Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

18 Ways to Shine During the Sales Field Visit

 

If you are interviewing for a Medical Sales Position you are very aware of the number of steps in the interview process with most companies. Typically somewhere after the 2nd interview you will be asked to travel in the field with one of the hiring companies recognized Sales Stars (a Field Sales Trainer or minimally, a sales representative that will show you a good productive day in the field).

 

 

Many of you may feel that this is a day that is all about you; deciding if you like the job and getting an opportunity to find out about what it is really like working for the company. Afterall, you are going to be with a kindred soul, a sales warrior just like you that must slay the dragons each day to EXCEED quota (remember “meeting quota” is a dirty phrase in the world of medical sales)! Certainly you can let your hair down a bit and ask a few questions you would never ask the hiring manager, in fact you might just tell the Star Sales Person how you really feel about that wretched, low down boss of yours and why you want to quit! Right?

 

While you are at it, you may try to find out a little dirt on the hiring manager of the new company that sent you out on the field ride, right? Wow, you found out they were divorced and you are really feeling this Star Sales Person is becoming your personal friend and confidant; by the end of the day you decide to tell them how terrible your divorce was and that it led to your current bankruptcy and drinking problem! Afterall, this is the “Field Visit”, a time to get friendly! Right? ….Wrong! There are 18 ways to shine in the Field Visit and we have them listed for you!


It seems foolish, but actually all of these things have happened over the years when I was a hiring manager putting Sales Candidates out in the field with a selected and valued Sales Representative; the Field Visit is a critical step in the interview process and most good managers make very good use of that time. It is the longest period of time during the interview process where you are exposed to a company employee. Company’s know that most people can pull off a structured hour interview; it is another story pulling off an 8 to 10 hour exposure in the sales field when often a candidate let’s their defenses down!

 

Your host, the Star Sales Person, is there to observe you in various customer and business settings including getting to know you and your personality. They know the sales team and they are trying to see if you would be a fit for the team and the hiring manager. They are often instructed to call their manager immediately following your field visit for their feedback. The Hiring Manager has often briefed them on areas he would like observed and sometimes questions he would like them to ask you blended in the mix of your casual conversations! How do I know this? I did it myself over my 15 years of medical sales management and when I was the Star Sales Person carting potential new hires around in my car!

 

So here is a quick check list that will help you look your professional best, but also help you maximize the Field Visit to answer your own questions about “the real” job.

  1. Obtain the name and contact information (phone and e-mail) of the person you are traveling with; call them directly before the visit to reconfirm, it is also nice to send them an e-mail or text that you are looking forward to the visit and ask if there is any preparation you can specifically do in advance before the visit.
  2. Write a list of questions (tactfully constructed) that you would like to ask and bring it with you on the Field Ride as a reference. Learn HOW to ask the Questions to put present yourself in the best possible light!
  3. Do get a good nights sleep the night before, you need to look and be your best for the whole day the next day.
  4. Arrive 15 minutes early at the designated area
  5. Always wear full business attire, unless otherwise instructed
  6. THIS IS CRITICAL; inform your host first thing in the morning that you will be taking notes throughout the day on the customers (make sure you jot down or make note of customer names and what transpired on the call and your general observations). Make sure they understand you are not critiquing them! You will need these notes when the manager asks you later what customers you saw and your observations.
  7. Table manners, yes they are being observed! If your company entertains clients (as most still do within HIPPA guidelines) eating is still a key customer function. I have known Job Candidates who thought their food was “finger licking good” at the Field Visit lunch and no bones about it, they did not get asked to attend the final interview!
  8. This is not a time to use any, and I mean “any”, four letter words in conversation. If your host wants to swear, let them, just don’t join in.
  9. This is a time to observe the host selling the product line and the selling approach they use (again, never use these observations to critique your host, you are not the Sales Trainer!).
  10. Ask for Product literature or any other non-confidential information they can let you have, it may come in handy for a possible role play during the final interview! Ask the host what the key selling features of the product line is; advantages and disadvantages and how you overcome objections specific to each product(s).
  11. Do thank your host at the end of the day and ask if he will support your advancement in the interview process (do you have their vote to go forward?).
  12. Ask for their business card and the opportunity to call them if you should have any questions as you proceed in the interview process (they can become your lifeline if you are asked to do a product presentation or role play).
  13. Do try to limit your cell phone use to answering only critical customer calls for your current employer if you must.
  14. Turn your phone to vibrate only during the day and answer only when needed, you are the guest and your host has put probably a good deal of effort in planning a full day for you to observe them in the field.
  15. Do send a follow up e-mail thank you to your host ASAP, preferably that evening and no later than the next morning.
  16. Do send a follow up e-mail thank you to the Hiring Manager ASAP thanking him for the opportunity and your interest level in the position and a request for the next step in the process.
  17. Do print off all e-mails BEFORE you send to make sure there are no typos or other errors. Do indicate your interest and your desire to attain the next step in the process. Please see my updated 2012 Blog on Thank You Notes..don't wait to print off!  All Thank You Note Related Blogs found here (scroll down once in link).
  18. Do vary your thank you message to each party, they often will share your e-mails with each other and a “cut and paste” identical e-mail thank you will certainly devalue your message and is rather embarrassing!

The Field Visit is a critical part of the interview process for you AND the employer! Make sure you prepare for that important day and be in a position to be moved forward to the final interview phase. The interview is never over when you are within earshot or view of your Sales Star Host. So, beware of the “Field Visit”; you can be friendly but on your best behavior!

©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved

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