The Myth of the Reduced-Access Policy for Medical Sales Reps
One of the challenges most commonly expressed by medical sales representatives these days is the issue of reduced access to customers. They cite a policy where hospitals no longer grant salespeople free access to employees. They also imply that physicians and other health care customers are dismissive by saying things such as, “Product selection is no longer up to me. I don’t have time to meet with sales reps like I used to. There’s no incentive for me to change products.”
Reduced access has been evolving for some time. That’s bothersome, but even more concerning is that medical sales representatives are becoming increasingly accepting of the practice. They shrug their shoulders in defeat as if the access issue is beyond their pay grade.
In a sales situation, both the seller and the buyer are selling. The salesperson is trying to convince the customer to buy while the customer is trying to convince the salesperson why he shouldn’t or can’t. This is nothing new. What’s changed though is that customers are now “selling” salespeople on reasons why they can’t even meet with them. Apparently it’s effective, because too many medical sales reps seem to be throwing in the towel.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
When customers don’t see you, they forget about you. All of the years building relationships are wasted. And the opportunities you might have capitalized on are lost because you’ve been invisible.
Your job is and always has been to sell your products. However, with the challenge of reduced access, your first task is to sell your way in. When customers tell you that they don’t have time to see you, it’s a lie! What they are really saying is that they don’t perceive value in spending time with you, and that’s your fault.
What are your customers’ biggest challenges? What can you give them, teach them, or share with them that will help to solve their problems or better meet their patients’ needs? Maybe they can’t buy from YOU at this moment, but is there a way that you can still help and guide them in their buying decisions? Convince customers of the valuable in spending time with you and YOU WILL get in the door.
You have to be better at selling to your customers than they are at selling to you. Don’t buy into the lies that are designed to keep annoying and valueless salespeople out of your accounts. Consider any policy that restricts salesperson access to an institution or health care provider as a good thing. How so? Because when you can get through doors that your competitors can’t, you have a competitive advantage…and you’ll sell more.
There is always a way to get a customer to grant you access. Uncovering it might not be obvious or easy, but it’s now part of your job description. Figure it out.