The doctor controls the environment in which you sell. You call on him in his office, or his clinic, or work with him in his operating room where he is King! Everyone you meet in that environment will treat him like the boss. You are selling to someone who is usually in control of his environment — and that can be intimidating.

Mace Horoff provides three steps to overcoming intimidation when selling to physicians in his April column in Repertoire. The following is one of those suggestions.

1. Develop the right attitude
You must consciously adopt an attitude that the customer, in this case the physician, is at least your equal as a human being. Treat him with the dignity and respect that he deserves, but see him as an equal, after all — you are both professionals!

Attitude is not about “copping an attitude.” It’s about being confident. Too many medical sales representatives see the relationship with the physician as a one-way street where it is the doctor providing the rep with business. Aren’t you bringing something to the table as well? Do you offer products and services that help the physician improve the care he provides? Are you well versed in product knowledge that helps to educate the physician and his staff?

Attitude is about seeing yourself as someone who can partner with the customer to help him get the job done. Sometimes he will act like he can get the job done without you, but realistically he can’t. Physicians require a vast team to take care of their patients and a big part of that team is the salespeople whose companies manufacture the products he needs.

“Can’t he buy those products from one of my competitors” you ask? Of course he can! But you need to believe in your heart that his doing so would not provide for his patients as well as you and your products can. Why? Because if you don’t believe that your offering is in many ways superior to your competitors’, even if it is only because you come with it, then why are you selling this product or service in the first place?

So that is rule No. 1 — when you walk into the doctor’s environment, you are a professional with equal standing as a human being. But you must make sure you are competent, which is rule No. 2.

What do you think? Any advice on how to overcome intimidation when selling to physicians? Share your tips at MDSI’s LinkedIN page for a chance to win a free copy of Mace Horoff’s book Mastering Medical Sales.

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