“How can I get more time with the physicians I call on?” That’s a question I’m often asked when I work with BioPharma sales representatives. Gaining more time with customers seems to be one of the more challenging aspects of selling in the life sciences industry. Although there is no guaranteed way to get the healthcare professional to spend more time with you, I’m a big believer that building business relationships can be a major differentiator in how much time your customers will give you and how intently they will listen.
There seems to be many “rules” that we can apply to the different things we encounter in life. For example, when trying to understand compound interest, we can refer to the “Rule of 72.” And the “Rule of Thirds” provides direction as to how to make visual images more appealing. While these rules come in handy from time to time, the “Rule of 150” could arguably affect your quality of life. In a nutshell, this rule refers to the maximum number of people with whom any person can build meaningful relationships.
How important is listening when building a relationship? In my mind, this is an easy question to answer— listening is absolutely critical! In fact, I don’t know how you can build any relationship without the ability to listen. Listening is the most impactful way I know to connect with another person. Perhaps the more important question shouldn’t be if listening affects your ability to build relationships but “Are you a good listener?” Based on studies I’ve read, it’s evident that many of us aren’t.
We tend to take our cars for tune-ups quite regularly. This is even easier to do when our cars send us reminders, as some of the newer cars do. Too bad we don’t have something similar to remind us that we need a relationship tune-up. Because neglecting to tune-up our business relationships can be risky—and harder to repair than a car.
When you meet someone for the first time, it’s only natural to look for things that you have in common. After all, that’s how relationships (both business and professional) are formed. But have you ever given thought to seeking out your uncommon commonalities?
Do you know what your customer treasures—what really matters to that individual? And perhaps more importantly, do you understand why you need to know this? Selling is a thinking person’s game. In essence you are trying to solve someone else’s problems. You can’t do this unless you understand exactly what those problems are, the ramifications of those problems, and the issues surrounding them. How can you learn this vital information? By asking your customers.
13 has always been a lucky number for me. I was born on April 13 and my first football jersey number at Sherwood Junior High in Memphis Tennessee was #13. This month Delta Point, Inc. is celebrating its 13th year anniversary as a company. It hardly seems possible that it’s been 13 years since my wife Maryann and I started this business out of our home office.