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I’m old, not really, but I feel that way some days. I’m old enough to remember when the first web browser came out my junior year of college. It took until graduation for the dial-up connect to download that first web page I attempted to open the year before. I also remember that first round of Fortune 500 sales training when they introduced ACT and computer based contact management systems. I know many a sales rep who turned to heavy drinking after unsuccessfully attempting to get ACT to do what they wanted. Fortunately times have changed and so have automated options for keeping in touch with your clients

If you’re not familiar with contact management systems and the effect they can have on your numbers you’re selling yourself short. They are a major tool in deepening client relationships, generating referral business, and staying at the forefront of your clients’ minds. While they should never replace networking or actual sales calls, they are an effective and powerful tool in your arsenal. I use a couple of different things in conjunction with each other but one of my favorites in Send Out Cards.

Send Out Cards is an online service that allows you to  design and send regular or custom cards. Specific campaigns can be set up for groups, individuals, or your entire client list. Let’s look at an example or two. I like to send my clients something personal once a quarter; holiday cards, birthdays, event invitations, etc. I can sit down for 45 minutes once a year and ensure that every single one of my clients receives these specific regular hand written cards exactly when I want without any additional effort or time whatsoever.  Send Out Cards fills out the cards, puts them in the envelopes, puts the stamps on them and drops them in the mail for about a dollar forty a piece. If a doctor shares with you that they’ve had a family member pass you can log in instantly and in under a minute send a signed card expressing your condolences before you ever have a chance to leave the office and forget. Handwritten cards are always opened, read every time, and consistently pass the gatekeeper at the front desk. Send Out Cards does chocolates and gifts too. I used it to send my mom brownies after she had a rough day last week. I’ve walked in six months later and still seen my card sitting on a back desk, something I can never claim about most other literature I’ve dropped off. It’s takes the work out of something we all know we should do but rarely have the time to follow through with. Drop by their web site and check it out soon.

www.sendoutcards.com

So I spent a little time watching a unicompartment knee replacement with one of the new custom knee replacements units. First let me say that the fit and installation ease with these appears to be superior to off the shelf units. Each unit is custom built for the the patient using a 3d CT scan and comes with custom guides for installation, way cool. Toward the end of the surgery there was a practice that’s becoming more common and is being shown to help with post operative knee replacement recovery and pain management, injection of a cocktail of drugs into the joint capsule and surrounding tissue during the operation. For you orthopedic reps out there this represents an opportunity for you to bring your doctors another one of those informative tidbits that differentiate you from the competition.

Generally the cocktail will include a numbing agent, anti-biotic, morphine, and an antiinflammatory steroid. Studies have indicated marked post-op improvement in function, mobility, and patient satisfaction.  Examining the components in the cocktail, the improvements don’t come as a big surprise. I’ve included the link to the surgery as well as a short article on eOthopod about. I encourage you to do a little more research and bring something extra to your orthopedic surgeons today.

Video of a custom knee replacement

eOrthopod article

 

by Ward Sieben

After over a decade of sales I occasionally take a breather to reflect on the various sales tactics I’ve witnessed or tried.  It’s a long and embarrassing list traversing the emotional gamut from uncontrollable laughter to intense self-loathing. Personal favorite??? It has to be the photo of my stare down with the 300lb pound pig for the Fourth of July BBQ marketing piece.  It’s been five years and I still receive a couple of phone calls about it every Independence Day. While I still make it a point to afford my clients with the occasional laugh, most of my effort is focused on the more important goal of establishing myself as the trusted expert. It’s an undertaking but the results are well worth the effort. It entails continually educating myself in order to deliver helpful, pertinent information to clients. My latest tool is a site called ORLive.

ORLive is a website that broadcasts live videos form the surgical suite for free. The presentations are full surgeries at top hospitals, with educating commentary by the performing physicians. It affords medical device reps the opportunity to learn first hand about some of the latest surgeries and products. Take a few minutes exploring the site and see what you think.

www.orlive.com

Okay folks I have a confession, I’m a sales person. That’s right, a social extrovert who if not careful will attempt to cram more words in than Jim Carey after a three hour red bull and skittles bender. Trust me, I know exactly when it’s happened. Right about the time my stomach gets that tight empty sensation,  the blood vessel in my temple nearly ruptures, and a crack of sheer terror flashes through my frontal lobe as I grasp the fact that I should have shut my yapper two minutes before. Admit it, you know the sensation.

We’re all prone to our moments of verbal regurgitation? Specifically in those sixty seconds right after someone utters our second favorite question, “what do you do?”. Oh the glee… the excitement… the overwhelming urge to give them every single reason why they should love our product! Do it quick before they get away!  We give them the full Baghdad shock in awe campaign with the hope that one of those wonderful little nuggets will be just the hot potato they’re looking for. Unforeseen to us they’ve reached auditory overload and our magnificent sales pitch sounds to them like Charley Brown’s teacher in the Peanuts Christmas special. So what’s the answer, what do we do? The key is to have a distinct and specific twenty  to thirty second infomercial.

It may appear daunting, but you need to be able to deliver who you are, what you do, and a catching bullet point in thirty seconds or less. Once the  person has responded it’s okay to go into detail but your opening intro should always be short and sweet. Think “rifle” not “shotgun”. There are a few things that should be key in every infomercial.

1. A unique way in which you help your clients that sets you apart

2. Your name

3. Your company

4. A specific description of one thing that you do.

5. Who you sell to.

6. An open ended question.

Thirty seconds max. Let me give you an example.

Doctor: (rushing of course) I only have a minute, what exactly do you do?

Rep: I work with general practitioners to prevent heart attacks. Ward Sieben with Biomedix. We diagnose Peripheral Arterial Disease. Have you had any patients with circulatory issues in their legs or feet?”

You want to give the prospect a limited number of specific bullet points to focus on. In this case I’m trying to focus the physician on heart attack prevention, peripheral arterial disease, and who is the patient in their practice that they need it for. Think of the person as a database. If you type thirty different search words into a database you’re going too much information to wade through, but if you give specific, distinct parameters you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for. The same is true with people. In this case patients with circulatory issues in their legs or feet. I’ll bet the bank they’ve run across an overweight diabetic with foot pain issues in the last couple of weeks that they suspect might have a partial occlusion.  Last of all, practice, practice, practice. You may have two or three versions for different situations but they all  need to flow as freely those excuses to your mother as to why you can’t make every Sunday evening dinner this month.

In the meantime, happy hunting out in the field and remember…   it’s a good life!

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