What can we learn about selling from cataract surgery?

A few years ago I had cataract surgery.  The Ophthalmologist told me he would smash up the lens in my eye, suck the fragments out, leaving me temporarily blind, and then inject a rolled-up, new, prosthetic lens, which would then unfurl and pop into place, allowing me to see again.  All done in a matter of minutes, while I was awake … watching it happen!

Then two weeks later, we would do the second eye.


Yet, I didn’t ask him up front what it would cost and I didn’t push back when I found out how much I would be out of pocket.  Why?

Turns out the Ophthalmologist was a master salesperson!  First, he told me this surgery would be life changing. I would stop wearing the trifocal glasses I had worn from morning to night for the past 30 years, I would have clear vision and my new lenses wouldn’t ever deteriorate.

Then he told me he does 500 of these per year and had done 5,000 in total … without a failure.

After that, he said “Do you want to know how the surgery would be done?” followed by the description I gave above.

I walked out with the surgery booked, committed to the discomfort ahead … why?

Simple, I had a greater need for the surgery than any concern about the price.  He focused on both my greatest liability (poor eyesight and glasses) and my desired outcome, effectively giving me certainty about resolving that liability.

Then he simply asked if I wanted to book it in, which I did.  Only then did he let me know how much it was going to cost. By that stage, no matter how much he said, I was going to find the money!

What if he had instead started off by saying “This surgery is quite expensive – over $5,000 per eye, but let me walk you through how it is done.” It would have been a very different discussion.

There is a principle in selling here …

You should NEVER position value in the context of price – you must ALWAYS position price in the context of value!