Well, after a month of blogging, I am thoroughly addicted. I hope that you found the information provided here useful. Following the suggestions of friends, peers and readers I have decided to move my blog to www.nonsterile.com Blogger has been a great tool, but I needed the flexibility that WordPress offers.

Please check out the new site and let me know what you think.

Thanks again.


Never Eat Alone

Much of a medical device representative's time is spent entertaining and networking for new contacts. When I was a pharmaceutical representative, there was very little emphasis placed on prospecting. The company provided a list of physicians that I was required to call on and that was it, there was no tab to enter a new doctor. However, in medical device sales, to be successful, you must prospect. The selling cycle for capital equipment can be five years or longer. In other words, once a hospital purchases a particular medical device, it may take up to five years before the hospital will look to replace or upgrade the device. Therefore, you can't expect to rest on your laurels and rely on repeat business.

The Simple Dollar is a blog that I subscribe to and he recently posted a nice review for "Never Eat Alone." This is one of my favorite books. And if you follow Keith's advice, your prospecting chores will be much easier.

For instance, in the book Keith says you should "ping" constantly. This is much easier when all of your contacts are stored in your Palm Treo. Whenever, I am driving between appointments, I scroll through my phone list for a hospital that I haven't called in a while and ask how my medical device is preforming. Usually, there is a problem, which I do my best to fix. But on occasion, everything is just fine, in which case I will ask for permission to place them on my reference list or I will ask for a referral to another hospital. This is key because instead of a cold call, I now have a hot lead.

Never Eat Alone
(via The Simple Dollar)


The patient doctor

I know you have all been eagerly anticipating today's post, so I apologize for the delay. One of the many joys of working as a medical device representative is that I do quite a bit of entertaining. Tonight I was trying out a new restaurant in town with a group of medical directors who are in the process of evaluating the medical device I currently represent. Good times.

Yesterday we discussed how you would tailor your message for a doctor that is only concerned about price. Today we will look at the doctor or medical group that is only concerned with providing the best patient care money can buy. With this group, you just want to keep you message focused around the patient. For instance, I usually have in my message something like:

"Doctor, any medical device worth it's price will be able to eliminate a false positive. However, with my medical device, you will be able to eliminate false negatives. For instance if the medical device says the patient does not have a serious condition, but that they in fact did have the serious condition, then you have not provided the best patient care and you just sent a very sick person home with a clean bill of health."

Other times I will point out the specific features and benefits of my medical device that helps it detect medical conditions that are difficult to detect by my competitors. This assumes that I know my competitors well. In order to sell to a doctor that is focused on patient care, you need to know the competition better than it knows itself. It helps if your company offers you good training; however, it is still up to you as the field representative to gather the information. Use the relationships that you have developed in the office to gather competitive information. At times I have lost a deal with a particular office, but because I have a great relationship with much of the office staff, I was able to get a copy of the competitor's user's manual, training material and marketing brochure. I studied this information and used it to help with my presentation that involved this particular competitor.

Most presentations that you will be involved in will have a little bit of both types of physician. In many cases, the physician will be concerned with both price and patient care. Other times you may present in a group practice where one doctor will only be concerned about price and another will be concerned about the patient. Tailor your message to address both concerns.

Hopefully, I have added a bit of insight for you this week. Please post any suggestions on what I have posted so far or ideas for future post in the comments. Enjoy the weekend.


Cost-conscious Doctor

If you have done your pre-call plan like most medical device representative should. And you know that the doctor or group practice you are about to call on is cost-conscious and will base its purchasing decisions on how much your system costs, then it is important to first get away from cost and then talk about value. I have been fortunate or unfortunate to have represented best-in-class products, which is turn meant that I was usually promoting the most expensive medical device out of the several vendors they were evaluating. I have been successful because I talk about value and about cost savings, but not about the price of my product.

