Our readers frequently ask about the ideal medical device sales personality. There is not an optimal personality. Many different types of people find ways to be successful in medical sales. It comes down to leveraging your strengths and developing your weaknesses. If you are a good listener use this to your advantage, if you are tough negotiator than lean into this.
What Makes A Good Medical Sales Person?
There are core characteristics that are universally beneficial in the industry. These are not necessarily fixed traits, but skillsets that can be honed and developed. In this article we cover the psychology of medical device sales. What are the things that make the best sales reps successful?
What Are The Main Qualities A Medical Representative Should Have?
Lets be clear. Arrogance is not confidence. Please do not be one of those reps that walks around with their chest puffed out. No one likes an ego maniac. This does not impress anyone. Confidence is more subtle. It is someone who is comfortable in their abilities. It is someone who may not have all the answers, but can learn and develop over time.
Most people think the optimal sales reps is the extroverted, confident type. This can work. But some of the best sales rep are more humble than arrogant. They respect their customers and want to add value. The ask good questions and try to understand their customer’s needs. According to Arkay Career Services the top b2b salespeople score highly on both modesty and humility.
Related: What Doctors Want From Sales Reps?
Discipline is so important for an outside B2B sales role. Sales reps typically work from home and are responsible for structuring their own days. There is no one watching to give feedback and guidance. A rep has to decide each and everyday to get their work done. They have to build habits and organizational skills that are conducive to success in the industry. It is hard to teach someone this type of discipline. A reps needs innately conscientious with a strong sense of responsibility and reliability.
Sales reps have to persistence. This seems obvious at face value. It is surprising how many reps get easily frustrated. It is easy to be persistence with things are working. But it becomes all to easy to get discouraged when things go sideways. Maybe you have an upset customer, or lose a deal. A high performing sales rep is able to handle emotional disappointment. This requires an innate sense of optimism even in difficult times.
5. Long Term Perspective
Sales is one of those things in which cumulative activities day in and day out lead to success in the long term. This is something hard to get us to. There are days in which you go out and work hard and feel like there is nothing to show for it. You have to be patient. Sales territories are grown over years. You never know when a prospect will call you back. If you put in the groundwork it will pay off over time. High performing reps do not let a bad day or week get them down.
6. Adaptable And Flexible
Sales is unpredictable. Sometimes I get my most important customer calls when I least expect it. Regardless, I have to put on my A game and get the job done. Also, everyday is a little bit different. Sometimes a customer meeting or product evaluation can go sideways. The ideal medical device sales personality can demonstrate an ability to go with the flow and be a problem solver in challenging situations.
7. Efficiency Focused
There are endless ways to waste time in outside sales. An optimal medical device sales personality is efficiency focused. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? High performing reps do not work just to work. They make sure their time is spent on high impact activities. Everyone has to complete administrative tasks sometimes. The key is to be self aware of which activities are critical to sales success. Have you ever heard the expression “sales solve everything”?
8. Coachable & Willing To Learn
This is something hiring managers always look at. Someone who is coachable offers a lot more upside. They are more likely to take feedback and absorb new information. Make sure to demonstrate this skill during the interview process.
Ambition is great. But medical device sales will offer the highest of highs and lowest of lows. The key is staying grounded throughout all of this. If you focus too much on the wins then you will be devastated when the tides of fortune turn. It is helpful to keep a process oriented mindset. If you do the right things day in and day out you will be successful. It can be difficult to create separation from the outcomes, but it is necessary to maintain a balanced state of mind.
10. Ability To Handle Rejection
We covered this in many other articles. Every aspect of medical device sales requires handling rejection well. This starts during the interview process. You will have to face many instances of rejection just to get your initial shot in the industry. Once you get your first job, prospecting and cold calling is the name of the game. This requires maintaining a sense of positivity while getting your teeth kicked in day in and day out.
11. A Good Coach
A sales rep has to regularly educate and coach. This is a simple way to add value to customer interactions. This requires being a clear communicator. Also, this requires an ability to grasp complex information. A sales rep does not have to be an expert. They do need to translate information in a way that is understandable and helpful.