Have you ever wondered why some healthcare sales reps consistently out-perform their peer’s year in and year out? We think they exhibit twelve (12) key characteristics. Last week in this blog we reviewed the first seven (7): accountability, process orientation, bias for action, experts at time management, buyer personas, customer intimacy and lose early. This week in Part 2 we will focus on the last five (5): strategize & collaborate, craftsmen, always prepared, ask good questions and empathy.
Here are the last five (5) characteristics that the “best healthcare sales reps”exhibit:
8. Strategize & Collaborate– The best healthcare sales reps devise a specific sales strategy to manage large complex selling situations and then they update it regularly. They also ask for and use company resources vigilantly. They don’t need to be the lone ranger in the sale but they do need to win. Collaboration is a key weapon in their selling arsenal. They harness company resources when it’s needed and they are very proactive in doing so. As a result they often get a disproportionate share of the company resources. They also discuss their strategy proactively with their manager. They seek and want input. Winning is so important to them; they leave no stone unturned.
9. Craftsmen– Top healthcare sales reps are students that never stop learning. They invest in their career and they are relentless in their pursuit of sales skill development, product knowledge and business acumen. They will always accept training in any fashion. They may not embrace it if they don’t think it will help them, but they will not fight getting it. They are always looking for a way to get better. They leverage every learning opportunity to give themselves the advantage. Most top healthcare sales reps are using social media to their advantage. They join LinkedIn groups to be exposed to new ways of thinking and new information that can be pushed to them. This saves them time and increases their knowledge base and network.
10. Always Prepared– High performers meticulously plan for every stakeholder contact. They leave nothing to chance. They conduct industry and customer research. They strategize and then carefully plan the questions they will ask and the information they will provide during every sales call. They think carefully about the commitment they want from the stake-holder at the end of the sales call. They understand that each sales call is different and can shift quickly during the encounter but they “visualize success” and its nuances during their preparation. They rarely get surprised. If other company personnel are going to be with them on the call they ensure that everyone is equally prepared and that the call is choreographed so that everyone looks professional in front of the customer. They know that a sales call is a live performance and they prepare accordingly.
11. Ask Good Questions– Telling is not selling. The best healthcare sales reps always ask the best questions and then listen attentively. The best questions are those that get the stake-holder to pause and think for a moment before answering and often when they start it begins with a statement. “That’s a great question or I have to think about my response for a minute-you’re really making me think.” These types of thoughtful questions generate a deeper level of customer insight because the sales rep took the time to carefully craft them. The best sales reps also ask enough questions to ensure they understand the problem that each stake-holder currently has and wants to fix; what problem they want to avoid or how they can help them capitalize on an identified opportunity through one of their products, services or solutions. This is done carefully, meticulously and thoroughly before they begin to connect their product, service or solution.
12. Empathy– The only constant today in healthcare is change. Much of it is not very palatable to the stake-holders. It’s causing fear and uncertainty amongst many. The best healthcare sales reps show empathy when it is needed. They show that they “feel” what the stake-holder is feeling and they make each stake-holder feel respected. They know that relationships matter and that anyone can get a sale. What’s important is to own the account by providing good products and services at a fair price and on time; and by developing good relationships based on trust, mutual respect and results.
Becoming the best is not easy. It takes hard work, perseverance and dedication. Best in class healthcare sales reps make their number year after year and are amongst the top in their organization repeatedly. They are “consistent” in their performance!
If you are a top healthcare sales rep stay focused to stay ahead. If you’re not yet a top sales rep- develop these characteristics to get there.