Overstaying Your Welcome: How Frequently Should You Call on a Healthcare Customer

medical sales calendarHow frequently should you call on a customer when you sell in healthcare?  If you call on someone too often, you might anger them (at least this is what many reps tell themselves). And if you don’t call on them often enough, you’re losing opportunities to make a sale (which is true).

I always ask this question during my medical sales training workshops.  The most common answer I get from participants is, “It depends.”

The list of “depends” sounds something like this:

  • It depends on the relationship
  • It depends on how much business you already have with that customer
  • It depends on how busy they are
  • It depends on the mood that they’re in when you make the sales call
  • It depends on whether you have something new to present or whether you’re following up on a previous sales call
  • It depends on whether there’s an opportunity, i.e. a problem you can solve
  • It depends on the angular alignment of the sun and the moon…

I was kidding with the last one, well, sorta…  What actually determines call frequency for most medical sales representatives is how often the sales rep feels like it.

Medical sales reps don’t seem to have the fear of not calling often enough (although they should). They fear calling on customers too often and overstaying their welcome—especially when a customer was less than enthusiastic during their last sales call.

So what’s the answer?

You should call on your healthcare customers as often as needed to provide them with any and all information that helps them to do their jobs better and improve patient outcomes.

Did you notice I did not say, “as often as is needed to make the sale?”  If you think of a sales call in terms of making the sale, than the sales call will be about you instead of about the customer and the patient.  Healthcare professionals tire quickly with those kinds of sales calls.  They’re very busy people who don’t have the time or patience for self-serving sales reps.  But they will always welcome someone who brings solutions to problems.  They especially welcome sales professionals who help them to uncover unrecognized problems and opportunities.

The short answer to the question, “How frequently should I call on customers” is as often as you can provide needed and wanted value.

Think of it this way.   When a receptionist asks the purpose of your visit, which “purpose” is more likely to get the response, “Send her back?”

  • Carol is here from XYZ medical.  She has a new confabrulator to show you.
  • Carol is here from XYZ medical.  She wants to show you how you can be a hero to the hospital by saving them over a million dollars a year in liability exposure while increasing your billable services by 30%.

I made those up to make a point.  If you offer something similar to the first reason for wanting some of a customer’s valuable time (which is exactly what most sales reps do), you’ll only be allowed in the door every so often.  But if you always offer a reason for your call that positions a level of value, similar to the second one, and you deliver on the promise by providing valuable information and opportunities, you can pretty much come back whenever you want.  The first approach makes you an interruption.  The second approach makes it important to talk to you.

So again, as a medical sales representative, you should call on your healthcare customers as often as you are able to provide needed and wanted value.  The best scenario is to create a call pattern where they see your smiling and helpful face on a regular schedule.  This keeps you top of mind, which is a great place to be when a customer is ready to place an order or schedule a case.


Here’s an idea:  Suggest Mace Horoff, Medical Sales Speaker,  for your next National Sales Meeting or training event.  He’ll make it interesting, fun, and most importantly, he’ll show you exactly how to close more business right away.  Did your last sales meeting do that?  Click here for Programs and Workshops