Friday, August 29, 2014

Viruses and Bacteria and Headlines, Oh My!

By Rick Fromme

Photo Courtesy of flanderstoday.eu
Many of us have heard the expression, “If it bleeds, it leads,” referring to the phenomenon that with many news outlets ― online, TV, radio and print ― the more harrowing a story, the better its chance of becoming headline news.  

One of the international medically related stories garnering this axiom is 2014’s epidemic of the Ebola virus disease that has been sweeping across swaths of West Africa and other parts of the continent. Technically, the outbreak originated in Guinea in late 2013, but it wasn’t reported until March 2014, after it had spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Augmenting our domestic awareness about the outbreak, as of August 8th, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally designated the outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern.” And when you consider this legal designation has only been used only twice before, once for the 2009 H1N1 (Swine flu) pandemic and in 2014 for the resurgence of polio, no wonder it’s still contributing to the media’s “bleed::lead” paradigm. Furthering our stateside “fear factor” has been the personal sub-story of the two U.S. residents who’d contracted the virus earlier in this summer while serving in West Africa (both of whom were released from U.S. hospitals, now “Ebola-free”).   

It’s true the Ebola virus is a major health concern in West Africa and several other countries of the vast African continent. The facts are disconcerting: Africa is currently facing its worst Ebola outbreak in history, with over 1,600 officially reported cases of infection, a death toll of 880 and rising, and a startling mortality rate of up to 90%. It’s the largest-ever recorded outbreak of Ebola since the virus’ discovery in the Democratic Republic in 1976. Worse, most epidemiologists feel the disease will continue to spread throughout additional regions of the continent before it can be arrested.


Possible Pandemic?


However, the CDC and other leading experts are virtually unanimous in emphasizing the likelihood of Ebola spreading like wildfire across the U.S. is very low. And if a developed country such as the U.S. should experience some isolated cases, our healthcare system has the wherewithal to deal with and contain the infection (in its current state). 

Photo Courtesy of www.timesofisrael.com
Dr.Leslie Lobel, an Israeli researcher at Ben Gurion University, and one the world’s few experts and leaders in developing a vaccine against the Ebola virus, feels it’s important to understand the current etiology about this Ebola outbreak and why it’s spreading so quickly in certain parts of Africa.  The American-born Lobel feels the poor security regimes of the most affected countries is one of the factors to blame for the extent of the current epidemic. Lobel points out that these countries have very “porous” borders, and their lack of quarantining methods prevents their ability to wean out the disease. Consequently, more people become infected and unknowingly spread the contagion.  

Both Dr. Lobel and the World Health Organization (WHO), feel that due to correct medical management and monitoring of the outbreak, chances are remote that even this record Ebola epidemic will morph into a global pandemic.   

Photo Courtesy of reunionblackfamily.com
Massachusetts-based risk perception consultant David Ropeik concurs. “It’s called the ‘availability heuristic,’” Ropeik recently explained on NBC News. “It’s a mental shortcut for making sense of partial information. We have lazy brains. We don’t want to think about things in a lot of detail." However, he adds, “Dying from Ebola does suck, it’s not a good way to go. That makes it scarier.”

Thankfully, a U. S.-based pandemic of Ebola is highly unlikely. Instead of fretting disproportionately about it, what we can do is donate funds, our energies, and other altruistic measures towards helping such aid organizations and charities as Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross towards helping the afflicted in Africa. And, of course, pray for those patients and/or people whose family and friends are sick or endangered.

Wipe, Wash, Wear: New Paradigm for World-Class Healthcare


Another pathogen that continues to make headlines is the ongoing challenge of preventing the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria that's become resistant to antibiotics which were regularly used to treat common staph infections. Most MRSA infections occur in people who've been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. When it occurs in these settings, it's known as healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints. 
Photo Courtesy of mrsdisease.com

Consider the following:

The CDC reports that about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one health care-associated infection. The agency estimates two million patients suffer from hospital-acquired infections (HAI) every year and nearly 100,000 of them die. Hospital-acquired infections result in up to $4.5 billion in additional healthcare expenses annually. Furthermore, more than half of all HAIs occurred outside of the intensive care unit.

The CDC’s “Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013” reports: “At least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.”

Photo Courtesy of darrelhicks.com
Of course, if you’re a health care provider, or if you’re looking for a health care job, especially in any of the clinical specialties, you know the prevention of healthcare facility and hospital-borne diseases is of paramount concern. 

