, being able to empathize, understand where they are and the emotions behind that, when they say that they’re frustrated, what does that really mean? And taking the time to listen to understand their story, and not just listening to be able to come up with the next response– because I think naturally we tend to do that quite a bit, especially when we’re a little bit nervous, and we don’t have that confidence in our sales approach. And again, sales is a positive thing here– but being able to listen to understand and to have that confidence to say I want to hear what you’re saying and really hear what you’re saying and what you mean by that, and empathize, and connect with somebody, I think those are two big keys to successfully selling.
And the third one would be is that the relationship doesn’t end at that transaction, right? So say you are successful in being able to help somebody find better hearing through hearing aids. That relationship then is really the start of it. So if you think about that in a transactional mindset– hey, I made the sale. I’m on to the next. The patient is going to feel that.
And they’re going to feel like that was a transaction. They’re going to feel like they were sold. But if you really show them that that’s just the beginning of the relationship and that there’s so much more– we’re going to get deeper, and we’re really going to treat each other like family, that’s when people start to feel like you really have a genuine interest in them as a person, and in their situation, and in their story. And that’s where success comes.
RILEY BASS: I think that there is some existence of that transactional sales within the hearing health care industry. And it’s an unfortunate thing. And sometimes that is the reputation that the entire audiology community gets.
And we’ve talked over and over again about being that remarkable provider and being the standout in your community. And I think that that’s exactly the point, is that the transaction and the actual exchanging of money is not the point of what you’re doing. It’s from that day that you fit them forward, that really is going to impact what your relationship is, and it’s going to impact that transaction.
And just because they are exchanging money for services and money for goods, doesn’t mean that you’re not helping them immensely. And if you’ve taken the time to listen and figure out their goals, then you’re going to help them reach those goals, which is exactly what you got into this career to do, is to help people reconnect with their families, and be more active in their community, and do all those things that they want to do that they have since been unable to do to the loss of their hearing.
DARCI VICK: Yeah. I think maybe an extra tip, a bonus tip–
CHRIS COX: Oh, yes. Love it.
DARCI VICK: Bonus tip. I think really any advice that I would give is have confidence in yourself. Have confidence in what you bring to the table with those solutions, because there’s a value behind that. And I when people can understand the benefit that you bring to them and that value that you’re adding into your life, then that’s where that transaction, or that exchange of goods for that service, that’s a successful sales piece there. But you have to believe in yourself and know that you’re worth something for you to have confidence asking for an investment.
And so I think that that’s another little piece there that tends to get that fear inside of us as just being like, I don’t think I’m worth this– is essentially what you’re saying when you don’t have that confidence to be able to stand up and say, not only, patient, are you worth this, but the value that I bring to this relationship is worth it as well.
RILEY BASS: Darci, I have one last question for you. You have a tabbed book open on the table here. Why don’t you tell us what that book is called if this is something that is interesting to our listeners that they could check this book out?
DARCI VICK: Absolutely. So there is one of my favorite books. One of my favorite authors is Daniel Pink. And he has this book called To Sell is Human.
And I think for anybody that doesn’t believe that they’re a salesperson or doesn’t want to believe that they’re a salesperson, we’re crossing that line, this is a great book. It’s an easy read. He’s a very fun, humorous author. But he’s very simple and what his points are in that sales in the traditional sense and what sales really is moving forward are very different, and talking about how you can really have that connection with your patients or your clients, being able to rebound. Because sales is something where it goes over and over again, and you get a lot of no’s sometimes when you’re in a sales position– but being able to have that confidence to keep going forward– and then just really focusing on those little details that can establish those relationships with people.
So it’s a great book. I recommend it. It’s also an audio book and all sorts of good stuff there. But it’s great.
CHRIS COX: To Sell is Human. OK. That’s a good one.
RILEY BASS: Yes. And remember that even if you’re getting into this industry not necessarily to be a sales person and selling, hearing technology is not really the driving passion in your career field, a lot of times it’s that economic engine that is helping you pursue those passions, such as tinnitus treatment therapy, vestibular, oral rehab, all those things that go along with our career, and all those diverse things we can do. A lot of times that economic engine is the revenue from those hearing aids.
So you don’t have to spend your whole day seeing these patients and doing this hearing aid sales portion. But a lot of times it will give you the ability to pursue those other passions that you have.
CHRIS COX: And we did to talk about that last week with their friend Travis–
RILEY BASS: Yes.
CHRIS COX: –about how to keep the lights on and that you do need that economic engine to be able to drive the business.[MUSIC PLAYING]
Thank you so much, Darci for coming in. We’ve talked about the difference between the traditional sales of that transactional sales that we’re familiar with, and this new solution-based on sales, and that it’s more than just that car salesman guy, that we’re actually all salespeople. Everything that we do, all transactions that we do really are about selling ourselves or an idea that we may have. Be genuine, be–
RILEY BASS: Empathetic.
CHRIS COX: –empathetic. Be compassion or have passion. And the bonus tip is to be confident. Be confident to what you bring to the table, and your expertise, and your knowledge. And be confident that what your solutions and what your recommending to that patient is something that deep down, that it’s truly going to help them.
DARCI VICK: Absolutely.
RILEY BASS: Darci, if it’s OK with you, we will shoot our listeners out your contact information. If they have any more questions or what to follow up with you, we’ll send them your email address. Are you on Twitter?
DARCI VICK: I am, @DarciVick.
RILEY BASS: And you can also follow Darci on Twitter @DarciVick. I am @RileyB659.
CHRIS COX: And I am @CoxChrisCox.
RILEY BASS: And as always, we have @the_podcast. That’s a lot of Twitter to follow. You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook. Please make sure you subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.
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CHRIS COX: Bye-bye.
DARCI VICK: Bye.