A day in the life of a medical sales representative can often be long and challenging, but incredibly rewarding. You need to be resilient and persistent throughout the entire day as a great deal of effort is required to see a Surgeon, Consultant etc. if a relationship has not already been established.
The average content of a day for a representative revolves around selling products to customers either on a one to one basis with the person in charge of buying, in meetings with key opinion leaders, admin work where you will plan your week and call objectives, and finally travelling to customers. As a medical sales rep, your territory could be quite large, extending across several counties, so you will spend a considerable length of time in your car.
As there are so many different types of medical device, each will be sold slightly differently e.g. an orthopaedic rep will spend time in theatre advising and training the surgeon on the correct usage of the product during the actual procedure. Other products will involve more of a ‘softer sell’ involving longer term relationship building.
Each clinical arena will have its own policy as to when medical representatives have access to their clinicians and nurses, so it’s important to discover this information before planning your day and take appropriate action. This may be before, during or after surgery either via appointment, on spec or over a meeting.
This is designed to be an overview – different products are sold in different ways and the NHS is constantly changing but the main elements in medical sales jobs remains a constant.
“Working” an entire hospital is vital for selling many consumable medical products. Planning must be exquisite and time management exemplary. You must engage with a wide variety of customers (e.g. consultants, department managers and procurement staff), some for the first time, in different departments.
Utilise all the sales tools you have been taught on your training courses, but do so in a calm, professional and helpful way so that customers won’t even know they have been sold to. As you go from department to department, each decision maker must be asked open questions and the need for the product uncovered before the sales pitch begins.
Once you have exhausted your planned meetings, go “ward walking” and keep on gaining commitment from new decision makers.
Keep accurate records of each meeting and report the successes of the day back to your line manager on your way home.
8.30 am: the day starts by ensuring you are well prepared with plenty of stock, samples and leaflets, as well as a clear plan of what the day ahead entails. Leave plenty of time for travel – turning up late does not make the right impression.
10.00 am: Arrive for a pre-arranged surgical procedure. You must establish who has the purchasing power for each product you are selling. In many surgical cases, it will be the Surgeons themselves. In other instances it will be Senior Nurses or hospital procurement depts. Whilst the surgical team are setting themselves up, the patient is prepped etc, this can lead to a lot of delays and waiting around. This is an ideal time to make notes, call clients and schedule meetings.
11.00 am: During the procedure, you will communicate constantly with the surgeon and theatre team, offering advice and guidance on the correct usage and the product’s benefits. In prior meetings, you will have established what exactly your client wants from the product, what they use currently, what they don’t like about it etc. By asking the right questions beforehand, when it comes to demonstrating your product, you can sell its benefits and meet your clients’ needs.
12.00 pm: After the procedure you often have a moment to sit down with the consultant and obtain feedback. This is a great time to overcome objections, if any. If the feedback is positive, you can make follow up appointments, discuss stock size, leave behind literature, business cards etc.
2.00 pm: As well as gaining new business, you will also need to look after existing accounts. Regular meetings and ward walking, means that you can check up on how your products are faring and obtain feedback and follow-up orders. If one particular product is proving to be popular, this could be a good time to introduce other products in your portfolio by leaving samples and organising demonstrations.
4.00 pm: Relationship building is essential. In many cases you will become a familiar face on a ward or in theatre and you will meet a range of staff from surgeons, nurses, department heads and pharmacists. Each will have different needs, so you will have to be organised and know exactly how your products can benefit each and every customer.
5.00 pm: Administration and notes from the day’s visits (excellent record-keeping is essential), place orders, make follow up appointments and plan future meetings.
If your product is sold into theatre, there may be an on-call element to the role, whereby, you could be called out in the middle of the night. Occasionally you will also have to attend evening meetings which will often include a meal and a promotional presentation either by you or an invited speaker.
For more information about the day-to-day activities you could be undertaking or more ‘A day in the life’ advice, speak to one of our experts here at Advance Recruitment by phoning 0800 783 0920 or send us your CV.