Skip to main content

How to Create Trust with Prospects Like a Doctor

· 3 min read
Roy Firestein
CEO at

As a salesperson, building trust with your prospects is crucial for closing deals and establishing long-term relationships. But how can you create that trust quickly and effectively? One approach is to take a cue from the medical profession and treat your sales conversations more like a doctor's visit.

When you go to the doctor, they don't just sit down and start prescribing medication or treatments. Instead, they ask probing questions to diagnose your condition and understand your unique needs. They want to get to the root of the problem before offering any solutions.

As a salesperson, you should adopt a similar mindset. Rather than launching straight into your pitch, focus on asking insightful questions that uncover your prospect's true challenges, goals, and motivations. This shows you care about understanding their situation, not just making a sale.

Doctors also aren't afraid to ask tough, even uncomfortable questions when needed. They know that getting the full picture is essential for making an accurate diagnosis and recommendation.

Likewise, don't shy away from probing deeper with prospects when you sense there's more to the story. Asking challenging questions demonstrates confidence and expertise. It positions you as a trusted advisor, not just another vendor. Prospects will respect your thoroughness.

Just like a good doctor, aim to prescribe solutions that are tailored to each prospect's specific "symptoms" or needs. Cookie-cutter approaches erode trust. Prospects want to feel you've carefully considered their unique situation.

Finally, remember that patients don't necessarily expect their doctor to be their best friend. While bedside manner is important, it's secondary to being a competent professional who asks the right questions and provides appropriate guidance.

The same is true in sales. Focus first on demonstrating credibility, insight and leadership through great questions and attentive listening. Build trust by showing prospects you're a safe pair of hands to guide them to the right solution.


To create trust like a doctor, salespeople should:

  1. Ask tough, challenging questions: Doctors ask patients uncomfortable questions to diagnose the problem accurately. Similarly, salespeople should ask prospects questions that they may not know the answer to, but feel the salesperson should. This demonstrates expertise and helps the salesperson understand the prospect's true needs and motivations.
  2. Focus on the process, not the outcome: Doctors follow a systematic process to diagnose and treat patients. Salespeople should also have a structured approach to selling, focusing on the steps that lead to a successful outcome rather than being overly attached to the final result.
  3. Provide leadership, a safe pair of hands, and insight: Prospects look for these three qualities in a salesperson. By demonstrating leadership, competence, and valuable insights, salespeople can establish trust and credibility, much like a doctor does with their patients.
  4. Avoid being needy or overly adaptive: Doctors don't change their approach to please patients; they do what is necessary to help them. Salespeople should similarly maintain their professionalism and not be overly concerned with being liked or adapting to every whim of the prospect.
  5. Be willing to challenge the prospect: Doctors often have to convince patients to make difficult lifestyle changes for their health. Salespeople should also be prepared to challenge their prospects' assumptions and guide them towards the best solution, even if it may be uncomfortable.

By adopting these doctor-like behaviors, salespeople can shift their focus from being liked to being trusted. This approach may not always be comfortable, but it is more likely to lead to successful long-term relationships with clients who view the salesperson as a credible expert and partner in achieving their goals.