It’s become more and more common to hear healthcare practitioners say, “I’m too busy to talk” when they are approached by sales representatives. This can be understandable if you consider the situation from the practitioner’s point of view—they are under pressure to see more patients in less time than they probably would like. Understanding the origin of this time constraint is a great place to start but the question remains, how can you use this knowledge to better engage them in a meaningful discussion of your product?
Selling is often called a thinking person’s game. Ask any sales person and they’ll tell you that selling is hard work. Successful sales people possess a multitude of skills and continue to work hard to hone those skills. The quest for selling excellence is truly never ending. And although selling can be challenging, I believe being a sales leader/coach is even more so.
What do Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, and Meg Whitman have in common? This diverse group has been identified among the 50 best salespeople of all time. And quite surprisingly (to me), I’m included in that list of great sales people.
“I put five people on your drug…and four of them died!” That’s what one of my customers told me when I was a sales rep for a pharma company. Those are words that no one wants to hear—regardless of your situation. What could I say? What this physician said was certainly inflammatory. The way she said it put me on the defensive. But I’ve learned that when we react emotionally, it is seldom wise or effective.
“The words you use with people not only have shelf life, but have the ability to shape life.” That’s a quote from my friend Coach Buzz Williams. Not only is he eloquent but spot on about the power of words. I think if we truly understood how much of a difference words can make, we would not be so reckless in what we say. The words we choose and how we combine them can really affect what people hear and how they react.
“He can’t see the forest for the trees.” When I heard this quote recently, I thought of how much the meaning of this phrase has changed for me over the years. Most people use this expression to describe someone who focuses on the details so much that they neglect to see the big picture. The opposite is also true—those who see the big picture are often unable to recognize the individual distinct trees which comprise that forest. But regardless of whether we see the big picture or are detail oriented, we tend to have the mindset that others see the same things we do.
In selling, you don’t want to be or sound like every other sales rep. You want to be different—to stand out. And one way to be outstanding is by performing UTAs. You may not know what UTAs are by their name. But if you have ever received one, it’s likely you’d remember it. UTAs are Unexpected Thoughtful Acts. It’s those small things that you do for someone. UTAs don’t cost any money. And they’re unexpected. Even people who don’t like surprises often welcome UTAs. Think of it as a random act of kindness.
As I was reading Erika Napoletano’s blog 3 Reasons Introverts Make Excellent Employees, I was wondering why more introverts don’t enter the realm of selling. I guess some mistakenly believe that you need to be a gregarious extravert to be a great sales person. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Introverts by their nature possess several important characteristics that all great sales people share.