Nominations are still open for the Repertoire/HIDA Excellence in Sales Award ( In the coming days and weeks we’ll take a look at past winners – what makes them tick and what makes them successful. First up is last year’s winner in Distribution – Rich Bilz, field sales consultant for Henry Schein.

“Excellence” Traits

1) Bilz relies on his manufacturer partners. “Most manufacturers figure they have a sale when Rich lines them up to call on one of his customers,” says Joe Clark, regional sales manager for Henry Schein. At the same time, “Rich follows up when he gets a lead from a manufacturer or when there is an opportunity for a sale,” he says. “He understands when there is a sense of urgency to get a deal done.”

2) Bilz stays current on technological trends. Bilz is extremely EMR-savvy and knows his customers’ EMR strategies, says Faith McKinney, RN, a Midmark Diagnostics rep. It is part of his strategy of staying one step ahead of his customers and anticipating their needs. “He doesn’t just go in to make a sale,” she says. “If someone says, ‘I need an EKG and spirometer,’ he takes it to the next step and tries to educate them on the changes in technology.” He stretches himself and nudges his customers in the same direction. “He’ll say, ‘I can sell you a box EKG, but I really want you to see the PC-based system, because I know you have an EMR coming and this is the right direction for you to move,’” says McKinney. “He recognizes what the customer needs and helps them find the best solution.

3) Bilz treats every sale like a big sale. “I tell [new reps] that you’ve got to treat every account and every phone call as if it is 100 percent important to the person making the call,” Bilz says. “If someone calls to tell you their table paper is the wrong texture, you’d better call them back and get it straight, because if you don’t, they won’t call you at all next time. Even if it’s a $20 sale, you have to treat it like it’s a thousand-dollar sale. If you’re got the repeat business but you can’t help them out [with a problem], they won’t call you for the more expensive purchases. So treat that toilet paper that was the wrong ply as if it were a chemistry analyzer.”

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