Five Effective Skill Sets I Learned as an EMT That Will Make You a Sales Beast
Working in EMS allowed me to see just how important my sales skills were in the real world. I had a unique experience while working with an inter-facility transport company that utilized a sliding scale system to help motivate EMS professionals. The more calls you ran, the more money you could make. This was exciting for me because I loved to be challenged and saw an opportunity to blend my sales skills into the EMS world and be a more effective leader overall. Here are the five skill sets I found that worked best in both professions.
Be a Trusted Advisor and Be Courageous
As an EMT, you must have courage and know what you’re doing at all times. Sometimes, you get a call that sounds insane. Whether it was picking up a patient from a local prison or helping someone who had been assessed with homicidal tendencies, courage was paramount. While working in sales, sometimes you are faced with a client that is not seeing your vision or how you can help their situation. The best approach to both situations is to go in there with your head held high and remember you’re there to help improve their situation and, hopefully, thrive more than when they started. The best EMTs and sales professionals can accomplish this by acting as trusted advisors, giving their clients the security of knowing they are in good hands. Knowing your client, knowing how you can help, and being able to see a situation from all sides can give you a big advantage in helping whomever you serve.
Be a Critical Thinker and Assess the Situation
Both EMTs and sales professionals need to be able to critically think and know how to do an assessment quickly. Your patient may be in need of quick treatment or your client could be pressed for time, so the faster you can do an assessment the better you’ll be at servicing them. This can only be accomplished by knowing which steps to take and how to guide the person you’re serving to a solution. If your patient is bleeding out, you have to assess the wound and apply pressure or even a tourniquet. If they are having chest pains, you have to assess their vitals, put them on oxygen, pick the right medication and transport quickly to the nearest facility. It’s actually no different in sales. If your client is experiencing pain and you can assess that pain accurately and get to the root cause, you can then offer a plan of action and your expert services to help ease that pain successfully.
Provide Value and Reassurance
Patients who are in a lot of pain sometimes require additional comfort beyond their real medical concerns. What they are really looking for you to provide is value. They want to know the person they are trusting with their life is going to make them feel better and not cause more harm. Just like a client in sales and business, a patient is going to challenge that value. If your client is on the fence about your product or services, you need to provide more value. If they have an objection, you have to overcome that objection by getting them to understand how your product or service is going to help. In either instance, the goal is to get whomever you are helping to see the value in your product and services. That is how you provide value and comfort for your client.
Willingness to Win and Overcome Obstacles
You must have a willingness to win no matter what. Whether you are working in EMS or a top-performing sales team, your energy going in and coming out of an engagement needs to have winner written all over it. I have heard miraculous stories of patients being resuscitated when others thought all hope was lost. A winner’s attitude is sometimes necessary to push through uncertainty. Sometimes when we are working on a deal in sales, things may seem like they are going downhill. You feel like you have done your job right by qualifying the client, but all of sudden they just turn into a dead lead and get defensive. Don’t give up until they walk out that door. Ask better questions, offer better solutions and keep those gears turning in your head. Your client may be right there with you, but skeptical about your services or product. If you have qualified them and they are in need of your services, it’s your job to turn it around and to stick to your methods or they could miss out on a great opportunity. If you succeed you might just turn out to be their hero.
Deep Desire to Serve and Understand Needs
This cannot be understated. Neither sales nor EMS is a field for the faint of heart. You need to be driven to get up every day and help those in need or pain, even when they don’t make it easy for you. Not everyone is going to like you or want your services. In the EMS field, when a patient doesn’t want to seek the recommended medical care you offer, they are usually instructed to sign off on a legal document called an AMA, “against medical advice.” This is because, as an EMT, it is your duty to serve; and when they refuse, it’s important to know who made that decision and that you tried everything in your power to provide that care. When the patient refuses to get the help they so desperately need, it can feel like you didn’t do your job or were rejected. In business, if you understand the value of your products and services, the feeling of rejection should not outweigh your understanding of how you could help. You are a valued provider and, if you do not believe that, just remember all the patients or customers you helped because you knew it was the right thing to do.