Medical Sales: Selling Nice-to-Haves vs. Must Haves

Almost every medical sales rep thinks his or her product is the best thing since sliced bread, i.e., something the customer “must have.”  But how do the decision-makers in your accounts consider your product or service?  Is it a “must-have” or just a “nice-to-have?”

You may have even heard the actual words from your customers.  “That’s a well-designed instrument.  Sure would be nice to have, but the hospital isn’t upgrading instruments these days.”

What’s a nice-to-have product?  Simply put, it’s something that they would like to have, but believe that they will be fine without.  This perception is often the fault of a sales rep who focuses only on nice-to-have features and nice-to-have benefits.

What are the must-haves for hospitals and healthcare professionals these days? Anything that favorably impacts the economic bottom line.  You’re probably thinking price.  Okay, price is important, but there is so much more than price that impacts the bottom line and gets the sale.

  • Make Money – Does your product provide another revenue source for the provider?  Is it reimbursable?
  • Save Money – Does it do the same thing a competitive product does but the customer is able to save on the overall cost due to lower maintenance costs, less downtime, shorter processing time, less staffing, lower carrying costs, lower delivery costs?  Think of every possible way your product can save your customers money!
  • Save Time – In business, time IS money!  Shorten a procedure time and the provider can perform more procedures generating more income.  Shorten length of stay and hospitals can limit costs. There is also the non-economic value of giving providers more time for themselves.  All things being equal, if your product or service provides more time for providers to do the things that they wish they had time to do, it moves into the must-have category!
  • Reduce Risk – Healthcare is a risk-averse business, and for good reason.  Risk exposes providers to liability and liability is expensive.  Can you quantify how your product or service lowers the cost of errors?  Reducing costly mistakes that can potentially harm the patient…is that a nice-to-have or must-have?

Check your sales conversations and make sure they’re heavy on the must-haves.  You’ll show that you understand your customers’ most pressing needs and you might just motivate them to find a way to buy what they must have.


By the way, would you like to learn how to turn nice-to-haves into must-haves?  Check out the Mastering Medical Sales Online eTraining.