My Medical Device Sales Career
My wife and I used to be big fans of “The X Files” TV show. One of the main characters had a poster above his desk that was captioned: “The truth is out there…” For those of us in sales, the truth IS out there… and we need to know how to find it.
Have you considered that you are engaged in a search for the truth? Every day we navigate through a minefield of deception. Customers, competitors and colleagues – all can be sources of misdirection, wrong opinions or outright lies. In sales, when we miss the truth it costs us money. Believe it or not, we can even mislead ourselves if we don’t find and follow the truth.
OK… what is the truth in sales? It’s the numbers. In the end, the cold hard numbers shine the light of truth and enable us to navigate successfully through all the murky clouds of misinformation that can throw us off course.
Got a physician that says “sure, I’m going to be using your drug from now on…”? Check the numbers to verify. That’s an easy one, right?
The more challenging situations are when you have created a sales plan and now you are implementing it. Of course you believe you have chosen the correct strategy and tactics but have you validated them through the numbers? The only way to know with certainty that a given course of action is paying off is to watch the numbers. They will tell you the truth and confirm that your plan is working, working well or not working at all.
This is also where stack rankings can be of benefit. How do your numbers compare to others? Are you leading the way or somewhere further down the list? If you’re down the list then you need to reevaluate what is and is not working. You must be honest with yourself and determine what must change. Well, only if you really want to be successful, that is.
We can become so dogmatic in our beliefs that our strategies and tactics are the right ones that we can lead ourselves astray. We need an objective source to reference to prevent this from happening. Ever disagreed with your company’s direction or your manager’s feedback? Think you’re right? Check the numbers. If you’re out of line then you better fix it fast and get yourself in line with the direction that’s been provided. On the other hand, if you’re leading the way perhaps you should polish your acceptance speech for the big promotion that’s coming your way. Every company is looking for people who can chart the course to success! The numbers will have the final say one way or the other.
The numbers will also tell you the truth in the market place. For instance, which is the leader – your product or your competition’s? The market tells us which one is the preferred product. It’s reflected in the numbers. If it’s not your product then perhaps you need to change your sales message, product positioning or otherwise address the deficiencies that hold your product back.
This week, before sales calls and other sales activities, check the numbers. Be in a constant state of evaluating what you hear and what you think versus what you see reflected in the numbers. Be willing and ready to adjust as necessary – as the numbers dictate. Good hunting!
By Kevin Onarecker