If I am first confronted with "how much does it cost?" I usually respond with something along the lines of: "Let's see if my medical device will be able to solve your needs before we get into price." Normally, I will be allowed to continue with my presentation. I count myself to be fortunate in that I am supported by a great technical support staff and a great customer service team. Because we also have best-in-class service and the shortest turn around time for repairs, my job is much easier. I present the cost of down-time based on the current reimbursement rates and calculate that with only a 3 day turnaround time, by purchasing my device the customer will minimize any lost revenue.

Several sales books that I have read suggest that you dollarize the value. So I also use an excel spreadsheet that takes the cost of the medical device over the average useful life (which is usually five years) amortized the cost over that time. I then take the current rate of reimbursement for the procedure (include both the technical fee and the professional fee) and the costs of the procedure (this may include supplies such as electrodes or the hourly cost of the technician to scan reports) and give the doctor the break-even point. I can do this in the number of years or by the number of procedures. Usually, I will break it down even further and say how many procedures they need to do a month or a week to break even. Usually, the break-even point is much lower than the current workload, so all the procedures after the break-even point is revenue for the practice.

Please post any other suggestions in the comments. If you need help formulating your own spreadsheet, let me know and I'll do my best to help you.


What type of Doctor are you selling?

As I was having dinner with one of my best customers last night(too much wine and the long drive home is the reason I wasn't able to post yesterday), I began to think about the different type of doctors I present to as a medical device representative. I narrowed it down to two different types of doctors and the rest of the posts this week will discuss the ways to best present to the two different types. There maybe other types of physicians that I have missed so please post anything that I am missing in the comments.

The two types that I have identified are the physicians that are concerned about price and the physicians that are concerned about patient care. Sometime you are able to identify what type the doctor is by their purchasing history. If they currently have the lowest end model of your product or the machine that has a reputation of being the cheapest, then it is very likely that this doctor will purchase your product based on the cost. But, if the doctor has your high end system or the system from the market leader then this doctor probably makes purchasing desicions based on the ability to improve patient care.

As a medical device representative, it is your job to figure out which type the physician is and how you are going to tailor your message to sell based on their primary concern. If you can't tell based on their purchasing history then you need to ask some qualifiing questions such as:

  • What do you like about your current medical device?
  • What do you not like about your current medical device?
  • What are the top three features that you require in this type of medical device?
The more questions you ask, the more objections will you be able to uncover and then you will be able to address them during their presentation. If you reveiwed Monday's post and you have developed a relationship with the gatekeeper, they will usually be able to fill you in on whether a doctor or group practice is going to purchase based on price of technology.

Until tomorrow.


The Gatekeeper

One of the very first lessons that I learned as a medical device representative is how to gain access to my target customer. When I started as a Neuroscience Specialty Representative, access was very easy, because most of psychiatrists that I called on did not have a receptionist or a nurse. Usually there was a very nice waiting room full of magazines. I would patiently flip through the magazines until the doctor came out to receive their next patient. Normally, I would be give a few minutes to collect a signature, drop off samples and if I was very lucky I would be able to get a quick detail message in.

However, in most group practices, the first person I see is the "gatekeeper." And as a medical device representative, you will most certainly run into a gatekeeper. This person is usually a receptionist, nurse or office manager. In some cases it will be the medical technician, biomedical personnel or the director of the department.

The most important task is to make the gatekeeper your friend. They are your best ally in the office because they grant you access to the decision makers, they are able to offer insight on the decision making process and sometimes they will share information about your competitors with you.

This advise may sound a bit corny, but it has served me well. Always treat the gatekeeper like they are your best friend that you haven't seen in five years. Treat them to dinner or lunch. Bring them flowers for their birthday. Bring them souvenirs from your vacation. And most of all never show up empty handed. Always have something to offer, even if the only thing you have are the pens and sticky pads from your company. Follow this advice and not only will have access to everything that happens in the office, you will also develop a pool of friends that will be more than happy to provide you with references for later use.

All the best.


The most important sales tool of all

Finally, we come to the most important tool that a medical device or pharmaceutical representative will have. And it's the vehicle. Most if not all major pharmaceutical companies will provide you with a company car, which you are required to use. It will most likely be your average fleet or rental car. Many medical device companies will simply offer you an auto allowance and mileage for the use of your own vehicle. The latter option is the one I prefer for several reasons, but the main one being that I am able to choose whatever type of vehicle I prefer.

