Medical sales: tailoring sales to physician preferences – A Sales Tip

Sales Tip

There is no one way physicians prefer to interact with a medical company.  Many factors influence the physician’s view of the ideal experience.  Personal preferences, communication styles, level of disease understanding, practice setting, local formulary control, disease specialty, and patient demographics, among others, shape the physician’s preferences for interaction. And with the ever-changing healthcare market space, selling to physicians is increasingly more difficult. And while physician preference may not be as strong a factor in hospital purchasing decisions, they certainly remain a significant.

So, the challenge for medical sales reps is to figure out the right “buying” experience for every physician. Easy to say, not so easy to do.  So, let’s review a list of ideas for getting started:

  • Determine how the physician wants to receive information – peers, company experts, journals articles.
  • Identify the preferred setting – in the office, lab, lounge.
  • Understand why the physician is using the current medical product – personal financial gain, comfort level, relationship with sales rep, opportunities with vendor for practice building.
  • Develop a clear picture as to why physicians would switch vendors – better patient outcome, efficiency in the OR or Lab, fear (doesn’t want to be the last one using the product), influence, ego.

Today’s medical sales looks very different than 10 years ago – and medical sales reps must move beyond relying just on relationship selling and face a new set of medical sales challenges.  A foundational requirement for meeting those challenges is addressing the individual preferences for each of your physicians.

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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