The First Rule of Account Penetration
I’m willing to bet that there is someone in each of your accounts that you don’t know, assuming you call on hospitals, clinics, outpatient centers, or doctor’s offices of significant size. I know, you wish you had the time to get to know everyone, but you just don’t because, well…you have to keep moving. You focus on the decision-makers because they are the ones who can make things happen, right?
Do you know one of the worst feelings there is in medical sales? It’s when someone you don’t know is promoted or moved into a position that affects your business in some way…and despite the fact that they have worked in a department or office that you’ve been calling on for a while—you don’t know them! It’s especially bad if this person has seen you chatting up and being friendly with many others in the office while overlooking him or her. Now suddenly it’s, “Hey buddy!”
If the above scenario hasn’t happened to you, it will. It’s better to avoid it, if you can. But there’s an even bigger reason for knowing as many people in your accounts as possible—you’ll sell more!
The people who make buying decisions notice how you treat others. They also notice who knows you and why. Sales reps who make it a point to know more people and to interact with them on a regular basis, whether it’s a sales call, a service call, or just a hello when you see them are often viewed more favorably than those who just show up, talk to the buyer, and leave. A hello is appreciated, but if you really want to score points, think of ways you can “connect” with each person. Often, it’s as simple as showing some personal interest in them. People are desperate to be engaged (at least in a positive way) and when you talk to them about themselves, they naturally appreciate it. Should you do this just to make more sales? Truthfully, you should do it to be a better person, but if you make more sales by being a better person, is that a bad thing? Besides, the more people you take the time to know in an account, the better you know that account and you’ll uncover sales opportunities you wouldn’t have found otherwise. You’ll also nip many crises in the bud!
So here’s my challenge to you: For the next 30 days, make it a point to introduce yourself to one person who you don’t know or don’t know well in every account you go into. Don’t worry about who it is…just start to make it a habit. Get to know the security guards, the housekeeping staff, even the guys who valet park cars at hospitals. If there are people you don’t know in the departments you regularly call on, ask if you can meet some of the staff to get a better feel for how you might serve them and their needs. Some managers won’t allow it, but others will. Use the golden rule of sales: nothing happens until you ask! Once you start doing this, you’re going to feel as welcome as Norm did at Sam’s Bar on the TV show Cheers—it’s a great feeling when everyone knows your name and is happy to see you.
Hopefully you’re a little more polished than Norm, but don’t discount the power of knowing everyone that you possibly can in your accounts. Introduce yourself to one new person in each account every time you’re there. Are you willing to meet the challenge? If so, get ready to rise above your competitors who don’t do this!