The choice of vehicle is important because it is where you start and end every face-to-face call. It is important that I walk into the meeting feeling relaxed and focused. I personally drive a European sports coupe with all the extras. I spend a large part of my day in my car so I picked out the car that I was must happy with and it turns out that I am most happy in a two seater sports car with a standard transmission. Would I recommend this car to every medical device representative? No, with only two seats, I have no room to carry anyone else because they would have to sit on my desk. Also having to juggle holding my coffee cup, speak on the cell phone and handle gear changes is not always fun. But on those long drive through the mountains, I can really let loose and when I reach my destination, I'll have a big grin on my face.

I have been fortunate in my career and I am able to afford another vehicle. I made sure this one is much more practical, so I purchased an SUV. As a medical device representative you will entertain a great deal, so if I know that I'll be hosting lunch (either by catering to the office, or chauffeuring them to the restaurant) then I 'll drive the SUV for the extra space. Otherwise it's the two seater for better gas mileage.

No matter what vehicle your drive, do yourself a favor and purchase a car desk. There a couple of varieties out there, so just find one that will fit your budget. The car desk will give you a sturdy place to enter you call notes, instead of having to juggle your laptop on the steering wheel. And with all your office supplies and files stored in one place, you can easily remove the whole desk off the seat and into your trunk and you won't have the rep car look for happy hour.

I hope this week has been fun and informative for all of you. It certainly was a blast for me. Go make it a wonderful weekend.

For more information on the Car Desk click the link below:

Auto Exec Mobile Office Work Station


Finding your way

Another great tool that has made my job easier to do is a satellite GPS navigation system. I personally use the Tom-Tom navigator for, you guessed it, Palm Treo. I am sure any of the other GPS systems will work well to. All you have to do is enter in an address and no more U-turns and pulling over to look at the Thomson's Guide again. A GPS saves you time and gas money and with gas averaging over $3.00 a gallon, the saving can really add up.

Most medical device and pharmaceutical sales organizations will not provide a GPS or a company car with built in GPS, so you will have to purchase one yourself. It is well worth it and one of the best investments you will make. The added benefit for me has been the reduction in stress. Being able to find offices faster has increased my call average and let's face it, sales is a game of averages.

I use the Tom-Tom for Palm version for a few different reasons:

  • It installs directly on my Palm Treo, so this eliminates the need to carry a separate device
  • If I am calling on offices in a large metropolis and I can use the the Tom-Tom while I am walking.
  • Tom-Tom is able to start navigating directly from my contacts list, so I don't even have to type in the destination. I just point and click and Tom-Tom takes me to my next destination.
  • I can program in way points and optimize the route.
This is a great tool and once you have used it, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

For more information on the Tom-Tom click the link below:

TomTom Navigator 6 USA


Simplify expense reports

Today's medical device representative's gadget is a real life saver. Before I purchased NeatReceipts, I dreaded the end of month expense report hassle. Many medical device and pharmaceutical representatives that I know are frequently several weeks, if not several months behind in submitting their expense reports. This is usually no big deal, but if your employer takes two weeks to reimburse you, then you are floating a free loan to the company. Which could lead to high interest rates on your credit card or overdraft fees from your bank. So needless to say it is important to submit your expense reports on time.

NeatReceipts comes with a small scanner that will fit in most briefcases, so I take the scanner everywhere with me. Once you scan your receipt into the program, NeatReceipts will pull the date, dollar amount, expense type and name of the account into the program. The OCR is fairly accurate and out of 10 receipts, I may only have to correct one. If your employer uses an Excel spreadsheet for its expense reports then your can export directly from NeatReceipts into Excel, so completing your expense report is only a click away. Otherwise, it is just a matter of cutting and pasting into your expense program.

Additionally, the NeatReceipts program is also able to scan business cards. This eliminates the need to have a separate business card scanner. The program also allows you to export the data field (name, address, phone, fax, email, etc.) into a variety of programs, but most importantly you can export the cards into Outlook. Which you can then sync into your Palm Treo.

