Dr. Drew: Dr. Wendy O’Connor

Today’s report is a fantastic episode of Dr. Drew’s award-nominated podcast with a  sit-down interview with physician and psychiatrist Dr. Wendy O’Connor (drwendyoconnor.com), author of the new book, Teens and Technology [AMAZON LINK] as well as Stay Open, and an expert on attachment theory in relationships. Dr. Wendy M. O’Connor is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Brentwood, California. She has worked in various settings with over seventeen years of experience in the community.

Dr. O’Connor explains the difference between “secure attachment,” with a loving mother and father in the home to help guide a child into adulthood and “Anxious and Ambivalent” style that functions on a hot/cold, difficult-to-relate-to personality, and the dreaded “Avoidant” attitude that is the hallmark of an actual attachment disorder where the subject is unable to form close bonds.

Dr. O’Connor teaches classes that train fathers to attach with their infants, walking them through the steps needed to imprint on another person, including the basics of just making eye contact and greeting people upon their appearance in the area. Her original classes were designed for autistic people to integrate, but she laments that technology has kept so many people’s eyes on their phones that they no longer can generate in-person social intimacy anymore.

Dr. O’Connor draws a conclusion that the phone-addicted kids of today are essentially latchkey kids in the new world, even if parents are present – their need for validation goes online rather than to parents and basic downtime communication with ‘appropriate’ attachment targets. She definitely veers into pearl-clutching territory talking about mothers of newborns on their iPhones during sessions, but as a mental health professional, she may have a statistically significant baseline to draw from.

When they go to the phones, a surprising current appears, which is along with chemical and therapy solutions to mental health, both Dr. O’Connor and Dr. Drew suggest literally “gutting it out” and finding something to motivate yourself to move forward with your disease.

Another interesting development is that while Dr. O’Connor seems to loathe modern connectivity tools, she does almost half of her personal practice meetings via Skype; learning to attune to another person and create attachment takes practice. Most of creating attachment is just showing up – whether it’s to tennis class or an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Being in the moment is enough to get the wheels moving on creating new attachments and working through dysfunction.

In the end, Dr. Wendy O’Connor supports people forming attachments in youth, and if that’s not possible or the opportunity is already passed, to just show up. A broad-spectrum, whole-life solution is the answer, be it interacting with your faith, volunteering or just taking in nature/humanity, in addition to chemical and therapeutic answers.

6 Tips to Rewriting Your Resume for Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales is an immensely popular industry in the U.S. and abroad, both because of the excellent earning potential and the fact that sales reps often have the opportunity to create their own schedule rather than being tied down nine-to-five in an office. There is also a lot of growth in the field, from sales representative to district manager to regional or territory manager and finally to corporate roles.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that hundreds, even thousands, of resumes are received each month by pharmaceutical recruiters and the HR offices of pharmaceutical companies.

So how is someone supposed to stand out?

Well, the first thing is experience. If you have a strong background in sales, especially pharmaceutical sales or medical sales, you’ve got an edge — maybe. Like everything else, there isn’t one hard rule on the ideal pharmaceutical sales candidate. For example, some companies prefer candidates without any industry experience — at least for those more entry-level positions — because they prefer new hires go through the company’s training program to learn their way.

But what about those job seekers who don’t come from one of the top two backgrounds? In those cases, it’s essential to highlight the pertinent, transferable skills you do have in such a way so that you attract the attention of hiring professionals. Let’s look at how you can do this.

1. What’s on The Pharmaceuticals’ Wish List? This step involves identifying what skills and backgrounds companies look for in potential pharmaceutical sales reps and determining which ones you have, so that you can highlight them in your resume. Examples might be previous sales experience, account management, event management, communications, psychology, and customer service. If you are a recent college graduate, finding your transferable skills might be harder, so look beyond the classroom. Were you involved in fundraising activities? Work a retail job in the summer? Complete advanced projects for a particular class?

