"Every problem is a gift. Without problems, we would not grow."
Anthony robbins

The Top 5 Fears that Paralyze Medical Sales Reps

As a medical sales recruiter, I find myself in conversations every day with sales reps who want to find the NEXT BIG THING.  For one reason or another, many are paralyzed by fear when it comes to assessing new opportunities.  They immediately start thinking of every objection under the sun that might impact their success and FEAR takes over.  Being afraid of new challenges because they aren’t “tried and true” can leave you in a job where you are running in place rather than thriving and growing.

When talking to recruiters about a new opportunity, a healthy level of skepticism is natural and expected.  Doing your due diligence on a potential new opportunity is highly encouraged, but be careful falling into the trap of letting fear dictate your career path.

  • The top 5 FEARS that paralyze the average medical sales rep...

Current competitor is too big and strong, no one can take them down.”  

Competition is everywhere.  Getting so enamored with the status quo or the current “gold standard” that you assume nothing will ever change is the antithesis of everything the medical industry stands for. This field was built on improving patients' lives and competitive innovations drive progress.

Those who have been in medical sales for a while can probably remember the darling of the industry from 20 years ago called CORDIS.  They were a cardiology Goliath owned by Johnson & Johnson that was destined to dominate the angioplasty business for decades. Well, that lasted for about 4 years as the drug eluting stent revolution knocked JNJ (CORDIS) from its perch.  CORDIS was eventually divested by Johnson & Johnson and the rest is history. This is one of thousands of similar examples over the years in med-tech.

These products aren’t on contract. There is no way to succeed without every GPO contract.”

Yes, GPO contracts are an integral part of medical sales, but many reps have convinced themselves that the contract is ALL that matters. Sales reps who are bold enough and skilled enough to go out and win without the benefit of GPO contracts are often rewarded handsomely for their perseverance. Often, the contract situation is worked out as the business matures.  Being a trail blazer and building a business from the ground can be more rewarding than simply enforcing contracts.  

If you can ONLY sell effectively when your company has locked down all the contracts, one might have to question who is actually doing the selling… is it the corporate contracts team or the sales rep?

This technology must be fully reimbursed by every insurance company, or it will never work.

When the FDA approves a new technology, they do not hand out special reimbursement codes to make it easy on the company to sell more product. Someone (the sales rep maybe) must go out and educate the medical community on the need for the product and the benefit to the patient or provider. This is not easy, but it is part of the process and CAN BE DONE.  Most new technologies have a 3-5 year evolution (one insurance company at a time) to expand insurance coverage, it doesn't happen overnight.

Understanding codes and reimbursement is important, but waiting for every insurance company to cover a technology is the equivalent to waiting for the stars to align. You run the risk of missing the ride of a rising new therapy by waiting for everything to be perfect.  

“My doctor said this product is unproven and they don't believe in it.”

Most doctors are trained to be extremely analytical and skeptical when it comes to making changes. For that reason, a lot of them can fall under the category of “late adopters” or “laggards” when adopting new technology.  When asked about a new product or therapy, many doctors make a snap judgement from afar that might not be fully accurate.

I am reminded of the Urologist who told me 12 years ago that Robotic surgery was “just a fad that was totally unproven”.  That doctor is now one of the busiest robotic surgeons in the state who has published articles on the value or robotics.

Don’t get me wrong, talking to potential customers to research a new opportunity is a smart idea, but taking one physician's opinion as gospel is a great way to miss the boat.

"This technology sounds too expensive. They need to lower their prices."

At one point or another, every medical technology has been labeled as “too expensive”.  Some of the most impactful and lucrative medical advancements of our generation are expensive…

...Genetic Testing, Laparoscopic Surgery, Robotic Surgery, Interventional Cardiology, Pacemakers, Spinal Cord Stimulation…ALL too expensive to succeed?  MAYBE NOT!

Medical sales reps are well compensated to sell expensive technology, to handle objections, and to break down barriers.   Being AWARE of potential challenges is wise, but being AFRAID of potential challenges can be crippling to a sales career.  Don’t let FEAR dictate your success!

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