Stop Being So Damn Reasonable in Medical Sales

As a medical sales rep, you may feel like you’re constantly dealing with a delicate balance. You want to sell as much as you can to your customers, but you don’t want to over-do it—you want to be reasonable.

How much is enough and how much is too much?

It depends on you.

If your sales approach is, “Hey customer, look at my product and buy it if you like it,” the healthcare providers in your territory don’t want to see you too often. Why? Because they don’t have time to look at products that only do what their current products do.

I know. Your products are different. They’re really cool and have features and benefits that your competitors’ products don’t. The problem is your customers don’t care about your products. They only care about themselves, their business, and their patients (hopefully).

Trying to sell a product or service that a healthcare provider or institution doesn’t want to buy is unreasonable. But…

Addressing customers’ needs and solving their problems as often as possible is not only reasonable, it’s appreciated.

Do You Want to Be Liked, or Do You Want to Be Valued?

While it’s true that medical sales is a relationship business, relationships aren’t enough. You must provide value to customers at every encounter—EVERY ENCOUNTER. And while that value won’t always be tied to your product, it will always be tied to you.

Answer this question for yourself: When does the delivery of value become unreasonable?

Let’s say you have a financial advisor who has provided you with nothing but great advice. In fact, every time you’ve taken action on one of her recommendations, you’ve made money or saved money. Suppose she recommended a stock that you purchased on Monday that doubled your money by Wednesday. If she calls you on Friday and offers you the opportunity to double your money again, are you going to say, “Listen Sharon, you doubled my money on Wednesday. This is the second time this week you’re providing an opportunity to make my money grow. You’re helping me too often. Be reasonable…”

That’s not going to happen! We will always invest time and money with those who have provided desired value in the past. And it is unlikely that we will limit the number of opportunities for good outcomes.

You Don’t Get to Decide

What is reasonable in the minds of medical sales representatives when it comes to call frequency or price? Usually, it is a number that the sales rep believes won’t offend the customer. And that number is based on the salesperson’s perception of how they would react in a similar situation.

Many sales professionals don’t like it when salespeople contact them because most salespeople are a pain in the ass. They’re just product pushers who don’t ever discuss your needs or position a product such that you can see yourself owning it. If you feel that way, you might expect that your customers will perceive you the same way…and they will if you sell like a clueless robot.

Yes, your customers have some idea as to what is reasonable in terms of the products and services they consider, how frequently they should consider them, and how much they should spend. Your job, though, is not to help them stay within reason. Your job is to push them to improve by considering things that won’t always seem reasonable.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy suggested to a joint session of Congress, that America should go to the moon. America’s space program at this point was little more than Alan Shepard’s short ride beyond earth’s atmosphere. No American had yet orbited the earth and Kennedy is talking about going to the moon. How reasonable is that? Yet, we all know the outcome to his unreasonable vision—eight short years later, Neil Armstrong took man’s first step on the lunar surface. It never would have happened if Kennedy was a reasonable man.

Kennedy had a vision of what was possible. He wasn’t afraid to push America’s thinking beyond reason. Likewise, you must move yourself and your customers to consider possibilities beyond what’s reasonable. If you’re providing value every step of the way, they won’t try to stop you. They’ll thank you.

Stop being so damn reasonable. If you push beyond reasonable limits, your customers will let you know. What’s reasonable is up to them, not up to you. Besides, until you’ve gone too far, you don’t know how far you can go.

Reasonable sales reps are a dime a dozen and they offer the least value to their customers. Besides, reasonable is very expensive in medical sales because it leaves a lot of dollars on the table.