Cold calling is part of any b2b sales job. Whether you love it or hate it there is usually no way to escape this part of the job. In some roles prospecting is more crucial to success than others. But in any sales role you will find yourself calling on a potential client that you do not know. To be successful developing business through prospecting in medical sales it takes determination, grit, consistency, and the ability to handle rejection. In this article, we cover all aspects of medical sales cold calling, looking at the key strategies for success.
Cold Calling Medical Sales
In my opinion is optimal to get a lot of prospecting experience early in your career. My first role in the medical sales space was a grind. In hindsight, I feel like all I did was cold call. I was in the car by 8am every morning and did not stop making calls until about 430pm. This is crazy to think about now!
While this type of activity didn’t make me big dollars at this stage of my career, it helped establish excellent habits. It showed me the extreme end of what some sales job can entail. The repetition of doing this day in and out for three years was extremely helpful. I learned how to breeze in and out of the different departments at a hospital. I learned how to call on the same people again and again without being annoying. I got to try different opening lines and find my own sales style. There is really no shortcut to getting this type of experience.
I carried over these habits when I left my first job for a role with a big device company. My previous sales experience and work ethic were immediately clear to my new coworkers. They respected my background and this provided me a level of credibility. In other words, I earned my way in the world of sales through consistency and hard work.
Cold Calling In Sales
In general, successful cold calling requires a long term mindset. It take time in medical device sales to build up a successful territory. This does happen in one day, one week, one month, or even one year. In most types of positions it take years to build a high performing territory. Successful prospecting is only one part of this. With this in mind, it is important to keep your eyes on the big picture. Cold calling is not a one and done type of activity. You will be back calling on the same customer again. Focus on the process and soak in the successes. This is the best way to stay grounded and effective while prospecting.
Types Of Prospecting Medical Device Sales
The style and type of prospecting depends on the role. Do you represent implants for orthopedics cases or are you selling imaging equipment to administration in radiology? There is a big different when cold calling on administration versus physicians. Some jobs require mostly physician touches. You will have to show up in the OR in person to track down your potential customers. With this type of sale, the first step is to track down the doctor. The second step is being to catch them for a minute to have a discussion.
B2B Cold Calling
Here is the basic structure of a prospecting call:
- First, stop by with your card and literature. At this time get the name of the department manager and other decision makers.
- Second, get some time with the department manager. Give him or her a 30 second overview. Then ask if you can set up a meeting with the providers to go through the technology.
- Third, meet with the physicians to review the product.
It may take many additional calls and touches to get through these steps. But this is the basic idea. It is pretty straightforward when you break it down. It is really about persistence and repetition. If you already know the name of the physician you would like to meet with, you can skip the first few steps. Or sometimes it is easiest to just go into the department and ask for the medical director. It all depends on the individual facility and department.
Related: What Does A Medical Sales Rep Do?
Best Cold Calling Open Lines
- Can I interrupt you for a minute?
- Can I have a minute of your time?
- My name is “John Smith” and I am the local representative for XYZ.
B2B Cold Calling Best Practices
- Have an elevator pitch ready to go.
- Have a purpose. What do you want out of the encounter?
- Always ask for a business card or contact information to follow up.
- Take good notes so you can remember the discussion.
- Speak clearly and be assertive, but not aggressive.
- Have literature ready to leave behind.
- Respect the time of the prospective customer.
- Be quick and to the point, at least initially.
- Ask good qualifying questions.
- Smile and be upbeat.
- Always have an idea about the next step.
For additional prospecting wisdom, check out these seven tips from Salesintel. I thought these insights were highly relevant and realistic. Unfortunately, a lot of the other cold calling advice online provides generic feedback like be confident and leave irresistible voicemail messages. I am not a huge fan of these types of recommendations.
B2B Cold Calling In Person
In medical device sales, I prefer cold calling in person. I simply find it to be more effective. Early in my career I had one of those old school managers, that was big on the phone calls. Don’t get we wrong, I do spend a lot of time on the phone. Though, this is usually with current customers or engaged potential prospects. Not just leaving voicemail after voicemail that will never get returned.
I prefer to use in-person visits followed with emails. I stop by and get the contact information for a physician or department manager if they are not available to speak. Then I will shoot them over a follow up message. If I do not hear back, I will follow up in person a couple of weeks later. If they are not available to meet, then I will send another email. This process on repeat is relatively effective. It may take four or five touches, but I eventually get the meeting. In my opinion, leaving voicemail after voicemail does little good.
Medical Device Cold Calling Techniques Reddit
- Appear as if you have a good reason to be there.
- Do extensive research on the physician and the practice.
- Email the doctor directly or use LinkedIn.
- Outside sales reps should focus on just getting out there and knocking on as many doors as possible, creating quality engagements. This typically can’t be done on the phone.
- Keep it simple. “Hey, (receptionist name), it’s “Bob Sales Rep”; is Dr. Smith in? I was trying to catch him for a minute.