Medical sales is a challenging and potential lucrative career path. It requires persistence, grit, and a desire to grind through the difficult days. High performing reps know how to get the job done. It comes down to a few simple principles that are in many ways intuitive, but sometimes elusive to master. The Medical Sales Authority has put together a list of ten practical medical device sales rep tips.
How Do I Become A Better Medical Device Sales Rep?
Sales requires many soft skills. This means reps need to self reflect and look for areas to grow. Also, sales plays out in a variable environment that requires being adaptable. Unlike some jobs, reps will not have someone standing by their side everyday telling them how to get better. Therefore, it can be helpful to take a step back and focus on the basics. Regardless, of the product you sell or the specialty you cover these ten medical device sales rep tips and principles are crucial to sales success.
1. Do Not Job Hop
The idea of a new job is exciting. The grass is always greener, right? Some reps are always on the phone with recruiters to see if there is something easier, better paying, or just plain more intriguing available. Every rep has this urge to some extent. When bogged down in the day to day of a job you have done for awhile, things get dull. The minutiae and tedious daily administrative tasks can take a toll. The reality is these things will be part of any job.
Please do not be that rep that is updating their LinkedIn profile every six months with a new role. If not done right, in the long run it will hinder your career growth. There is a way to effectively move around. First off, it requires being in jobs two to three years. In addition, it requires a long term strategy. Are you trying to get a specific type of experience? Is there a way you are trying to develop or certain skill you are looking to learn? Rarely, does it make sense to take a new job just for pure novelty.
2. Build The Habit of Regular Prospecting
Prospecting is a habit. Most young and inexperienced reps do not get a choice. Entry level roles require a lot of cold calling. After getting through a couple years, most experienced reps do not want to go back. Cold calling is really not that bad, it is all about making it a habit. If you do it regularly and integrate it into your day to day, it will pay long term dividends. Do not overlook prospecting just because you have significant market share or have been in a territory for awhile. It should be a consistent part of any medical sales job.
3. Save & Organize Customer Contact Information
Sales is something that takes a long term mindset. You never know who you will run into again in the future. Treat every customer and every relationship like it is important. Make sure to file away and save customer phone numbers and email addresses. You never know when you may need to call in a favor. It can take a long time to build up a contact list with the cell phone numbers and personal contact information for all the key physicians in your territory. Make sure to value this information and back it up properly.
4. Be Confident & Assertive
Sales is all about perception. You need to present yourself in a confident manner. This does not mean being the obnoxious over the top dominant rep. It means you need to know what you want to accomplish on each sales call, and execute. Be clear on who you are, what company you represent, and what you are after. Be respectful, but know when to push back on a customer. This takes repetition and experience. No one wants to interact with an awkward and uncomfortable sales rep. You need to be friendly, approachable, and assertive.
5. Follow Through
This sounds so simple. You would be surprised how many sales professionals let things slip through the cracks. Maybe it is an email from a small account that you do not know the answer to. Maybe it is a question that really should have been directed to someone else. Regardless, you need to acknowledge all correspondence. This connects back to treating every customer like they are important. Make sure to always respond promptly. This includes setting a professional out of office message when you are on vacation or traveling. Your voicemail and email inbox should not appear like a blackhole.
6. Rehearse Common Sales Objections
You will have to deal with objections from customers and prospects on a regular basis. Typically, it is the same type of feedback. It may be a reason they use a competitor’s product, it may be a preferred feature, or some type of service capability. Regardless, have a prepared, polished answer. Be able to communicate and get across exactly what you want to. This requires practice. If there is ever a customer interaction that goes poorly make sure to take notes and track down answers afterwards. It is okay if this happens once. But you need to learn from the interaction and be ready to go the next time around.
7. Understand The Specialty You Call On
Customers care about specifics. Calling on surgeons is very different from calling on Endocrinology or Primary Care. Nothing is more annoying than a rep that speaks vaguely and only uses generic corporate buzzwords. Understand the medical specialty you call on. Understand it well! How does your customer spend their day? What are their pain points? What are their workflow challenges? Many physicians rely on reps to give input as to what other physicians are doing, whether for a specific procedure or use of a product. They appreciate the perspective reps bring. Reps see more cases and product utilization that anyone. Be able to bring value and perspective to your customers based on this experience.
8. Consider Your Professional Reputation
Again, success in sales comes in the long run. It is never worth it to cut corners to get a desired outcome in the short run. Demonstrate integrity and know that poor behavior will catch up with you. Sometimes you will lose a deal, a customer, or an account. This does not mean you need to burn a bridge. Some reps get caught up in the moment and do whatever it takes to salvage the opportunity. Don’t do this.
9. Consistently Develop Weaknesses
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is being self aware enough to understand your weaknesses. It could be anything. Do you forget to respond to emails sometimes? Do you get defensive when being challenged? Do you not push back and challenge customers enough? Do you not get the most out of your companies internal resources? Regardless, you need to reflect on these types of things. Whether it is a technical or soft skill, improvements can be made. The best reps are the ones that consistently look for ways to get better. This includes networking and taking advantage of professional development opportunities.
Related: Medical Device Sales Process
10. Be Adaptable
A medical device sales rep has to be able to handle novel situations. Sales in general is a very dynamic profession. Medical device sales is a whole another level. Hospitals and clinics are a chaotic environment. Many customer interactions will take place in a patient care setting. This is not a time to be rigid and inflexible. You need to be able to make adjustments and adapt to the situation.
The level of novelty will vary based on the type of role. Surgical sales is very different from selling imaging equipment. When selling to Radiology, the sales process is more predictable and formal. When selling directly to a physician in the OR or the Emergency Department it is an entirely different story.
What Makes A Good Medical Device Sales Rep?
The medical device sales rep tips here are fundamental principles that are applicable to any medical sales role. These are things that can be mastered and improved on over time. The important thing is to always be learning and developing. Look around at your organization. What do your peers do that make them effective? Are there things they do that you could implement? At the end of the day you need to be yourself and find your own sales style that works.