Having trouble closing sales? More often than not, there’s a good reason why a salesperson can call contacts, set up meetings and consistently fall short when it comes time to seal the deal. A bad product is rarely to blame, however, and in fact, many medical product distributors have most of their ducks in a row.
Of course, when you’re selling in an industry as competitive and rife with skepticism as healthcare, even one mistake can cost you the sale. To help, we’ve compiled the eight most common pitfalls we’ve seen medical product distributors make, and how you can correct these pitfalls to start boosting your close rate and build better client relationships today.
1. Reaching Out Too Often
When you’re selling to a busy, always-on-the-move physician or rehab specialist, you walk a fine line between too much and too little communication. Reach out too often, and future emails and calls will be ignored. If you don’t “nudge” a prospect every once in a while, however, you’ll eventually lose the sale to a competitor who calls at just the right time.
To achieve the right balance, use email and phone calls at appropriate times, assuming your prospect will be too busy for real-time communication during peak hours. Grab their attention with a simple, to-the-point headline or introduction, and don’t waste time with obviously leading questions. Finally, wait about 48 hours in between follow-up attempts, but venture into more frequent territory once you’ve piqued their interest.
2. Overtly “Salesy” Communication
Today’s consumers don’t respond well to aggressive, “salesy” communications; businesspeople just can’t stand it. When your prospect stands to save time, make more money or deliver better patient care with your product, there’s no need for anything but the truth. Explain how your company can help theirs, and let your reputation, reliability and product quality make the sale.
3. Giving Away Too Many Freebies
Demos and giveaways are great for showing off what your product does and how it can benefit them. But giving away too many freebies inevitably will undervalue your product in your prospect’s eyes.
And if you’re selling a high-dollar, non-consumable item that can’t be given away, the only freebies you have to give are apparel, office supplies and other trinkets. Customers will enjoy these items if you build a good relationship, but they’re not going to help you close a sale.
4. Not Asking Enough Questions
Every hospital, rehab department and outpatient clinic is different, and even if you have years of healthcare experience, you won’t know your prospect’s specific needs and pain points — until you ask. In any first meeting, you should be asking questions and listening more than talking about your products.
5. Poor Pre-Call Planning
Are your interviewing skills up to snuff? Any first-time call (or in-person meeting) with a prospect should involve plenty of research and brainstorming. What questions are you going to ask? What sales strategies do you think will work best, and how will you adjust those strategies based on your prospect’s answers?
What is the prospect's role and how are you personalizing your presentation to their needs? For example, the CEO of a healthcare organization will have different objectives than a physical therapist.
The best information comes from follow-up questions, but you won’t get that far if you haven’t done your homework.
6. Not Understanding the Clinical Environment
You know all the studies associated with your product line, and you’ve seen it work in demonstrations — but how does it fit into the workflow of a therapist, trainer or physician? Without an in-depth knowledge of the clinical environment, you won’t be able to ask the specific questions that show your prospect you truly understand their needs.
7. Demonstrating to the Wrong Personnel
Physical therapists and their techs are going to use your product, so why are you showing it off to hospital administrators? Every large organization will have gatekeepers, and you need to get past them to speak directly to your target audience. In many cases, these won’t be the same people who make the purchase decision, but their word will carry a lot more weight than yours in a budget meeting.
8. Emphasizing Features Over Benefits
Prospects want to know how your product reduces healing times, streamlines workflows or improves patient outcomes. The features that lead to those benefits are important, but if you focus on those features during a demo, don’t be surprised if you don’t close the sale. If anything, features lead to objections and skepticism early in the sales process. Let your prospects appreciate the potential benefits, and then explain the “how” behind the “what.”
If you’re guilty of one of these pitfalls, you’re not alone. But by eliminating these behaviors, you’ll be able to quickly meet your sales goals, increase customer loyalty and develop lucrative long-term relationships with your contacts.