When asking the typical medical device sales person about the positive (fun part) and negative (“ugh” part) of their role. Almost always prospecting or cold calling is in the negative part.
If you have ever performed this activity it can be “dreadful” to be sure. Especially if your company or manager has not provided the proper tools, or coaching, for you to achieve a high level of positive result from this activity. So, the questions are; “How does a good medical device sales consultant prepare for this activity?” or even before that “Why do I need to do this? I have a great territory a terrific medical technology and I am at or above my number!”
The Why Question
Let’s start with the why question first. Now this may seem pain fully obvious. Everyone in a sales meeting will discuss how they approach prospecting, coupled with a great deal of cheerleading and pumping the team up. However, day to day when one is all by themselves in their territory it can be dreadful to get out of the nice warm car, or pick up that telephone and call that new account. One has to get out of their comfort zone… and approach and talk to someone (who is very busy) and interrupt their day.
What if they don’t like me? What if they hate my company or technology? They might yell at me! They might hang up the phone! Yep, all possibilities, and this is why a significant percentage of new medical device sales people fail. They are simply not prepared for what it might take to perform this critical activity! So they simply do not prospect, or at best provide a token effort.
As you read through the great deal of material available and/or use CRMs or other systems out there, they each have a common theme for prospecting or new account development. This is a crucial activity for all of us. Yes ALL of us, I can hear many of the Med Tech Sales Managers out there saying , “I am beyond that”… um no not really as it is important as a sales manager that you are grooming your own prospects too… sorry chief.. you can’t dodge that one! I personally find that I often have to lecture myself on not prospecting enough it is easy to do, yet there is no activity more important to you personally and your company! So let’s think about how to prepare yourself and your customer for what is about to happen.
The How Question
There is no doubt that prospecting isn’t easy. There are many layers of defense that our future clients have. Gate keepers, voice-mail, email, in some industries vendor credentialing, yes it is tough. However there are several simple yet critical techniques that can raise your success rate and make it rewarding and perhaps even fun (ok less dreadful).
The point here is the more a medical device sales person (or manager) dedicates themselves to the concept of prospecting the more likely they will be to not just succeed, but will more than likely blow there number away. This takes mental toughness and dedication, with a healthy dose of preparation.
Yes, it is hard work there is no doubt. One can read about various systems and techniques. They are like diet books your book store, library and on line retailers are loaded with them. At the end of the day it is work! Work you need to plan for and prepare for. It is however worth it. Believe it or not… it’s your customers that will thank you as you just made their life better!
Tom is a 35 year veteran in the Med Tech space. Having personally worked with dozens of new technologies. It is Tom's passion to enhance patient outcome by bringing new concepts and technologies that will help clinical performance.