So bottom line, use NeatRecepits to save yourself time and money by submitting your expense reports on time. I have also heard that medical device and pharmaceutical representatives who are habitually late in submitting their expense reports are sometimes passed up for promotions. The reason behind this is that a representative who demonstrates a poor history of administrative responsibilities may also develop a future of poor managerial responsibility. So this another reason to submit your expense reports on time.

Good luck (and it's May 2nd, your expense report is already a day late!)

For more information on NeatReceipts click on the link below:

NeatReceipts Scanalizer Professional 2.5 Mobile Scanner


The Laptop and Business Contact Manager

Another tool that you will need to use often is your laptop. I use an IBM ThinkPad T-series because it has the best keyboard feel of any other laptop that I have used. As a medical device or pharmaceutical representative you are usually assigned a laptop (and usually not an IBM), I purchase my own ThinkPad and ask our IT department to load any proprietary software on it.

I purchase my own laptop because I spend almost as much time on my laptop as I do on my cell phone. I have used Dell's, Gateway's, Sony's, Toshiba's and Compaq's. Replying to emails and preparing PowerPoint presentations for extended periods gives me keyboard fatigue and I have to frequently take a break from typing. With the ThinkPad's keyboard, I can type all day long. Additionally, they have very good battery life and I am usually able to continue using my laptop on coast-to-coast red-eye's.

If you do a lot of number crunching when preparing proposals then I suggest getting a USB mouse and USB keypad just for entering numbers.

Another useful tool is mobile broadband from Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile or Cingular. Since most medical device representatives spend the majority of their time on the road, being able to access the company Intranet is crucial. At the very least sign up for a hot-spot account from T-Mobile or Wayport. In a pinch, you can attach a Palm Treo to your laptop and use it as a wireless modem. There have been a couple of occasions when being able to download the latest updates for presentation has closed the deal.

Regardless of what laptop you end up with. I recommend installing a separate Contact Relationship Manager. I use Business Contact Manager for Outlook because it will sync up my notes with my Palm Treo and I am able to brush up on some call history before I enter a meeting without having to boot up the laptop. In addition, when you schedule a meeting in Outlook, you can link to the Business Contact Manager and half of your call note is completed.

Additionally, most CRM's that are assigned to you when you join a medical device company is usually 1970's technology. I one that I am currently using doesn't even have a field to enter in a contact's email. I will admit that sometimes you will have to double enter in all your call notes, but in the long run it will make you more productive. Also in the event that you leave your current employer and join another medical device company you will be able to have a copy of all your hard work and be able to hit the ground running because you still have all your call notes from your own personal contact manager.

Click on the links below for more information about Thinkpads and Microsoft's Business Contact Manager:

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 2623

Outlook with Business Contact Manager


Medical Sales Personal Technology

This week, I thought we would do something fun for both people looking to get into the medical device sales and representatives that have done this for years. Personal technology is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was when I first started as a Pharmaceutical representative many years ago.

Today, I'll start with one of the most important tools of the trade, something that I use more than another other tool covered this week. It is of course the cell phone, but not just any cell phone a Palm Treo. I personally use a Palm Treo 750v, and I recommend this phone for several reasons.

  • First as a PDA and a phone, I just eliminated having to carry two separate devices and eliminated the need to enter in data twice. I used to carry a PDA for my calendar and all the contact information for all the hospitals, clinics and clinical research organizations that I would cover. I would also enter in all the phone numbers into my cell phone, but unfortunately, my phone would only allow 100 phone numbers and an eight character name limit, so instead of Mercy General Hospital, I had something like MERCYGNL. Now with the Treo, I have over 2000 contacts and I only have to enter them once and I am able to dial directly from the contact menu.
  • Second, this phone has Bluetooth, which is indispensable when I'm a call while driving. Not only do I use Bluetooth for my headset, but many new cars now have Bluetooth speakerphones which also comes in handy.
  • Third, you are also able to use Microsoft's Exchange Server to send and receive email. This is very similar to a Blackberry, but I prefer the Microsoft version because, I am able to sync everything with my Outlook on my laptop computer.
  • Fourth, with the Voice Command feature, I am able to "ask" my phone when my next appointment it, dial a contact. It will also "tell" the caller ID and read the subject line of my emails. All this without having to touch more than one button or look down at the phone when I'm driving.
  • Finally, I am able to connect to the internet and browse websites when I am waiting for a flight and don't want to pull out my laptop.
No matter what phone you get, a must have feature is Bluetooth. It will not only allow you to connect a wireless headset, but with the proper equipment and software you can sync your contacts with your computer even if you don't have a PDA phone.

