How Smart Phones and Other Devices are Making Medical Sales Reps Irrelevant…and What to Do About It

People drop an iPhone or Android into their pocket and act as though they just received a doctorate in world knowledge.  Yes, I understand the power that is felt by having instant answers to virtually any question at your fingertips, but it doesn’t make you smarter nor will it bail you out of a tough situation that demands an instantaneous response.  Yet it’s changing the way we think about everything.

Why am I writing about this in a sales blog?  Because the convenience offered by technology is changing thinking and behaviors…including that of your customers.

Healthcare customers believe they don’t need to talk to salespeople anymore. In the past, if you were a doctor, dentist or therapist, you would give some of your valuable time to a salesperson, mainly for one reason: To get information.  Spending a few moments with a drug rep to make sure you knew about the latest drug to treat restless-leg syndrome (and to score some free samples!) or with an orthopedic sales rep to familiarize yourself with a device to correct a positive Throckmorton sign made sense.  But now, it’s become hard for many to justify the time cost of seeing sales reps when the same information is literally in their pockets.

Acknowledge this now or forever hold your peace (and prepare yourself for a lifetime diet of macaroni and cheese because it will be all you can afford to eat):

 In the minds of your customers, you have become irrelevant!

If all you do is provide information that a customer can get from the Internet, you’re no longer needed.  Sure, you probably provide customer service when there is a problem and drop off an occasional box of donuts, but in the customer’s mind—he or she is just fine without you!  Unless…

…You remain relevant.

What makes you relevant as a medical sales professional?  Your ability to help customers to solve problems in their practices that their smart phones won’t solve for them!

Too many sales representatives think they’re smart because they can deliver a sales presentation from an iPad.  If customers can get this same information on their own iPads, they don’t need you.  You’re irrelevant.  There are over 43,000 pharmaceutical reps who have become jobless since 2010—they can tell you the price of irrelevance.

Whether you’re a medical professional or a medical salesperson, having a smart phone doesn’t make you smart.  In fact, if you’re the salesperson, it just might make you irrelevant.

Your only real value to a customer is your ability to provide that which he or she cannot get from touching a screen or clicking a mouse.  Product data dumps are the kiss-of-death and salespeople who continue to sell by delivering them are declaring their irrelevance to their customers.

If you’re serious about staying in this industry and enjoying a stable and high-paying career, take the time to assess your sales presentation.  Make sure that you’re helping the customer to identify needs and problems while offering solutions that define your value and that you’re not just a walking version of your-company’

It’s no longer enough just to differentiate yourself from your competition.   You must differentiate yourself from any entity or technology that competes with what you provide as a sales professional.  It requires that you think differently and sell differently.  The rewards for adapting during this time of dramatic healthcare change are great, but the price of complacency could do to you what the refrigerator did to the ice man.

Be Relevant!


Mace Horoff ensures that medical sales professionals can deliver relevant presentations to their customers.  CLICK HERE For information about having Mace make your sales team “relevant.”