As a healthcare salesperson, the threat of losing customers is always there, simmering below the surface. You want to give customers everything they need to make the most of your product, but you also know that we have entered a world where manufacturers and hospitals will make the move that resembles less-reps if given the chance.
The Traditional Approach to Medical Device Sales
For example, you need to finish the year, quarter, etc., reasonably close to your sales targets. In striving for this goal, you wind up providing product demonstrations for customers, nurturing new targets via phone and email correspondence, and using some sort of software system to target physicians in your area.
- Being on time
- Being prepared
- Being informed about the finer details of a surgery
- Always having all products needed
- Being “Johnny on-the-spot” during the case
While these qualities may have cut it in the past, in 2018 they are considered the bare minimum requirements of the job. (I train and work with healthcare companies of all shapes and sizes. You’d be amazed when I ask what value they bring to their customers and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “I’m on time. I’m prepared. I have all of my implants. Etc.…”) If you can’t offer more than the 5 simple things above, you may as well pack it up and find another job.
How Can You Differentiate Yourself?
The reality of today (and the future) is that hospitals and manufacturers are looking at cost-effective alternatives to the direct sales rep model. If you want to avoid becoming a victim of the rep-less sales model, you may want to try the following:
- Identify the most critical services each customer wants. It’s not good enough to be the salesperson who the office likes or is just “good” in surgery.
- After working with the same customer for a some length of time, you should know what it is they value. Is it an ability to call you with any questions they might have? Great, then keep yourself available.
- Or is it the fact that you offer them affordable product solutions to issues they did not even know they could solve? Even better. That means you are listening intently to their problems and staying on top of product development in the industry.
- Bottom Line: the M.O. should be to find nuances in the customer relationship that competitors don’t notice, and exploit that.
- Look for a unique service you can provide that customers cannot live without. How can you show your value beyond the traditional model? It all depends on the needs of the customer and the insight you have in the industry. It also means looking outside the traditional purview of a salesperson and offering solutions to other operational issues.
How To Offer REAL Value to a Customer: Patient Outreach
Patients are the lifeblood of any physician practice. (And I don’t care if their practice has been purchased by the hospital. They NEED patients to survive. That will never change.)
An engaged salesperson should realize patient outreach for the physician, hospital, clinic, etc., is in the best interest of everyone involved. If the salesperson can influence where patients go, it means they enjoy significant influence in their region and can offer their customers unique value that no other salesperson can. (And quite frankly, this is what keeps the lights on.)
If you’d like to talk more about not becoming a victim of the Rep-Less Sales Model or how to truly deliver value to your healthcare customer, check out what we do at blog.prosellus.com .