Medical device sales – tips to leverage the power of storytelling – An STC Classic

A Classic - '63 Corvette

Sales and storytelling – a powerful combination! We’ve written extensively about the power of storytelling noting that success comes more quickly to sales reps who are able to share engaging stories that resonate with the listener.  It is one thing to list why a customer should do business with you; it is another to be able to relate past success stories that brings that list to life.  The latter is memorable and repeatable – the former is just another list of features.

In a previous blog we included tips for successful story telling.  Those tips work with all B2B sales. But what about something specific for medical device sales?  Dr. Jan Gurley asked: How do you move from the realm of transferring knowledge to physicians to changing their behavior? Dr. Gurley answers this question by sharing several tips medical device sales reps might embrace when storytelling.

  • Make it personal. If you want someone to care about making sustained behavior change, you have to individualize the story. The more personal you can make the link between the story and the behavior change, the greater your chances of success.
  • Keep it positive. We’re wired to need and want a narrative. But not just any narrative. For behavior change, we need a narrative that moves us along a path.  Shame or blame will yank a person right out of participating in change.
  • Relate details. For physicians, it’s details, details, details. Set the stage for the story with details that a physician can relate to.
  • Stay on message. What is the primary issue and how can it be a goal that is sustained over time?  What story can you share that illustrates how working with you and your company can help them move closer to achieving their goal?
  • Plan the next step. When it comes to behavior change, relapse is a normal part of the process. What’s the plan if a physician agrees to try your medical device but never gets around to it?

Storytelling in medical device sales is a powerful and effective tool for selling to doctors, administrators, and clinical staff.  It allows medical device sales reps to translate their sales message from solely a clinical product pitch to a positive patient experience with health outcomes.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

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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