Archives for June 2019

The most important relationship a successful medical device rep can have…

What’s the most valuable relationship you can have as a medical device rep?

If the first thing that comes to mind is the “good ol’ boy” surgeon you’ve been great friends with who uses your products you may want to go ahead and dust off your resume. I have a friend who comedically refers to the reps who rely on these relationships as the “back slappers,” and quite honestly, I laughed out loud the first time I heard that.

You’re a dying breed…
When working in this complex business you are routinely bombarded with phone calls, emails and text messages from different stakeholders who can influence your business. At best many reps in this business are running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Not running their business but being run by their business. I’m sure you can relate; I’ve been there too.
So, if the business is significantly complex, with many moving parts and stakeholders who are constantly asking for your time, how in the world are you ever supposed to excel?
The relationships that matter

Relationships that matter

As a salesperson you more than likely have more relationships than the “Average Joe.” From your physician customer to the person you give a high-five in sterile processing, everyone of these people can influence your business. How do you spend the right time with the right people?
Physicians are fickle. Scrub-tech’s change jobs. Nursing staff rotates, evolves and changes. Employee’s of physicians can revolve like the door at a Marriott. Hospital administrators are somewhat stable, but how realistic is it for you to create a meaningful relationship with one of those folks, unless it’s outside of work?
Given these stakeholders, where do you turn for the relationships that can help your business grow, not for a month, quarter or fiscal year, but for a decade?
It’s not with who or what you think…

Being in 5 places at once

How many places can you physically be at once? 2 eyes, 2 ears, 1 mouth… etc. You can only accomplish so many things when you’re solo; even when you have a team, I’d still prefer more eyes, more ears, more assets… period.
The idea of being in 5 places at once is quite attractive, right? I mean, what if you knew what was going on in every bit of your territory whether you were there or not? This can be achieved a few different ways, but rarely is it consistent and you are constantly “massaging” new participants to feed you information. And that gets old…fast.
But viewed through a different lens, what if your customers, more importantly your access to your customers was all the leverage you needed to be 5 places at once?

Medical device reps can play gatekeeper better than anyone

The reality of being a med device rep is this: you have access to physicians and surgeons that the typical healthcare rep does not. Plain and simple.
Why not use this to your advantage and make loyal allies of other reps who depend on that access?

The most valuable relationships you can have: Pharmaceutical Reps

In all the years I worked in medical device sales, the one constant thing I saw was pharma reps begging, borrowing and stealing any opportunity they could to get in front of surgeons. Many of these times I was sitting next to the doc in his/her office while the pharma rep regurgitated their company line and the doc half-heartedly listened to them.
These reps don’t have near the access you do but depend on seeing these physicians just like you and I do. So, what if you can help influence getting the pharma rep time with your doc? Don’t you think they’d be appreciative?
One of the ways I’ve utilized pharma reps in the past was to leverage that influence. For example, when working with a group of specialists, let’s say 4-6 docs; I’ve invited them to dinner, and they all come. The pharm rep would chop off an extremity to have 2 hours of facetime with these docs which would almost never happen.
I’ve worked with these reps, because in many cases, they have a budget for these sorts of things, where I never did. It was quite simple, they paid for dinner, they got access and the docs listened to them because 1) they weren’t in their office and 2) they were with me.
Voila… a relationship has been created and that rep will bend over backwards to help you. All you need to do is continue to feed that rep access. Maybe it’s with that same group or a different group of physicians. They will become your loyal eyes and ears around town, and no one will be the wiser!
These reps will then feed you information about any doc they cover. They’ll even introduce you to their counterpart reps to help them as well. Suddenly you have multiple eyes and ears!

Pharma isn’t the only solution

Pharma reps aren’t the only solution when it comes to extended relationships that can help you. Many DME, PT Clinics, etc have marketing reps who beg, borrow and steal for opportunities to get in front of physicians. Make them your own personal army!
Everyone has something to gain in these situations. The extended rep gets the access they want, you are seen as a dealmaker, your doc respects the fact you can get these things done and you all win.
So, when the next time you see a rep in the hall or in the doc’s office, maybe it’s time to start conversations on how you can work together…

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