With the changes in healthcare including new technology, regulatory and compliance demands, healthcare professionals are more apt to research options in purchasing decisions because they have access to information at their fingertips. For a sales professional selling medical supplies, the challenge of the client-relationship has gotten tougher as a bigger demand is put on them to provide tangible information to support their products.
#1 -Trust & Transparency
In targeting the healthcare market, transparency and trust is important in the sales cycle. If your company is a pharmaceutical company, your client is putting the health and well-being of their patient’s in your hands. Stand out from the rest and offer transparency with information you share from your company’s processes and mission. For example, a 503B outsourcing facility may receive a 483 warning letter, and it’s important that these documents and any others pertaining to cGMP practices are open for review if requested from a potential and current customer. In the end, you are building trust with your client which is vital especially in healthcare.
#2-Listening to your Client’s Needs: Stop the Pitch and Start a Conversation
More times than not, sales people want to dominate the conversation in a sales meeting without getting the opportunity to listen to their client’s needs. The phrase “less is more”, can work to your advantage and give you the opportunity to let the client tell you what they need to buy. In healthcare, it needs to be a priority to listen to your clients’ needs especially with patients’ treatment as the focus. Stop the pitch, and don’t take the traditional sales presentation route by telling the prospect about yourself and your company. Talk about how your products solved a problem. If you’re a pharmaceutical outsourcing facility, possibly your company helped hospitals with drug-shortages or workflow issues. Showing interest in what the client is saying lets them know you are invested in their needs and concerns, and you are there to help solve a problem.
#3-Know your Contacts-Know the Hierarchy
Especially in healthcare, every client is going to have a vastly different purchasing process. If you’re working with a small doctor’s office, you might be able to deal with a single decision maker. When you’re selling to a hospital, you might need to work with a buying group or a purchasing department. One way to make sure you don’t miss anybody is by simply taking the time to map out your client’s purchasing hierarchy and identifying decision-makers involved in the sales cycle process. You should obtain this information by asking the contacts you’ve already made and networking within the organization as much as possible.
Connecting with the internal team and all the decision-makers and influencers will allow you to understand the needs of the client, build a long-lasting client relationship, and keep customers coming back. Little gestures go a long way with building client relationships and sales. For example, Mike Todd, the Director of Pharmacy of ABC Hospital just was recognized by the APhA with an award. Take the time to send Mike a note to congratulate him. Stand out from the rest, take the extra time to invest in your clients, and sales will follow.
#4-Know your Competition
Selling products in healthcare becomes highly competitive. In dealing with hospitals and the well-being of patients, the demand for such products become essential to patients, doctors, and nurses to run an efficient medical facility. Knowing the landscape of your competition in the market, identifying the direct and indirect competitors, and doing your own market research will educate you on the current trends and marketing position of the competitor companies in your industry. Use technology as your friend to determine trends in the market place with google alerts, get connected through LinkedIn, and check out competitor websites often to see how they position themselves in marketing their products/ services. This serves as an advantage to not only be reliant on your organization to feed you competitor information, but you are well informed to combat any objections in the field involving competitor products.
Sales is always changing
Selling in a constantly evolving client-driven industry like healthcare is extremely challenging, even for the most effective sales organizations. However, companies that can succeed in this competitive industry can rake in the profits. Taking the 4 keys into consideration when your selling products and standing up to the competition will ensure a trusted customer, win new business, and keep the current customers coming back.