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10 Career-Making Medical Sales Tips

When selling to medical professionals, one of the biggest obstacles comes before you even speak to a decision maker - it’s working your way into their busy schedule. Surgeons’ and general practitioners’ time is very limited, so being prepared with a powerful message is critical. Following these 10 tips will help you make the most of every precious minute with leads and customers:

1. Get to The Hospital Before The Doctors

GPs and surgeons work long hours, so you may have to as well. Getting called in and showing up off hours will establish credibility in the eyes of the customer, because it shows you’re willing to help them whenever it’s needed. That’s a valuable means of differentiating yourself from the competition.

Another way of differentiating yourself from your competitors is arriving early to the hospital or office - even before your leads. This will give you a bit of extra time to get set up and pitch the value of your product before your contact gets too busy.

Cases may take much longer or shorter than expected, so having a backup plan is always important. If the case takes much longer than expected, make sure to stay in contact with other customers you had scheduled  to visit and let them know you might have to postpone. Keeping them in the loop is crucial to maintaining the relationship and making sure they don’t feel forgotten. If the case doesn’t take as long as expected, have a list of numbers that you can call while you have some downtime.

2. Don’t Take a Break at Lunchtime

Even if you’re used to unwrapping a sandwich every day at noon, you might find lunch is better spent selling than eating. Like you, surgeons and physicians typically take breaks during the lunch hour, so you should make sure to stay available throughout the middle of the day. Try catching up with your contacts in the cafeteria. Come armed with a few value-driven talking points that will catch their interest early and make them glad they spent their break chatting with you.

On the other side of the coin, casual lunch meetings can also be invaluable for building rapport. If you’ve already established a friendly connection with a practitioner, chatting over lunch can be a great way to keep the relationship alive. If you choose to work through lunch, just remember to plan some time to eat right before or after - no one sells well on an empty stomach!

3. Get to Know the Lay of The Land

No matter how experienced you may be as a salesperson, hospitals can be incredibly confusing the first time you arrive. Tap on managers, clinicians, and other sales reps to familiarize yourself with the floor plan before you make your first visit. Getting to the hospital early will allow you some time to get your bearings.

Not only do hospitals differ from one another in their physical layouts, but they all operate differently as well. Get to know the different policies and procedures of the every hospital you visit to make sure you don’t step on any toes or enter zones of the hospital open exclusively to staff.

Be flexible where and when you meet with practitioners.

4. Always Keep The Patient in Mind

While you might sell directly to surgeons and general practitioners, there is a third party you should always keep in mind: the patient. Whether it’s your product or a competitor’s, always suggest the solution that will be best for the patient, because they are the ones affected - whether you’re selling gauze, a new 3-D printed implant or a piece of sophisticated equipment. Even if you have to recommend a competitor’s product doing so will build credibility in the eyes of your customer.  

5. Know Your Products Like The Back of Your Hand

Surgeons and practitioners are hands-on with your products every day, making them some of the most knowledgable customers you can sell to. Therefore, it's critical you know your products backwards and forwards. The more helpful the information you give them and questions you can anwers, the more likely they are to do business with you in the future. “Knowing the product in-depth is also going to help you give solid advice to the surgeon and also provide options when things don’t go smoothly,” said Tom Barnes, Sales Executive at JRI Orthopaedics. If you can reduce the amount of work and frustration it takes to use a product, you can remove obstacles to ordering. 

6. Be Responsive

If all other factors were equal, hospital administrators and practitioners would simply do business with the person who was easiest to work with. While your company’s pricing, customer service, and quality may be out of your control, you can always take it into your own hands to be more flexible and responsive.

It can be tough to be instantly available when juggling a busy schedule, since stopping to reply to a prospect’s call or email can derail your day. Try reserving an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon every day to focus exclusively on client communication. Not only does that ensure you never take more than a few hours to respond, but it also frees you up to focus on the task at hand during the day and not worry about who might be trying to get a hold of you.

Medical device sales depends on preparation and flexibility.

7. Follow Through

It may seem obvious, but simply doing what you say you’re going to do can be surprisingly refreshing. Today’s world is fast paced - especially in the medical industry - so it’s easy to lose track of your commitments. However inevitable it might seem, dropping the ball even once can tarnish your reputation in prospects’ eyes.

As a first step, get organized by writing down every commitment you make as soon as you verbalize it. While jotting down reminders on a notepad might be convenient at the moment, they rarely do any good in helping you remember to complete a task. There are dozens of mobile apps that integrate with your alarm or calendar to give you active reminders when tasks have been left idle or their due date is approaching.

We love Evernote for its easy checklists and organization system, and nothing beats the standard iPhone Reminders app for its Siri integration. That way you can set a to-do list with just your voice as you drive to and from appointments. Of course, there are countless other more robust systems that help you sort notes by customer and even location, making it especially easy to keep track of your commitments by client.

8. Prepare for The Negatives

Hearing bad things about your device, company, or other employees is never pleasant, but as a sales rep it comes with the territory. As uncomfortable as it may be to stand in front of dissatisfied customers, your response can make or break your relationship with them.

When customers start airing their complaints, it’s important you let them express their mid fully without interruptions - even if you have the perfect response to their objection. Not only does that help customers feel that they’ve been heard, but saying it all out loud will help relieve their stress, which in turn makes your job much easier.

Before you move on, make sure you fully understand their problem, and ask questions if you don’t. If there is a solution that you can implement, do so - but if not, find out who can help and reassure the customer that person will do something about it. Finally, follow up to see if unhappy customers’ problem were resolved.

9. Emphasize Economic Benefits

Healthcare costs are rising much higher than inflation, due in large part to the ballooning price of drugs, medical devices, and hospital care, Forbes reported. To stay competitive, hospitals are looking for ways to avoid passing these costs on to their patients. The easiest way to do that? Improve efficiency wherever possible. Whether you’re selling  syringes, defibrillators, or knee implants, bring attention to the ways your products can help reduce costs (long service intervals, bulk pricing, long shelf life, etc.).

10. Never Give up on Offices That Don’t See Reps

If an office or surgeon tells you they don’t see sales reps, it’s ok to cross them off your list - but do it in pencil, not pen. Practitioners and hospital policies are always subject to change, so when an office updates its policy you should make sure you’re the first to know. Give the office a call every time you’re in the area, and send emails every so often to check in, even if you’re not actively selling. That way you’ll stay in the front of their mind, securing first mover advantage if they eventually start seeing reps.

 

 

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Tyler Hubbell

Tyler Hubbell is a content marketing specialist at Repsly. His expertise is in creating useful content related to customer satisfaction and building relationships. Tyler enjoys golfing and reading.

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