The Medical Sales Success Secret Your Boss Won’t Tell You

Is there a medical sales success secret?

When seeking advice on excelling in medical sales, the usual response is to work hard, put in long hours, outshine your competitors, and always be accessible to clients. However, a critical aspect of success often goes unmentioned: learning how to detach from work. While this may sound simple, it can be challenging to put into practice. 

Why Medical Sales Representatives Suffer Burnout

Medical sales representatives face numerous factors that contribute to burnout. These include:

  1. High Pressure and Stress: Meeting sales targets, building professional relationships, and navigating challenges such as restricted access to doctors and fluctuating contracts can create chronic stress, increasing the risk of burnout.
  2. Constant Availability and Workload: With technology blurring the lines between work and personal life, medical sales reps are expected to be available at all times, juggling emails, virtual meetings, and industry updates. This lack of boundaries leaves little room for relaxation and self-care.
  3. Emotional Toll: Dealing with rejection, skepticism, and resistance on a daily basis takes a significant emotional toll. Maintaining enthusiasm and positivity becomes draining, leaving sales reps vulnerable to burnout.
  4. Travel Demands: As a rep, you must meet the customer wherever they are, but the constant time away from home, disrupted routines, and rush to cover territories can lead to exhaustion and feelings of isolation. 

Strategies for Regularly Detaching from Work

To prevent burnout and establish a healthy work-life balance, medical sales representatives can follow these strategies:

  1. Establish Clear Boundaries: Set specific working hours and consciously disconnect from work-related tasks outside those designated times. Communicate these boundaries effectively with colleagues and clients to manage expectations.
  2. Engage in Mindful Activities: Practicing mindfulness through activities such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or journaling can reduce stress and improve overall well-being. If you don’t have time for these activities, then you definitely need them more than you think.
  3. Pursue Hobbies and Interests: Have activities you enjoy outside of work, such as creative pursuits, sports, or socializing with friends and family. These provide a much-needed respite from work-related pressures. If the activity requires focused concentration that distract you completely from thinking about work, even better!
  4. Prioritize Self-Care: Take care of you first! This means getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and scheduling annual wellness exams. Do what you can to stay healthy so you serve the healthcare community instead of becoming a client.
  5. Take Vacations: Truly disconnecting from work during vacations is crucial. Communicate with clients in advance, arrange for competent coverage, and trust that most issues can be resolved upon your return. Remember that your job should not consume your entire life. (This is so important I discuss it separately in a separate section below).

Vacations Are Essential To Long Term Success

I didn’t take a vacation for the first seven years in my medical sales job. What a stupid mistake! I honestly believed that going away for a week or two would undo all my hard work. When I finally worked up the courage and took a week off, guess what happened to my territory? Nothing. 

Some medical reps make the mistake of thinking that a vacation means going to a different location to work. Don’t do this! When you’re on vacation, vacate your work life. It’s not easy, and I’m guilty of working plenty on vacation. I’ve written long proposals, scheduled appointments, and even talked surgeons through complex procedures while sitting on the beach.

When your vacation plans are set, notify your accounts and your work colleagues. Let them know you won’t be checking email or text regularly, if at all. Make the necessary arrangements for someone to cover any emergencies while you’re gone, and then don’t worry about it. Yes, things could happen while you’re gone that impact business, but you’ll be able to address it when you return. I’ve had all kinds of hell break loose while I was away, but I always fixed it when I returned. Have faith!

Your Work Isn’t a Lifestyle. It’s Work.

Your job is not your entire existence. Recognize that it is essential to prioritize your health and personal relationships. Spending quality time with loved ones during work-free vacations strengthens personal connections and provides emotional support. Remember that, in the grand scheme of life, your job is just one aspect. By regularly detaching from work, you will find yourself more productive, healthier, and happier.

Detaching from work is an often-overlooked aspect of success in medical sales. By understanding the causes of burnout and implementing strategies such as setting boundaries, engaging in mindful activities, pursuing hobbies, prioritizing self-care, and taking meaningful vacations, medical sales representatives can achieve a healthier work-life balance, enhance their overall well-being, and improve their performance in the long run.

Work is a part of life. Your life must be your priority. Don’t wait for your boss to tell you this because, well, they won’t.

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