Diane Raines, Baptist Health’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer in Jacksonville, Florida points out that judicious and frequent hand washing remains one of the first tiers of defense against microbial spread. So, too, are the rigorous cleaning of rooms and other surfaces, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, appropriate preparation of patients for surgery, and other measures.

However, studies have found that, outside of the operating arena ― which Raines says is usually the most sterile environment of any hospital ― problematic are soft surfaces, such as uniforms and scrubs, even doctors’ ubiquitous white coats, because they serve as vectors for the spread of organisms in many settings, especially acute care. Last February, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America issued several recommendations to prevent transmission of healthcare-associated infections from healthcare personnel attire.

Furthering its proactive mission as one of the nation’s leading healthcare systems, this past July, Baptist Health in Jacksonville became the first health system in the world to widely adopt specialized staff uniforms to repel fluids and minimize the risk of transmission of organisms. As part of its continued commitment to patient safety, Baptist Health partnered with Orlando’s Vestagen Technical Textiles, a global innovator in the development of advanced textile technologies.

Photo Courtesy of Vestagen Technical Textiles
Vestagen Technical Textiles provides comfortable, easy-to-use, continuous protection to the wearer. Its Vestex® fabric is engineered to repel fluids from the outside, wick away moisture from the inside, and control odor caused by bacteria with an imbedded antimicrobial. The clothing provides a durable fluid barrier, an antimicrobial and a special breathable material for wearer comfort. Each of these benefits lasts the life of the fabric. Vestex technologies can be adapted for a variety of uses and applications, from health care to athletic products. The antibacterial barrier technology has been shown to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on the fabric by 99.99%. (Consider that the NFL and other sports associations are also dealing with the challenge of preventing MRSA.)

Are Your Scrubs a Carrier or a Barrier? 

The fabric’s fluid barrier binds to individual fibers, resulting in material that’s highly repellent to bodily fluids, water, oil and dirt. This high repellency has been shown to synergize with Vestagen’s embedded antimicrobial technology to prevent organisms from being acquired and retained on the fabric. “It reduces the bio-burden of our hospital staff’s uniforms,” Raines says. 

Photo Courtesy of Baptist Health
More than 30,000 pieces of Vestex’s staff uniforms, lab coats and scrub jackets are being distributed in phase one and will feature Vestex textile technology. Over 6,000 Baptist Health inpatient staff, with frequent patient contact employees, including nursing, imaging, respiratory therapy, and environmental service members, have been transitioned into the new uniforms. Staff uniforms are also color-coded by function so patients can more easily recognize who is caring for them per specialty. While wearing the uniforms was voluntary throughout mid-July and August, on September 1, all staff will be required to wear the Vestex clothing, explains Raines.

“The initial rollout includes Baptist Jacksonville, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Baptist Nassau, Baptist Beaches, Baptist South, Baptist Clay Medical Campus, and Baptist Home Health Agency,” Raines says. Other Baptist-owned facilities, such as its ancillary Baptist Cancer Institute and several neighborhood outpatient clinics and physicians offices have also expressed an interest in the high-tech uniforms. 


video
Vestex Scrub Repelling Water and Fluids. Courtesy of Baptist Health

“In addition to our new staff uniforms, in late September and through October, we’ll be rolling out patient apparel featuring the same technology,” Raines continues.  “We’re providing upgraded hospital gowns, with a double-enclosed back, more pockets and access apertures, as well providing our new ‘basketball’ tops and shorts to patients that don’t require a gown.” This will be another landmark move for Baptist Health Jacksonville as it will also be the first to have Vestex patient apparel as well.

Photo Courtesy of Baptist Health
“Patients ages one year and older will receive newly-designed apparel made from Vestex-protected fabric that provides them with dignity as well as protection.” She emphasizes that, “Baptist Health is not making the change because of a problem with infection, but to be proactive in our use of technology to enhance our environment. The technology is part of a broader safety strategy designed to reduce exposure to pathogens.”

The more than $1 million Baptist Health Jacksonville has invested in providing Vestex staff uniforms and patient garments represents its commitment to safety and its brand promise of “Changing Health Care for Good.” 

