My Medical Device Sales Career
There is an old adage that says “All things being equal, friends buy from friends. All things being not so equal, friends still buy from friends.” Despite all the changes in sales techniques and principles from yesteryear to now, the concept of good relationships with your customers is never out of style.
Earlier this week I was involved in a call where the customer began discussing the importance of relationships and how they impacted her purchasing decisions. She said there were a few sales people who called on her who were so obnoxious that she refused to purchase from them even though she needed their product and was pressured by her upper management to purchase the product. When she called the company to complain to the sales manager, he took the same approach as his sales person did. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree, huh?
Nearly a year later, another sales representative had replaced the previous one and he landed a sale worth approximately $280,000! The purchase had nothing to do with the attributes of the product but it had everything to do with the demeanor and professionalism of the sale person. In this case there were a few hundred thousand reasons to be reasonably good at building rapport and relationships with customers, wouldn’t you say?
Lest we think this is an isolated incident, I routinely meet with decision makers who are looking to replace the products of a given company or a given sales representative because they cannot stand to do business with them anymore.
We all know the importance of building professional rapport and relationships. Does this mean we simply have to play nice and we win the business? Well, no. There is a little more to it.
Professional rapport and relationships are built on a foundation of good manners and courtesy. Knowledge comes into play, too, because our customers need us to provide them timely and meaningful information. Service before, during and after the sale are keys as well. Lastly, genuine interest in our customers and their success with our products is essential. We’re in the people business, after all.
Now I know I’m not telling anyone anything that is a revelation. We all know these things are important – right? Then why are these elements missing from many within our profession? I have had purchasing professionals and other decision makers tell me routinely they cannot get their representatives to even return a simple email or a phone call. Wow! Can you imagine how impressed they would be with the person who did all that AND possessed all the other traits and abilities required to build strong, professional relationships?
Do you want to move to the top of the heap? Do you want to set yourself apart from your competition? I guarantee that by building professional rapport and relationships you will be well on your way.
By Kevin Onarecker