For more detail on the Palm Treo 750 click on the link below:

Cingular Treo 750 Cellular Phone by Palm


The Mock Detail

You may be asked to prepare a mock detail for your second round of interviews. This is more common during a Pharmaceutical Sales interview than for a sales position as a Medical Device Representative. If you perform well if your first interview (and you should, since you read this blog), the hiring manager will usually send you a copy of the detail piece, which is basically a glossy marketing piece with a list of features and benefits and supporting facts on efficacy and side effects or improvements in quality of life.

Study this piece and be able to recall any of the information in the detail piece without having to look at it. Most interviewers will tell you that you do not need to memorize the detail piece, but I recommend that you do it because it will show your dedication and your detail will flow much more smoothly. Usually the detail piece will be several pages long, so I suggest that you ask confirmation questions at natural breaks, like before you turn the page or after a very important point. Be sure to ask an engaging, open-ended question, not a yes or no question. For instance ask the doctor, "Can you tell me about a time when you had a patient that presented with the same symptoms, how did you treat the patient and what was the outcome?"

At the end of the mock detail, be sure to close the doctor. If you have asked for confirmation along the way, then you can ask for the business in this way. "Doctor, you have agreed that when a patient presents with the following symptoms Product X is the most efficacious with the fewest side effects. Is there anything else that would prevent you from prescribing Product X first line for your future patients?"

I know this sounds a bit like used-car salesperson, but it is important be aggressive when you are role-playing. In real life, you use whatever works and I'll elaborate more on real-life situations later.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Be a STAR during the interview

Almost every interview you will encounter in the Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Sales process will involve a variation on the STAR format. STAR is short for:

  • S - Situation or
  • T - Task
  • A - Action you took
  • R - Results
Interviewers will request that you answer all questions in this format. Don't stress about it, just be yourself and tell your story. An example of a common question is "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What was the situation, how did you handle it and what was the outcome?" Be ready with five or six good stories that you can bring up to share with your interviewer. Another common question is "Tell me about a time when you did not agree with your business partner. What was the situation, how did you handle it and what was the outcome?"

Medical Device sales interviews are usually not very technical. It is mostly a behavioral interview and hiring managers are looking for the "right" personality. So it is important to come across as being very personable. Have a great smile and be able to talk about a variety of subjects such as your hobbies. For instance, I love restoring vintage European sports cars and I make sure that I bring it up in every interview I have been it. I do it for a couple of reasons, first because many of my interviews are male and many guys have an unhealthy obsession with the automobile. So the chances are high that he and I will share this common interest and be able to share some great stores. Secondly, it shows that I have other interests and able to quickly develop relationships.

More on the interview process tomorrow.


No Experience Necessary

Hopefully my blog on the medical device industry has interested some of you to want to explore the possibility of becoming a Medical Device Representative. It may seem that the industry is closed off to those that do not have any experience selling medical devices; however, I am here to ease your concerns.

As I stated in earlier posts, the market is starting to heat up and at any given time there are just so many experienced medical device reps out there so it seems that recruiters and hiring managers are just looking for warm bodies. Earlier in the year when the job market was soft, most recruiters and hiring managers were looking to fill positions with representatives that had experience selling a medical device in the same specialty. For instance, if you were a representative currently selling a non-invasive diagnostic device and did not have any operating room experience, it was very difficult become a surgical representative. Not even Pharmaceutical Representatives were about to break into medical device sales. Later in the year around late February or early March, I started to receive a few calls for experienced medical device reps, but the prospective candidate did not need to have experience the operating room to sell surgical supplies.

