There are more than 6,500 medical device companies in the United States. That means there are a lot of people selling medical devices and vying for the attention of medical professionals. Of course, these are very busy people, and they’re just as likely to make purchasing decisions based upon their own online research as they are the recommendation of a salesperson. With all this working against them, it’s no wonder that only the most prepared salesperson will succeed.
So how do you prepare? Here are our top eight keys to be a successful medical device sales rep. These also apply if you are selling a software platform or any healthcare product or solution.
1. Know Your Customer
Knowing your customer doesn’t mean simply gathering up a list of prospects’ names, numbers, and email addresses—that’s rarely effective. As mentioned, physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare prospects are extremely busy and have little patience for—to put it bluntly—BS.
So, before a single call is placed or an email is sent, find out everything you can: what their day-to-day schedule consists of, their pain points and struggles, and how the product can make their life easier. Armed with this knowledge, you can approach your prospect with the goal of solving a problem, positioning the device in a way that resonates with prospects immediately.
2. Know Your Market
When it comes to being successful in medical device sales, knowing the customer is not enough. You also need to understand the broader market, including your competition.
- Is your product completely unique?
- Is your product going to revolutionize the industry?
- If it’s not a disruptor, what makes your medical device better than others on the market? Is it quality, price, or some new bells and whistles?
Of course, this information should already be at your fingertips as it should be part of your positioning statement, which is created long before sales are initiated.
3. Know the Organizational Chart
You know who you’re targeting—but do you understand the organization’s purchasing process? Knowing how to sell medical devices to doctors is a lot different than selling medical devices to hospitals. If you’re going after a small practice, you may only need to speak with a single decision maker. However, if you’re going after a hospital or a network of them, you’ll be dealing with buying agents or an entire purchasing department—and a lot more red tape.
So, before heading out, do your homework by mapping out your target’s purchasing hierarchy to identify each player in the process. It may take some research, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
4. Know Your Customers’ Patients
While it’s crucial that you understand your customer, it’s also important to understand their patients (assuming your product is ultimately intended to benefit them). You should be prepared to discuss, in brief, how your product can ensure patients receive more effective and efficient care. If you can benefit patients through medical innovation, you’ll ultimately benefit the medical professionals involved.
5. Build Trust
Trust is vital in any sales process, but even more so when you’re selling medical devices, equipment, or pharmaceuticals. After all, your customers are putting more than their practice in your hands—they’re risking other people’s health or even lives.
One way to build trust is to be prepared with educational material and testimonials demonstrating how your product has helped both caregivers and their patients, as well as having a buttoned-up, informational website (all of this may require the help of a marketing team, which we’ll cover in another blog, so be sure to subscribe). Another way to begin building trust it by listening—which leads us to #6 below.
6. Listen to Your Customer
One of the biggest mistakes a salesperson can make is doing all the talking. How often have you received a call from a salesperson and all they do is rattle off the features of their new product without ever addressing why you should care? That’s why many of the best salespeople listen more than they speak.
This is especially true in medical device and healthcare sales. After all, a major goal should be to develop a relationship with the customer, and by learning about their professional goals, you’ll be better able to provide what they need and become a long-term resource who they refer to colleagues.
If trying to get a prospect to open up proves difficult, you can always fall back on umbrella questions. These are open-ended questions designed to get more than a “yes” or “no” response. Umbrella questions could be:
- What are some of the challenges you’re facing?
- Can you share a specific example?
- What is something you’d like to be able to do more efficiently?
These questions allow the prospect to bring up the problem, so that you can tell them how you can fix it—versus you telling them both the problem and the solution.
7. Schedule Next Steps
Unless it’s obvious that the prospect is not interested or just not a fit for your medical device or service, you should always create next steps before you walk out the door or sign off of Zoom. Often, this means a follow-up call or appointment; without it, you may find it difficult to secure that next meeting.
By getting on your customers’ calendar right then and there, you can avoid the hassle of trying to book a follow-up later on, usually with a go-between such as an administrative assistant, who may watch over those schedules like a hawk.
8. Learn From “No” and Adapt
Even the best salesperson can’t close every deal, and the medical device industry is more difficult than most due to the amount of competition. Being successful in medical device sales means being able to accept some failure; of course, you also also need to be able to learn from it. Rejection offers some of the most important lessons—you just need to identify what went wrong, or what the specific objection was that you couldn’t overcome. Then, adapt your behaviors or your pitch using some of the techniques discussed in this very blog.
Improve Your Medical Device Sales with Diberin Solutions
It almost goes without saying that trying to make a deal in the dynamic, ever-evolving, customer-driven yet patient-centric healthcare industry is very challenging! Of course, it can also be very profitable; with the worldwide medical device industry projected to reach an eye-opening $595 billion by 2024, companies that are able to succeed in their sales effort have the opportunity to reap the rewards (not to mention, change lives).
By following these eight techniques, you or your salespeople will have the necessary keys to be a successful medical device sales rep, securing more appointments and deals. Still need a little help? Contact us at Diberin Solutions. Our goal is not to tell you how to sell medical devices, but to help with marketing and consultancy so that you can reach your full potential—and the customers who can completely change the trajectory of your business!