Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Some keys for success selling medical devices in the (OR)

Selling anything can be difficult enough but selling medical devices used in the operating room can be brutal.  The easy part is often learning the anatomy and the procedural data.  It gets tricky trying to find your place in this vast ecosystem without a GPS and actually applying what you have learned in training.  I have compiled a collection of proven tactics that have helped numerous sales reps stand out in the crowd.

 

10. Be prepared for some “push back” about your company, product(s), the last sales rep and any other random objection you might hear from surgeon or staff.  Wear your emotional bullet proof vest to work.

 

9. Make application easy.  Surgeons won’t use it if they don’t know how and or it is perceived as too difficult.  It is also critical that you know the case and are able to articulate both the how and the why for product usage and placement.

  • Have the residents apply it…they can teach the surgeons and remind them
  • Teach the scrub technicians and they will intern remind and guide the surgeons
  • Discuss application tips before the case in (OR) lounge or at the scrub sink

8.  Get your product on surgeon preference cards (product is in room on every case)

 

7.  Be prepared to have difficult conversations.  With many devices, you are not always in the room when they use it so you often have no idea as to whether they are using your product when you are not around.  Prospects will tell you all kinds of stories about how much they use and often etc…

 

6.  Work the night shift occasionally (especially in the beginning)

  • 1-2 times per week
  • Establish credibility with staff and surgeons
  • Differentiate yourself from other reps

5.  Be in surgery

  • 15 cases per week - minimum
  • Overachieve on effort from the start

4.  Genuine interest in people.  Average reps make a memorable first impression. Great reps usually do that, but they always wear well over time. Why? Their concern for customers is real, and it goes deeper than one case.  Surgeons come to value the sales person as much and sometimes more than the device itself.

 

3.  Context is King.  You must find your advocates ASAP.  Who is using your product? Why? On what cases?  How long have they been a user?  Which hospitals do they operate and on which days? Which hospitals have it stocked? Do I have access?  Access is a major issue right now for most reps so the quicker you can find out where you have challenges the better for you.  

  • Ask your Advocates for assistance (critical for success)
  • Will they introduce you to others at their group, at the hospital and in your territory?

2.  Take things personally. Average reps have a job. Great reps are passionate about their positions and it borders on an obsession. They eat, sleep, and drink conversations about their territory, that case, next week, this month, that new doc, this new study etc... They never sell enough, never know enough, and never work hard enough. They can always do more and will never be out worked. They don’t see rejection and internal resistance as a roadblock but rather a challenge.

 

1.   Stay active.  Stay focused on building your brand continuously (what makes you different), and your pipeline.  Be in a hospital everyday by at least 7am.  Eat breakfast in the hospital cafeteria.  You may run into (OR) staff and “that prospect” who you have been unable to meet.

  • Let everyone know about your solution and why it is different and how it improves patient outcomes
  • Introduce yourself to surgeons if you can in between cases, in their offices, (OR) lounge or anywhere else in the hospital

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Tags: medical device sales

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Comment by Devin Hughes on March 9, 2011 at 9:58am
the subtleties of the job make it so exciting and so challenging at times.  Little things make a huge difference as you point out. 
Comment by Linda Hertz on March 9, 2011 at 9:48am

Hey this is a GREAT comprehensive piece....thanks Devin...I use to eat lunch in the cafeteria as a Rep. and when I was a District Manager with a Rep.  In fact, I use to park myself there in the morning for an Office morning on a Friday vs. sitting in my home office...AMAZING the doctors and nurses that would sit down and talk to me and I got so many legit sales call (my trusty sales bag and literature was always in the chair next to me!).

 

GREAT article and a must read for Sales Reps., Division Managers and Sales Trainers! THANK YOU!

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