My Medical Device Sales Career
My dad spent years in sales and sales management. When I was contemplating Sales as a profession he gave me some good advice: “Always give them a reason to want to see you.”
Recently I was speaking with a Sales Pro who was completing his career. He had been selling longer than I have been alive – and I’m north of 29... He said his biggest challenge, and one that was increasing, was access to his accounts. He was no longer able to see his clients as readily as he had before. I’ve seen this firsthand and I’m willing to bet you have, too.
As hard as it is to gain access to our customers it makes sense to reinforce to them that time spent with us is valuable and productive. Also, we want to create a positive expectation for the next time so that future meetings are facilitated.
While the notion of a positive customer experience may seem elemental, I have witnessed many sales calls that were uncomfortable and unproductive. How do we avoid those meetings and endear ourselves to our customers? We meet their needs professionally, we cultivate a good relationship and we follow up in a timely manner.
In meeting their business needs we must first understand their business. We also must know the needs of their business and any personal goals and objectives they have related to their business. When was the last time you asked about your customer’s initiatives? Do you know how your customer’s job performance is assessed? Do you know what they are personally trying to achieve in their role? If so, good! If not, you know what you need to do, right? It goes beyond just features and benefits.
Think about the word cultivate. It suggests thought, planning and action. Many times sales people allow relationships to develop as a byproduct of the time they spend with their clients. There is not necessarily much effort or thought that goes into it. As a result, the relationship can develop slowly. On the other hand, you can choose to carefully cultivate relationships with your customers. You can assess what they respond to and build rapport accordingly. When you do, you’ll separate yourself from the crowd.
Lastly, we follow up in a timely manner. You know what shocks me? I have asked important decision makers at large hospitals as well as those at hospital systems about service expectations. You know what they say, almost to a person? They just want people to call them back and respond to emails. That’s it! They want their representatives to complete what they agreed to do without having to be nagged to do it. The folks I speak with are busy and have deadlines. Some sales professionals help them meet the goals and deadlines and others do not. You would think this would be a no brainer, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s an opportunity. If you and I just follow up and respond to our customers according to their expectations they’ll love us for it. They’ll think we’re the cream of the crop and they’ll do business as a result.
As you move forward, if you meet their needs professionally, cultivate good relationships and follow up in a timely manner you’ll set yourself apart from the crowd and you’ll increase your business. Good luck and good hunting!
By Kevin Onarecker