Summary


In this article, I discussed two of the pathogens that have been in the news as of late: the Ebola virus and MRSA. I pointed out that while Ebola remains a challenge for several portions of Africa, the actuality of it becoming widespread in the U.S. remains remote. MRSA on the other hand, continues to be an ongoing concern. This article continues by sharing an innovative step that Baptist Health Jacksonville has taken in partnership with Vestagen Technical Textiles to widely adopt specialized staff uniforms to repel fluids and minimize the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. If you found this article useful, please feel free to share and repost it. If you have any questions or comments, as always, I’m eager to read them.


Rick Fromme combines entrepreneurial enthusiasm with an insider's knowledge of the medical industry to co-found MedMasters.com. Both his drive and perspective helps provide health care professionals with a superior mechanism with which to communicate, network and market their strengths. Prior to founding MedMasters.com, Rick operated a highly successful medical device distributorship. Other milestones in his 12-year career in the medical industry include a key position at a medical device start-up company that was later sold to the Ethicon Endo division of Johnson & Johnson. You may also reach Rick by connecting with him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative



By Rick Fromme

The pharmaceutical industry has weathered some highs and lows in the recent past ― mobile technology,healthcare reform, increasing regulations, and global economic issues have all affected many leading firms. Some have had to lay off some of their sales force and other positions. Nonetheless, most industry pundits believe there’s still a robust job market for those looking to get into pharmaceutical sales jobs.

As with the need for many other clinical, administrative and IT healthcare jobs, one of the primary factors driving its anticipated growth rate is demographics.  All those once “Dancing-in- the-Street” Baby Boomers are now reaching their Golden Years, some in better health than others. This massive age shift within America’s and other Western nations’ population is profound. The number of Americans aged 65 and up is expected to nearly double in the next decade. Some estimate nearly 70 million people will reach age 65 and over by 2030. This major change in the U.S.’ population is one of the principle reasons pharma sales jobs will continue their upward momentum through increased demand. Why? Because the majority of prescriptions are written for individuals 65 and older. Our advances in healthcare are also contributing to this seismic age shift due to healthier lifestyles, new medical devices, innovative surgical techniques, better aftercare and, of course, the research and development of pharmaceuticals that also help prolong life and/or facilitate people’s ability to live well into their “twilight” years.  

There are a few other reasons why choosing a pharma sales job is an excellent career choice to pursue in this growth industry. 

For one thing, the pharmaceutical industry is virtually recession-proof. People, their beloved pets and livestock will always suffer from illness. Humans (plus our companion and livestock animals) will continue to need drugs to assist in their healing after an injury or illness, to thwart potential diseases, to recover after surgery, and to enjoy a higher quality of life.  

Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies invest more in research and development more than any industry, nearly tripling what the automobile industry spends. Because of the potential for huge profits, pharma firms spend millions to develop new drugs and treatments. Considering the actual number of drugs being researched that actually other do receive FDA approval, it’s not uncommon for pharma companies to have a one in ten success rate as to which of its drugs currently under research and development actually makes to the marketplace.

Take a look at the FDA’s report, “Approved Drugs 2013,” to see all the new drugs that were recently approved. In fact, the report points out: 

“One-third (33%) of the NMEs [New Molecular Entities] approved in CY 2013 (9 of 27) were identified by FDA as First-in-Class, meaning drugs which, for example, use a new and unique mechanism of action for treating a medical condition. First-in-Class is one indicator of the innovative nature of a drug and a 33% First-in-Class approval rate suggests that the group of CY 2013 NMEs is a field of innovative new products.”

Most major firms predominately focus on promoting a handful of drugs at any one time. Over 70% of a firm’s revenue comes from 20% of its drugs ( as per PhRMA’s [Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America] “Pharmaceutical Industry Profile 2001”). While there are associated financial risks, the potential for profit is much higher. The pharma industry’s commitment towards future products is yet another factor that continues to make pharmaceutical sales jobs a vibrant career choice.

Find Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs on MedMasters.com

Characteristics & Education


Generally speaking, successful pharmaceutical sales representatives are intelligent and extremely
professional. A pharmaceutical sales representative sells technologically and chemically advanced products to highly intelligent physicians, APRNs and PAs in very professional environments. A pharma rep is expected to sell their firms’ multimillion-dollar drugs to skilled providers across the full panoply of different specialties.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college is required to become a pharmaceutical sales representative. Pharmaceutical companies prefer candidates with degrees in a life science (such as biology). However, sometimes a firm will consider applicants with other bachelor’s degrees.  Graduating from college with a high GPA demonstrates you’ve the wherewithal to master new information and have the discipline to reach a long-range goal. 

