Partnership in 2 Minutes

Shaking Hands

I realize that there are recruiters out there who waste people’s time. Nevertheless, when I contact someone I don’t know and they say: “Sounds good, send me the information”. I don’t do that. I’m not going to send information on a job with all the specifics (and I do work hard to have the specifics) when I don’t know the candidate. We live in a connected world and it’s far too easy to do an end-run around a recruiter and either apply online (bad idea 99.99% of the time) or talk to someone you know that works there who will pass along the resume. Instead, I say, “I have the details and will give them to you but I need two minutes of your time.” And I’ll literally take two minutes of their time.

Rarely does the conversation just run two minutes, but I do stop and take a pulse check to make sure we’re tracking and if not the candidate is back on track with the rest of their day. If it’s interesting to them, then they get the details. They can still do an end-run around me, of course, but hopefully we’ve got something established, like trust and they know and believe I can help them get this position should they decide they’re in. That’s called partnership. And it works.

Always Be Ready

You’ve probably heard of ABC (Always Be Closing) but have you heard of ABR (Always Be Ready)?

Recently someone in a field sales organization told me that there will be a call later that day that will mean big company changes within their organization. No one knows what it means.  It could mean layoffs. People are scared. They knew it was not good news. My advice in this situation is fairly simple:

  • If you have a company phone, ensure all your contacts in your phone are backed up somewhere else that you can get them.
  • Immediately print off all your sales reports and save them.
  • Pull anything and everything out of your company email that you want to save.
  • If there's training, processes or anything valuable that you want to keep and apply at a new employer GET. IT. NOW.

No matter how long you’ve been there, there are things of value you’ve learned. Make sure those travel with you wherever you go. (Disclaimer: If things are not labeled confidential or for company use only, of course.)   🙂  Run this question through your mind: “If I am laid off on this call and they cut me out of all systems, “Do I have everything I need and want — both to help me get my next job and make me successful in my next job?” Come to think of it, that’s a useful exercise even if you’re not awaiting a scary company-wide conference call.

From Pharma to Medical Devices

A topic of ongoing discussion in medical device hiring circles continues to be pharmaceutical reps transitioning into medical devices. When I started in the device industry in 1998, I was told that most pharmaceutical reps. were not built for device sales. Since then, I’ve been a part of transitioning many pharmaceutical reps. into devices, and met amazing people along the way (who went on to win awards). 

However, a perception persists that is built from some or all of the following objections:  

  • pharmaceutical reps. don’t actually sell – they detail and aren’t good at asking for the business, 
  • they don’t want to (or can’t) work the hours that device reps put in, 
  • they aren’t trained in sales basics like business-to-business (B2B) reps are in terms of prospecting, qualifying targets, closing, 
  • they aren’t driven/motivated like device reps. are to succeed and 
  • their sales results have a three month lag so they aren’t used to making real time adjustments to their work. 

For those of you that have either hired a pharmaceutical rep. that became successful or made the transition yourself from pharmaceutical sales to device, what did it take and why do you believe you made a successful transition/hire? 

Passion vs. Experience

Sometimes a very experienced medical device sales rep. is up against a relatively inexperienced rep. for a job they both want.

 

In what scenario does the experienced sales rep. lose? 

 

The main one, in my experience, is when the seasoned rep. appears to be tire-kicking. A laid back, casual attitude, conveying an impression that they are just sniffing around the opportunity versus someone sitting there ready to run through walls can be the difference maker in the interview.

 

If you have done your research and decided you want the job, show the interviewer what it looks like when you really want something no matter how experienced or accomplished you are. Resting on past awards, relationships, experience creates vulnerability.

Reverse Engineering Your Medical Device Career

Medical professional sitting at desk

I was talking to a friend and hiring manager recently and he observed that more and more medical device jobs have become “hybrid” jobs wherein the physician’s office/clinic is extremely important, in some cases as important or even more important than the Operating Room (OR), depending on the specialty. That makes it very difficult for coverage reps. that have only sold in the OR-covered cases to compete for these new types of positions as they evolve. 

 

You know what? This tracks with a trend I’ve seen more and more where reps. that are strictly “case coverage” reps., highly clinical, very sound in orthopedic or spine surgery, but lacking essential sales skills are leaving medical, going to Business-to-Business (B2B) jobs, getting training, gaining those skills and coming back, ready to interview and take on different roles beyond what some entry level orthopedic and spine jobs may be able to teach them. Almost “reverse engineering” their medical careers. This used to be taboo. 

 

Years ago, leaving the medical device industry meant that it was nearly impossible to get back in. But with a tight labor market getting tighter all the time, exceptions are being made. And after rounding out their experience and skill set, these candidates are ready to go.