If you have strong interpersonal skills and would like to work in the healthcare industry, you might excel as a medical sales representative. These professionals maintain effective, ongoing relationships with physicians and possess extensive knowledge of various medical devices or medications to ensure they provide team members with the most beneficial tools for patients. Learning about what a medical sales professional does and how to become one can help you succeed in this career.
In this article, we explain what medical sales representatives do and provide eight steps with tips for how to ensure success in medical sales.
What does a medical sales representative do?
A medical sales representative, also known as a medical sales device representative, works for pharmacies, medical device companies and healthcare facilities to offer various medications or healthcare tools that effectively meet their patients’ needs. They often serve as the primary point of contact between medical facility leaders and wholesalers or device manufacturers.
These professionals may heavily research new innovative tools and present their benefits and features to healthcare staff. This can include devices like diagnostic equipment, pacemakers or joint implants. Other tasks a medical sales representative may complete can include:
Conducting extensive research on new, innovative healthcare devices, products or medications
Offering product demonstrations and educational presentations to physicians and healthcare leaders
Visiting medical facilities and performing cold calls to inform healthcare facilities of products for sale
Understanding the benefits, features and drawbacks of all products for sale to answer all questions from physicians, nurses and administrators
Filling current orders on existing accounts or placing new ones
Reviewing sales data to find improvement areas and applying them toward upcoming sales tactics
Developing strong relationships with medical facility team members, physicians and administrative staff
How to be successful in medical sales
There are typically many sales representatives in your industry selling similar products. Fortunately, you can implement certain practices to ensure your service stands out from others.
1. Arrive early to work
Many physicians and other healthcare professionals work non-traditional hours according to the needs of the facility and its patients. Consider examining and understanding these hours and arriving when or before the staff members get there.
This can establish your credibility as a hardworking and reliable professional who can arrive with tools and solutions to help the patient when needed. Getting to the facility early can also give you plenty of time to set up and prepare for presentations or product demonstrations.
2. Familiarize yourself with the hospital environment
Before first making an appointment with an administrative, try to visit the hospital, clinic or health care facility on your own. You can walk down the halls, locate different offices and understand the floor plan before seeing clients.
Knowing the layout of the hospital can make you look more confident and prepared. It can also make you feel more comfortable as you speak to professionals, which might increase your chances of completing sales.
3. Understand the products well
When you first receive new products to present, take time to study and examine their features. Since practitioners, physicians and surgeons may use these tools or medications on their patients, they need to know all about their benefits and drawbacks.
After you research the product thoroughly, try to conduct practice presentations or demonstrations to ensure you have answers prepared for common questions professionals might ask. Knowing your products well can build trust among administrators and make them more confident in purchasing from and continuing their business with you.
4. Remain flexible, transparent and responsive
Since you’re regularly attending meetings, conducting calls, and performing presentations, clients may expect it to be challenging to contact you when needed. Try to have your phone turned on or share your schedule with customers throughout the week.
Being available shows clients that you’re available to answer any critical questions or provide them with products as soon as possible. Consider dedicating time throughout the day to answer phone calls or emails to ensure you address all questions or concerns promptly.
5. Keep yourself organized and prepared
There may be several appointments and meetings to attend during your workday. To ensure you follow through with all of these commitments, try to remain organized by building and using a strict daily schedule.
As soon as you make commitments with clients, write these down and place them into a schedule or calendar. You can purchase a physical planner or use a calendar application on your phone. Having a clear schedule increases your chances of arriving at every commitment on time.
6. Emphasize the benefits for patients
When physicians and surgeons review various tools, devices or medications, they’re considering the benefits they provide their patients. They may be more likely to purchase from empathetic salespeople who also care about the interests of patients.
As you present your products, try to focus closely on how they can help patients recover from their medical conditions, reduce their pain or decrease their symptoms. Expressing an interest in patients can build trust with clients.
7. Focus on economic benefits
While healthcare professionals care greatly about the medical benefits of your products, they may also consider them over others if you offer competitive pricing. Many clients typically aim to save costs for their organization as well as for the patients.
Try to focus a portion of your presentation on both short and long-term economic benefits. For instance, you could mention how the knee implants you sell can help each patient avoid significant surgery costs in the future.
8. Measure and review your sales process
Try to take time to review your analytics to ensure you’re selling and presenting products effectively. You can collect a wide variety of data points that tell you the success of your sales efforts compared to how many customers you see each day.
Another option is to measure how well you sell products on cold calls versus in-person visits. Understanding your successes and improvement areas can help you identify which parts of your sales process to fix and which to continue using. This can help you further increase profits, nurture relationships and optimize your time.
Tips for Medical Sales Success
Here are a few additional tips to help you excel as a medical sales representative:
Keep learning. Since medical technology advances rapidly, it’s important to stay knowledgeable about current equipment and professional best practices in the healthcare field. You can continue your education, join a professional organization, read industry publications, and attend conferences to continue learning in the industry.
Become a specialist. Medical sales can be a diverse field, so having a specialty is a great way to narrow your emphasis and find a niche that works for you. Consider your interests in health care and choose a specialty that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about.
Improve your time management. Effective time management is important for medical sales representatives. Being punctual and efficient can help you get to places on time and stay productive throughout the day while having a good sense of time management can ensure you’re respectful of your clients’ time during sales meetings.
Focus on building relationships. Building positive relationships with clients is essential for medical sales representatives. When you have a strong relationship with your clients, you can build loyalty and may have better networking opportunities through those who can attest to the quality of your services and products.