That said, the competition to break into pharmaceutical sales at the college level ― any level, really ― is extremely competitive. Some pharma firms recruit their sales personnel from recent or soon-to-be graduates. And some major pharma firms recruit directly from college campuses at job fairs, etc. Securing an interview can be challenging.  Quite often, the interviewer’s schedule is filled up very quickly as only a dozen or two students of about of 15,000 may be selected for a one-on-one.  Be prepared, however. You thought final exams were tough? The pharmaceutical interview process is probably one the biggest series of “exams” you’ll ever encounter.  

Sometimes, licensed health care clinicians decide to transition into pharma sales. There are severaltransitions often seen in within the field of medical and pharmaceutical sales.  Some of these include:

  • Moving from a career in pharmaceutical sales to selling medical devices or products
  • Moving from a clinical role to a sales role
  • Forced transitions, i.e., layoffs, downsizing

Many pharmaceutical and medical device companies are moving to a more clinically oriented sales approach.  To accomplish this, some companies have transitioned from hiring B2B sales persons to hiring sales reps who can sell, and who, through their previous clinical expertise, are able to provide experiential information and value to their clients.  

Medical products such as laboratory equipment, radiological and surgical products often involve hands-on demonstration. Hence, hiring an employee with clinical skills proves advantageous. Adding a sales representative with clinical background establishes product credibility, customer trust. Depending upon the type of equipment or product the clinical salesperson is representing, s/he may be involved in training medical personnel (including physicians) on how to use the equipment (i.e., robotic surgery platforms such as the da Vinci).  

Professionally speaking, a pharmaceutical sales representative must be flexible, resilient and capable ofchanging their schedule ― sometimes at the last minute because many of their clients (physicians, dentists, veterinarians, ARNPs and PAs encounter emergencies). 

Given the above caveat, sales reps are usually charged with having a daily, weekly and monthly roster of clients on whom to call. On average, that’s about eight to ten per day, depending upon the size of the pharma rep’s territory and how many clients are included within it.  The number of doctors in an urban area is higher than in rural ones ― particularly in cities with a strong medical community, such as Jacksonville and Gainesville in Florida, Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; Rochester, MN; Scottsdale and Phoenix, AZ; the Washington, D.C. area (with its numerous military/medical facilities), etc. 

A typical day may start off early with a breakfast meeting at a doctor’s office and end after 10 p.m. after sharing a meal at a restaurant with several physicians in a busy group practice. Subsequent sales calls are made in the mornings and afternoons. 

In this article, I discussed several reasons why becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative is an intelligent career choice, especially citing the changing demographics of the American population. I also provided an overview of pharma companies’ research and development, especially regarding bringing new products to the marketplace. I then discussed some of the personal and professional characteristics of successful pharmaceutical representatives, and also highlight requisite educational requirements. If you found this article useful, please feel free to share and repost it. If you have any questions or comments, as always, I’m eager to read them.


Rick Fromme combines entrepreneurial enthusiasm with an insider's knowledge of the medical industry to co-found MedMasters.com. Both his drive and perspective help provide health care professionals with a superior mechanism with which to communicate, network and market their strengths. Prior to founding MedMasters.com, Rick operated a highly successful medical device distributorship. Other milestones in his 12-year career in the medical industry include a key position at a medical device start-up company that was later sold to the Ethicon Endo division of Johnson & Johnson. You may also reach Rick by connecting with him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Successful Medical Device Sales: How to Uncover Your Prospects’ Pain to Get Them to Buy



By Rick Fromme

A Pain That I'm Used To
A Pain That I'm Used To (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the biggest emotions we have is pain or discomfort. When medical sales reps can uncover their clients’ poignant pain and offer a solution to remove that pain, they’re more likely to get the deal. (Incidentally, in a subsequent blog, I’ll discuss how job candidates and interviewees can directly apply this proven methodology during their interviews to maximize their results.) 


People buy emotionally and make decisions intellectually.  That is, people often make buying decisions from an emotional, non-rational basis, whether they realize it or not.  Successful medical device sales reps can benefit from understanding and utilizing this concept to close more sales consistently.

One of the biggest emotions we have is pain or discomfort. When medical sales reps can uncover their clients’ poignant pain and offer a solution to remove that pain, they’re more likely to get the deal. (Incidentally, in a subsequent blog, I’ll discuss how job candidates and interviewees can directly apply this proven methodology during their interviews to maximize their results.)  