The good news for those who are looking to break into the industry is that all the openings that I am hearing about need no prior medical device sales experience is necessary. Still it would be to your benefit if you have some sales experience. One of my acquaintances who currently works as an EMT and nuclear testing technician was interviewing for a sales position with an Event Monitoring company. The hiring manager really liked my friend's background and experience, but was not hired because he did not have any sales experience. The hiring manager suggested that he go and work at the Gap for a couple of months to gain some sales experience and try applying again.

This is just one of several similar stories that I have heard. So if you are a Pharmaceutical Representative, you will be able to quickly transition into Medical Device Sales. If you are currently working as a medical technician, get a part-time job at a retail store to gain some sales experience. The key is to learn how a sale progresses. You should try gaining experience generating leads, demonstrating the features and benefits of a product, up selling, closing the sale and dealing with any returns. Also, the skills that you will develop in dealing with difficult customers and learning to deal with quota pressure will be invaluable. You will also learn skills that you just can't learn in a classroom or from a book, such as learning to be flexible, budgeting your time and above all, developing your sales personality. Additionally always keep your antenna up. By this I mean when you are selling another pair of khakis, try to learn more about your customer. I heard from another hiring manager that he once hired a salesperson from Nordstrom because that salesperson took the time to develop a relationship with the hiring manager and learned of an up coming hiring fair. That Nordstrom salesperson attended the hiring fair and interviewed the same hiring manager and was hired into a cardiac specialty position.

If you currently work in sales in another industry, such as banking, software or technology then try to learn as much as you can about the medical device industry - learn the vocabulary, find out who the key players are and stay tuned to this channel to learn more about what to expect in the Pharmaceutical/Medical Device Sales interview.

Best of luck.


Discovering Unpublished Opportunities

My apologies for the delay in posting. My computer crashed and it has taken me almost a week to put together another computer and re-install everything. So goes the life of a traveling medical device representative.

I received an additional four calls this week from recruiters looking for medical device representatives, so the market is definitely hot again. I'm not sure how I landed on the list of prospective medical device representatives; however, I hear from many of my colleagues that they too seem to be on some list and are constantly fielding calls from recruiters.

On today's post I wanted to share some ways of discovering openings. The easy way is to wait for recruiters to call you with an existing opportunity, but you are also competing with other device representatives. I would start with people that you already know, such as friends and family and ask if they know any pharmaceutical or medical device representatives. Existing representatives hear about opening all the time, either in their own companies or with competing firms. They all receive tons of calls from recruiters and they may pass on a good opportunity for you or refer you to a good recruiter. Representatives are usually more than happy to refer you to an opening because in many cases they receive monetary compensation if you are eventually hired.

Also think about asking your doctor or your child's doctor. Heck ask any doctor. In one day they may see over 20 pharmaceutical or medical device representatives. Ask if they might be able to introduce you to a representative. Know anyone who works as a hospital technician or medical biller? They should be able to introduce you to someone who works in the industry.

Other sources include the obvious job sites, but check out following:

These jobs sites are targeted toward professionals in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. If you know of other sites please post them in the comments section.

Next time I will talk a little bit about how to present yourself as a prospective medical device representative if you have little or no experience in the medical device industry.

All the best.


Market on the way up

After receiving the fifth call by a recruiter since Thursday afternoon, I think it is safe to say that the market for medical device representatives is hot again. After the first of the year, I heard from several recruiters that I have worked with and fellow medical device representatives that the job market was very soft. I also noticed the slow down because I would normally receive a minimum of three to four calls a month from recruiters looking for an experienced medical device representative or specialty pharmaceutical representative, but the phones were quite until a couple of weeks ago.

