EXCLUSIVE: GBL Wheelchairs urges ‘less medical’ approach for sales success

Ian Laker, managing director, GBL Wheelchairs

UK mobility dealers could be more successful if they adopt a ‘less medical’ and more empathetic approach to customer sales.

That’s the suggestion from GBL Wheelchair managing director, Ian Laker, who has said that empathy with customers and a lifestyle approach over a solely medical one has been a major advantage for the company over the years.

Speaking to AMP at Mobility Roadshow last week, Laker, said: “Empathy is our big thing and one of our biggest advantages. We’ve sold off that for years – not all our staff are disabled, but we do have some people with hidden disabilities, I myself am a wheelchair user.”

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He continued: “Many dealers try and do things medically, and the customer is tired of speaking about that with the doctor, the therapist, the nurse. Customers come to us and we ask them what they want from the chair, what do they want to use the chair for.

“It’s a totally different approach, that’s the logic. Of course, the medical element is part of it and has to come up in the conversation, but some dealers will only use the medical approach – I suppose it makes some of them feel more professional. But that’s what OTs are for.

“Dealers are there to say what do you want the product for and can you use it? But many dealers come over as medical, and that means punters feel they’re getting a medical experience which they’re not – it’s a complete fabrication.”

GBL Wheelchairs currently holds the distribution deal for the Panthera brand, manufacturer of the world’s lightest carbon fibre wheelchair. The dealer was at the Mobility Roadshow exhibiting the Panthera X. The dealer specialises in high-performance, custom wheelchairs.

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