After obtaining a legitimate lead, first things first, you need to build a rapport. This is crucial. In order to help establish a rapport, you need to learn more about the key decision makers who will ultimately approve the purchase order (administrator, hospital manager, OR manager, purchasing department head, etc.) and his or her hospital, department, etc.  Research time: Find out as much about this individual (or individuals) as possible so that when you do meet them, you can build upon some avenues of commonality. You need to personally or professionally identify with the prospect. Whether it’s a mutual acquaintance, graduated from the same school, share similar hobbies, belong to the same professional groups, attend the same house of worship, etc., you have about 15-30 seconds for a prospect to size you up and determine if they’re going to like you. 


The second step is to have a conversation to probe and determine what are their true needs and pains. The key ― by running them through a series of probing questions ― is to identify the emotional pain they may feel towards the issue you’re discussing and getting them to tell you what would be the ideal solution. You don’t want to go through all the features and benefits of your product if it doesn’t address a prospect’s true interests and/or needs.  For example, let’s say someone learns I’m in the marketplace for a boat. So they contact me about their various motorboats, telling me how fast they are, discuss various outboard motor options, the boats’ amenities such as diving platforms, if they can rigged for deep sea fishing, etc. Right?

Wrong. Turns out, I’m in the market for a small, easy-to-operate, personal sailboat. 

Sailboat GBR 50816, Sada, Galicia (Spain)
Sailboat GBR 50816, Sada, Galicia (Spain) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m a big proponent of a system developed and taught by Sandler Training. What I learned in Sandler Training is that after building rapport, before you start talking about your product and what it has to offer, you need to back up and start asking probing questions. You’re trying to find out what their pain or discomfort is. By locating their pain and learning how it makes them feel, they’ll tell you what happened to them in the past, what other products they’ve purchased, what their concerns are, etc. You have to expose and understand those underlying issues, similar to a psychologist who’s trying to help a client experiencing emotional difficulties. 

At that point, once you’ve established what their pain points or concerns are, you can position your product and/or services to eliminate their pain. When doing so, you’re predominately going to highlight the specific features and benefits of your product and/or service that are going to make their pain go away, whether it’s customer service, costs, features and benefits, cross-specialty utilization, ease of use/training, etc. You’ll predominately share those key elements of your product and/or service that are going to make them feel better. 

It’s actually kind of like an interview, with you taking judicious notes. You ask them what they want and why, and, if you’ve followed through with the above, they’ll tell you. Hence, when you create your proposal, it will address exactly what they told you they wanted, based on their emotional pain or concerns. Chances are, if you demonstrate how your products or service can alleviate their pain, you’ve clinched the deal.  Never put together a proposal or bid without understanding why they want to buy from an emotional standpoint.


Here’s a real-life example from when I was a successful medical device sales rep at Medtronic:

One of the products I used to sell was image-guided surgery (IGS) systems. This equipment allows surgeons in a variety of specialties to three dimensionally track surgical instrumentation while navigating through high-risk anatomical areas such as the brain, sinus cavities, spine, and other delicate regions. It’s like an internal GPS system. These systems are fairly pricey, ranging between $180,000 to  $500,000+.


One day, I received a general lead from a hospital O.R. director in southeast Georgia that wanted to purchase an image guided stem. At that time, Medtronic was just one of many companies offering this sophisticated device, along with GE, Stryker, Brainlab and others. 

I knew this was a C- Level decision, so I called the hospital’s administrator several times ― for this story, I’ll call him “Mr. Jones”― but he wasn’t returning my calls. So I reached out to Mr. Jones’ secretary who told me to send in a bid for one of my firm’s IGS systems  just as my other competitors already had. I said, “Sure, but I’d like to drop the proposal off in person so I can briefly introduce myself to Mr. Jones.” She made an appointment for the following week for us to get together. 

English: Georgia Bulldogs helmet. Made with Ph...
 Georgia Bulldogs helmet. Made with Photoshop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I still didn’t know exactly what Mr. Jones wanted, that is, what his specific emotional pains or concerns were regarding this piece of capital equipment. In order to discover these, I needed to talk to him.  But before  doing so, I needed to learn more about Mr. Jones. I did my  research and found out he’d graduated from the University of Georgia, that he was a big football fan, was a strong alumni supporter, etc. 

