There is a mixed-blessing to earning commissions through recurring business. The plus side is the continuous selling of product with the associated steady flow of income. The potential downside is losing focus on expanding the customer base and product mix; in other words, you stop growing, become complacent and start coasting.
Medical sales is hard, and it’s easy to get caught up in the “busy work.” I consider busy work the activities that help you to maintain your business, but do little if anything to gain new business. Often, these tasks could and should be considered “minimum wage activities.” It’s a common paradox to find people who got into medical sales to earn a six figure income and then spend their days doing tasks for which an unskilled labor force receives on average $10 per hour! It’s the sales rep who makes deliveries herself instead of paying a courier to do it so she can make two or three sales calls instead. It’s the sales rep who delivers literature to a customer without having a sales conversation, when the same result can be achieved by sticking the literature in an envelope and buying a sixty cents postage stamp. Or it’s the surgical sales rep who schleps instruments and implants around the territory until 11:00 pm at night to set up for a customer’s surgical case the next day. It’s no small wonder that customers often see medical sales reps as little more than highly paid delivery people.
Talk to any of these reps and they will tell you that they’re working their asses off, and truthfully they are. They are working hard, but doing easy work. The hard work is selling, but it’s easy to avoid that by just staying busy instead of creating the time to do what you’re really paid to do—SELL. Metaphorically, you’re on the bike, but you’re not pedaling—you’re coasting!
Coasting in sales is when you’re doing what you need to do to keep the money flowing, but you’re not doing much, if anything, to increase your sales volume. The pitfall is finding yourself comfortable with the money you’re making and patting yourself on the back for maintaining the business and keeping your customers happy.
Sales representatives are an endangered species. Your relevancy is shifting due to the plethora of information that is available to your customers at the click of a mouse. The information that you fail to provide will eventually be found by your customers on their own. And when that happens, the only thing left to consider is who will deliver the product or service? If it’s you, than you really are just a delivery person.
When you’re not fanatically focused on selling, you’re coasting. Don’t confuse being busy with being successful. Success in medical sales requires you to get a customer who is not currently using your product to buy from you. Or it’s getting one of your current customers to buy a product from you that she is currently buying from someone else. But if all you’re doing is scrambling to hold onto the business you already have, make no mistake—you’re coasting—and coasting only works when you’re going downhill.
— By Mace Horoff. Visit www.MedicalSalesTraining.com for more.