The NHS is constantly changing and clinicians across all disciplines are increasingly stretched with both their time and their budgets, so it’s more important than ever to maximise the time you have with them day-to-day.
Here’s a simple guide from some of our candidates - working in multiple therapy areas - to getting the most from visits to customers, both new and existing.
for the visit
Stick to the 15-minute rule prior to a visit. Arrive 15 minutes early just in case you can catch them a little earlier and gain more time than scheduled. Even if they’re not able to meet earlier it shows eagerness, and you can also use that time to read through notes and have everything to hand so that you aren’t scrabbling around. You also never know who else you might be able to grab some unexpected time (and leads), from!
In a hospital setting, know your way around the premises; consider what other departments your products could be used in and what networking opportunities you could utilise. Ensure you understand the stakeholder map of each hospital and exactly which key decision-makers are going to be pivotal to your success.
Who are they? Where do they work? When do they work? What influence do they have?
During the visit
You are there to promote your product for your employer, but it’s important to always consider the main reason for the visit: the patient. The patient is at the heart of the hospital and suggesting the solution that is best for the patient will enhance your credibility and improve the likelihood of a positive commercial outcome.
Also consider those who are using the product - be that in theatre or by the bedside. The benefits to the customer and clinician must always be at the forefront of your mind as a salesperson. Whether your product is a large piece of Capital Equipment, a dressing or a 3D-printed implant, consider what the user may need from it, how your product meets that need, and how it answers any issues that other products don’t.
Prepare for objections and be an expert in your product and therapy area. If you don’t know the answer, be as open and honest as you can and never stretch the truth: do not say things that you think a consultant will want to hear. Credibility with surgeons and consultants is everything, and attempting to ‘blag’ it will always come back to bite you!
It’s important when customers have objections and concerns that you let them talk; listening is something that a great sales person does openly, and is something a bad sales person hardly ever does. Listen without interrupting, even if you have the perfect response to their objection. Make sure you fully understand their problem and ask questions if you don’t so that they can clarify their points.
The dynamics of your own product and customer base will be different from one hospital and therapy area to the next, so the above are just some general hints and tips regarding best practice.
• Be well prepared for your visits
• Be honest and transparent with your customers
• Be an expert in your product and the market
• Be empathetic to the demands that are placed on your clinicians - both economic and on their time
• Always put the patient outcome first
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