For those that are looking to get into the industry, there is some good news. All of the calls that I received were looking for representatives that want to transition into medical device sales. All of the openings were for expansion territories, which means that business is good for the manufactures of medical devices and they are expanding their business by shrinking territories and adding representatives. My past experience has been that with expansion territories they are looking for sales representatives that have prior territory management skills, but not necessarily a background in medical devices sales. And so far this has been the case. In two of the openings, the hired medical device representative would be paired with an experienced representative for the first year and the following year you will be on your own.

So in light of these circumstances, I am going to shift gears a bit and start blogging about how to get into the medical device industry. Tomorrow, I'll talk about how to find the opportunities and then I'll share some insight on the interview process.

Good Hunting.


Day in the life of a medical device representative

Well it was just one of those weeks. I fully intended to post more information on sales training pharmaceutical style, but Monday morning started with a call from an existing account that was having problems with their medical device recorder. After trying to troubleshoot the problem myself over the phone and not getting anywhere, I contacted tech support and conferenced everyone in. Three hours later and the device is still not functional, so I put on a comfortable suit and made the two hour drive to the hospital to physically see the problem. After another couple of hours in front of the medical device and on the phone with corporate, we decided that the recorder was defective and needed to be sent back to the factory for service.

Tuesday was not much better. A deal that I was working on for another major hospital that involved several different medical devices was starting to go south, so the rest of the day involved calling some key allies at the hospital and setting up a meeting with C-level people for the next day. After an all day meeting on Tuesday, we were not closer to closing the deal and I realized that I need reinforcements, so I called in the calvary. Brought in the Field Service Representative, National Sales Manager and Network Engineer for another all day meeting on Thursday. That meeting couldn't have been worse as some of the people at the meeting ended up in a verbal altercation.

So all day today was spent patching bruised egos and trying desperately to save the deal. But at 7pm tonight, I left the hospital with Purchase Order in hand.

For those who are new to world of medical devices representative, this is not a typical week. However, for those who currently work as a medical device representative you are all too familiar with this situation and realize that this is not something new. If you are looking to pursue a career in medical devices this is just one of many challenges that you will face. No two weeks are ever the same. Some are quite slow where you are making phone calls and leaving messages. Other weeks you might have five demos setup. But one thing is always the same, at the end of the month, or end of the quarter you will be looking for that one last deal to try and close.

Enjoy the weekend.


How I got started

So I thought I would share a bit of my background. I was recruited right out of Business School by one of the Top 5 pharmaceutical companies to work as a neuroscience specialist. I later learned that this was a very rare move by the company, because most reps are hired into a Primary Care Position and are later promoted into a specialty position. I trained at home for a couple of weeks before heading to corporate headquarters for a month-long sales training course.

In my first year I was able to bring my territory from the bottom 25% into the top 25%. My territory was also consistently at the top of the district. After my second year, I meet a district manager from another Top 5 pharmaceutical company while shopping for a new suit. He mentioned that they were interviewing the following week and asked if I would be available. I was and two weeks later, I had an offer to become a cardiology specialist.

Have a wonderful weekend. On Monday I will try to elaborate on my training at the first pharmaceutical company.


Welcome to Non Sterile

Hello World. Well, I didn't start out wanting to create a blog. I thought blogging was what my teenage nieces and nephews did when they didn't want to study for their finals. What I was really looking for was an equivalent to www.pharmrep.com for medical device representatives. I have represented both pharmaceutical and medical device companies and realized that the skills needed to sell pharmaceuticals is very different than selling medical devices. In the simplist sense a pharma rep is a detailer. At the end of the call there is no purchase order and no tangible way of knowing that a job was well done. In medical, we are always looking to close the deal.

Additionally, traditional sales books don't seem to have enough relevance for the medical world. The tips these books offer don't always apply to a more sophisticated client. I would argue that medical technicians, hospital administrators and doctors are some of the most intelligent people you will ever sell to. These individuals don't want to buy from a used car salesperson. And to my knowledge no one has written about how to adjust the sales approach for this demographic.

So after searching for a medical device association and coming up empty, I decided to start this blog and share my experiences. Hopefully you will find it beneficial in your professional lives. In addition I hope that you will contribute and share your knowledge from the field to help me grow as well.

Safe travels.