Medical Sales Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’m in college. What course of study should I take to prepare me for medical sales?
A: Some science courses such as Biology and Chemistry will be helpful, as will Physics. But business courses will be valuable, especially any courses on selling if your college offers them.
Q: I don’t have any sales experience. Is that going to matter?
A: Sales experience is almost always preferred, especially business-to-business sales (B2B) where you were selling business services or products to businesses. I recommend that you get some sales experience before applying for a medical device position. You can still land a job, if you know how to sell yourself into the position.
Q: English is a second language and I have a strong accent. Is language a factor?
A: The ability to speak clearly and articulately is essential. You should have excellent grammar skills and you must be easy to understand. If you need additional help in this area, I recommend locating and joining a Toastmasters Club in your town. Of course, if you are going to be selling in a territory with a strong foreign language influence, your ability to speak that language will be more important.
Q: Mace, can I send you my resume to review?
A: Let me save you the trouble — if you have not downloaded my program and prepared your resume accordingly, you’re wasting your time and mine. The typical, generic resume won’t get you very far in medical sales, unless you have an obvious, proven history of medical sales experience and success.
Q: Can you recommend a recruiter?
A: In certain cases, I can. But the approach that I advocate for landing a job is a direct approach that bypasses recruiters. Don’t misunderstand, some of the best jobs are available through recruiters. But I have found that my approach will get you where you want to go faster, with less frustration, and allows you to maintain a level of control that you won’t have with a recruiter.
Q: I have a DUI on my record. Can I work in medical sales?
A: You probably won’t land a job with a company that requires or offers the use of a company vehicle. Most medical device jobs do not provide a company car, although they may provide a car allowance. Be prepared to address this issue because many companies do run background checks. A single DUI should not affect your chances if you can demonstrate good selling skills on your resume and at the interview.
Q: Is there anything else on a background check that could hurt my chances of getting hired for medical sales?
A: If you have a criminal record, your chances may not be very good, depending on the type of offense and how recently it occurred.
Candidates that show a poor credit history will be looked at carefully to understand what caused the credit problems. Concerns here include an inability to manage finances, not honoring financial obligations, and poor business management. There is often a perception that the pressure of financial problems can interfere with optimal sales performance.
Q: What is the starting salary for a medical device representative?
A; There is a very broad range depending on the job and your level of experience, plus how compensation is structured, e.g., salary, salary plus commission, salary plus bonus, or straight commission. Starting compensation packages can range from $25,000 – $30,000 up to $250,000 or more. Rest assured that starting at the upper level will require a demonstrated history of medical sales success over a period of several years. But you need to start somewhere, so land any job that will get you medical sales experience and will afford you to pay your bills.
Q: I have worked in sales in another industry. Can I get hired in medical sales?
A: As long as you have a history of sales success that you can prove, yes. Many people that work in medical sales have made the move there from selling in another industry. Make sure you understand the differences selling in medicine versus selling anythere else — there are some serious differences.
Q: I have been trying to get hired in medical sales for over a year and I have not had any job offers. What should I do?
A: First, don’t give up! You need to try something different. If you haven’t changed your resume or approach, what makes you think that you are going to get different results?
Q: The economy is in a downturn right now. Are there any medical sales jobs out there?
A: There are a ton of medical sales jobs! While many industries are reeling from the current economic situation, medicine is booming, because people don’t stop getting sick! Medical device companies are growing and hiring, but there is more competition for each job than ever before as people are shifting industries. Just make sure you do a better job of presenting yourself as a candidate and you will greatly improve your chances.
Q: Can you guarantee that if I get your program that I will get hired for medical sales?
A: I get this question a lot, and it amazes me every time. The truth is, if you do exactly what I instruct you to do and you are willing to put in the hard work (yes, hard work!) and you don’t give up easily, you will get hired sooner or later, barring anything that might make you unhireable such as a criminal record or poor speaking skills. But the truth is I cannot guarantee that you will get hired because I have no control over the multitude of factors involved or how you are perceived by others. I know that my program can improve your chances exponentially regardless of where you are now.