So when I went to visit him, I wore a red shirt and black pants. No kidding. And, of course, once I was in his office, we immediately started talking about the Georgia Bulldogs, college football, the SEC, and the like. In talking with him, I also made certain comments and observations that would help establish some type of common ground between us.  


Eventually he asked me, “Where’s the bid?” 


Keeping in mind that several other companies had already submitted theirs, I replied, “There were several bids I could send, but I wasn’t sure which one would be best. However, I’m happy to fax you the bid once I know exactly what it is you want.” With that, I began my interview process by asking probing questions to ascertain his concerns (i.e., “pains”). 
BellcoFormula in
BellcoFormula in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We’ve purchased expensive capital equipment before because our docs said they’d wanted it,” Mr. Jones explained. “But several times these investments just turned into large and costly ‘paperweights’ that nobody uses,’” he said ruefully. He then went on to mention some of his other pains, such as experiencing poor customer service with previous suppliers and having to moderate multi-specialty requests for similar equipment. 


“You really should only buy what you’re going to be comfortable with,” I responded, after carefully noting his issues with previous expenditures. 

My meeting turned out to be fairly comprehensive, where Mr. Jones ended up telling me exactly what he wanted and why, all the way down to the terms, pricing, guarantees, service requirements and other key details. “Give me a day or two and I’ll have your bid,” I said, exiting his office. “And go Dawgs!” 


As promised, a couple of days later, I drove back up to Georgia to personally drop off the bid he’d requested. 

English:
 "$!" in Old Script font. Italiano: "$!" nel carattere Old Script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After taking a few moments to look it over, Mr. Jones looked up at me and said, “Rick, this is exactly what we want.” It’s as if he’d forgotten about our previous conversation. For in creating the bid, I essentially gave him precisely what he needed that would address his needs and “pains” that I’d uncovered.  He then told me he was going to sign a requisition for my IGS system.  In response, I asked him what he was going to do if one of the competitors came back around trying to get his business. He answered with a Cheshire Cat-like grin, “I haven’t spoken to them and only received bids from them. I’ve not spoken to any of them. But if they come sniffing around, I’ll make them go away.” And I landed the deal. (No small feat in the competitive world of medical capital equipment sales). 

To summarize the steps I took to secure this lucrative sale: 


  • Research your client
  • Build rapport
  • Ask probing questions
  • Identify the client’s “pains” (Why do they want to buy this product?)
  • Discover what’s in it for them personally/professionally (i.e., gaining respect for championing a product into the hospital)
  • Create a proposal customized to their specific needs
  • Coach them how to handle your competition after they’ve committed to you

About the Sandler Selling System®


David H. Sandler developed his proprietary methodology — an innovative, non-traditional selling system —in the late 1960s, and subsequently created the concept of “reinforcement training” to support it.  From that foundation, he then created a series of proven sales training programs for small- and mid-sized companies and Fortune 500 corporations. He went on to found the Sandler Sales Institute®. Sandler provides both basic and advanced selling methods, strategies and tactics that are marketplace proven across a wide variety of sales. It then provides ongoing support to reinforce its principles until they’re mastered. This powerful reinforcement training is Sandler’s key point of difference from all other training in the marketplace.

The firm changed its name to Sandler Training® in 2008, to more accurately reflect the diversity of its training offerings, which have expanded beyond sales training to include management, leadership, negotiating skills, customer service, as well as executive coaching and mentoring.  It has now grown into an organization that dominates the global training market, with more than 200 offices worldwide, providing instruction in 27 languages.

In this article, I discussed the importance of why and how successful medical device sales representatives should discover a prospect’s “pain” in order to provide meaningful solutions to alleviating it. I gave a personal example of how I effectively closed a major medical device sale using these techniques established and taught by Sandler Training. I also briefly provided some information about Sandler Training. If you found this article useful, please feel free to share and repost it. If you have any questions or comments, as always, I’m eager to read them.

Rick Fromme combines entrepreneurial enthusiasm with an insider's knowledge of the medical industry to co-found MedMasters.com. Both his drive and perspective helps provide health care professionals with a superior mechanism with which to communicate, network and market their strengths. Prior to founding MedMasters.com, Rick operated a highly successful medical device distributorship. Other milestones in his 12-year career in the medical industry include a key position at a medical device start-up company that was later sold to the Ethicon Endo division of Johnson & Johnson. You may also reach Rick by connecting with him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube