Eliminating the Number One Reason Why You Can’t Get Past the Gatekeeper
Yes, you’ve heard me say it before…the biggest challenge that six figure medical sales rep wannabes tell me they have is getting in to see the doctor. Or the department head. Or anyone. Is getting past the gatekeeper a challenge for you? Why is this? It’s likely because you act like a salesperson—a stereotypical just-like-every-other-rep-who-walks-through-the-door salesperson. You might think you’re different, but if the gatekeeper doesn’t think so, you’re not getting in. Besides, it’s her job to keep salespeople out and that means you!
The receptionist’s job is pretty easy when it comes to screening salespeople. If it walks, talks, or even smells (cologne or perfume applied with a power-sprayer!) like a salesperson, her job is to tell them no. Why?
Think about the salespeople that call or visit you…how do you feel when they interrupt your day? Did you wake up this morning and think, “What a beautiful day! I sure hope someone comes by and tries to sell me something. Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping…”
Now look a little deeper and try to understand why you’re spring-loaded to say “No thank you, I’m not interested” whenever a salesperson contacts you. It’s because you’re NOT interested. You’re thinking about things that are important to you, not important to the salesperson. The salesperson hopes his product or service is important to you, but it’s the furthest thing from your mind so you take immediate action to terminate the interruption. And yet, you approach your customers the same way and expect to get different results?
I live in Florida. For as long as I can remember, I would get multiple calls each year from various salespeople trying to sell me hurricane shutters, usually in winter when it’s not hurricane season. Someone is interrupting my day in the hope that I will plunk down thousands of dollars for something that isn’t even remotely on my radar screen. Every call sounded the same, “This is Sally from XYZ Hurricane Shutters. I’m calling to see if you would like to get a free estimate for hurricane shutters.” Sure Sally, come on over. I’m lonely and I’ve got nothing better to do than spend an hour with you so you can tell me all about something I never think about, don’t care about, and don’t have time for. No thank you. No thank you. No thank you.
Then, in 2004 and 2005, my house was hit by three hurricanes, Frances, Jean, and Wilma. These ladies did a lot of damage. Fortunately, I got by without hurricane shutters, but I sure wish I had them. Had a window or door been violated, I could have lost my house, maybe my life. But no one talked about protecting my home or my life when they called. They just talked about selling me hurricane shutters. Had a salesperson approached me with a clear value proposition that suggested reducing my risk or saving money on my homeowners insurance, I would have been more open to learning more about their hurricane shutters; but no one did.
If you’re reading this blog, I assume your customers are in the business of healthcare. I can assure you that almost none of them are hoping that someone comes in and tries to sell them a product similar to yours. I can also assure you that they’re concerned about making money, saving money, and reducing risk. If you can help them to do any of these things and you frame it properly by making it all about them and their patients instead of what you have in your sample case, you’re going to find prospects willing to have a conversation with you. You’re also going to find gatekeepers who will help you to get in front of the boss, provided they understand why the boss will be interested, and they believe that opening the gate for you will make them look good to the boss.
Medical sales isn’t easy, in fact, it’s becoming more challenging and complex. The gatekeeper shouldn’t be the biggest challenge you face. You’ll have an easier time getting past the gatekeeper if you’ll just stop sounding like the people that she was hired to keep out.