Nominations are still open for the Repertoire/HIDA Excellence in Sales Award ( So what are we looking for in nominations? In this post we’ll take a look last year’s Manufacturer winner – Tommy Whitehead, Midmark, and some of his award-winning attributes.

Whitehead puts the time in to generate leads

As a rookie rep for Winchester Surgical Supply, “I was a cold call machine,” said Whitehead, recalling those first months in Knoxville. “I’d go to the top floor of a medical office building and start at the office at the far end of the hall and work the entire hall; then I’d go down to the next level.” After he left each office, he’d dictate a few brief notes into a Dictaphone, noting the name of the person he had spoken to and perhaps even a brief physical description, as well as what happened on the call. Then, at night, he’d write down those notes so he could refer to them next time he called on the account.

Whitehead thinks long term

“He’s one of those guys you don’t hear anything bad about,” said Paul Whitaker, regional sales manager, North Carolina field sales, Henry Schein Medical. “He’s always there when you need him. Some manufacturers will come in, check off the box and they’re gone. But he’s a relationship guy, and he’s there for the long term.” And he’s responsive. “You call him and you get a call back within an hour.”

Whitehead acknowledges the challenges distributor reps face

“I appreciate the role that [distributor reps] have with the nurses and doctors, and the constant balancing act with the relationship and price, [particularly as] a competitor comes in with a competing price on supplies.” He knows that distributor reps expect their manufacturers to not only be product experts, but to provide protection in the event another distributor rep calls on an account pursuing a similar sale.

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