You might be wondering how some of these things are related to sales, but if you think carefully, you’ll see that transferable skills are not always obvious but they are important. For instance, a background in psychology prepares a person for using subtle phrases and strategies to mold their opinion on something, such as a product, or to spot non-verbal clues to how a person is feeling about a product. Event management can be important because many pharmaceutical sales roles involve arranging meetings, lectures, and presentations with medical staff. Fund raising is a type of sales that is even harder to do than most – you’re trying to get people to give you money and get nothing in return!

2. Turning Your Experience into Keywords. Now that you’ve identified your skills, it’s time to craft the proper phrasing in the resume. It’s essential that you incorporate industry-specific keywords when you describe your experience and skills. What are some important keywords for pharmaceutical sales? Sales and Marketing, Account Management, Territory Management, Revenue Growth, Relationship Management, Customer Service, and Presentations, just to name a few. You can find plenty of the most common ones just by reading a handful of pharmaceutical sales rep job descriptions. But building keywords into your resume goes beyond the obvious. Sales is all about personality, so think about the attributes a good sales person has. They are aggressive without being obnoxious, they see ‘nos’ as opportunities, they are experts at the products they sell, and they are personable and friendly. While you don’t want to focus too much on personality in a resume, you can usually sneak in some ‘soft’ skills:

Aggressive but friendly Sales Professional with consistent history of penetrating and acquiring accounts.

Even if you don’t have pharmaceutical or medical sales experience, that is a sentence that will appeal to just about any hiring manager when they see it at the top of your resume.

3. Branding Statements & Taglines.  A one or two-line branding statement will do wonders for your resume, and can help set you apart from other candidates. A good branding statement can be crafted by taking your 15-second elevator pitch (you do have one for your interview, don’t you?) and reworking it so that it gives someone a great idea of who you are. Remember our sample keyword sentence from earlier?

Aggressive but friendly Sales Professional with consistent history of penetrating and acquiring accounts.

That’s an excellent branding statement for a sales professional.

Following the branding statement, it’s always a good idea to have a tag line. This is a related sentence or group of words that demonstrates the value you have to offer. Look at this example:

Award-winning Sales Representative – Top 5% Producer and consistent President’s Club Winner

The branding statement and tag line also serve as excellent segues into your career summary.

4. Include the Right Information.  This article isn’t about the specifics of resume format. If you are looking to shape a resume for the pharmaceutical sector, you should already have a good idea of the different parts of a resume – summary, experience, education, training, etc. What we want to do now is remind you to include special information that you might have normally left off your resume. Do you have any previous experience in the healthcare field? Maybe you took some medical coding courses-add them to your training section. Perhaps in high school or college you volunteered at a hospital – put it in community service. In college, did you take some biology classes? Mention those in your education section. Anything you can add that is relevant to the pharmaceutical industry is going to help you. The same goes for individuals who might be coming from a healthcare background but don’t have any sales experience. Did you take business courses in college or some sales training seminars earlier in your career? When appropriate, add them into the resume!

Another thing is to make sure you don’t take anything for granted. Too often I see people put this in their education section:

Biology, College Name

To a reader, that means nothing. Did you take one biology course? Do you have an Associate’s Degree? A Bachelor’s? The resume isn’t the place for hiding information or being vague. Here is how the education section should look:

Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, School XYZ


Course work in Biology, School XYZ, including Anatomy, Advanced Biology, and Biochemistry.

Most pharmaceutical companies want their candidates to hold at least a Bachelor’s; maybe others are not as strict. However, all of them value education and training, so be sure not to leave something off the resume that could help you.

5. Tell Your Story Correctly.  Pharmaceutical companies and recruiters prefer to see not only what you have done, but how you achieved it. Some people make the mistake of only including half the information in their job descriptions; either they omit their achievements or they fail to show how they achieved their results. When you’re writing your resume, be sure to use a Situation/Action/Result style to tell each story. This means describing the problem, showing the action you took, and listing the result.

In order to achieve sales growth for new product, developed multiple sales strategies that led to 18% market penetration six weeks ahead of projected timeline.

The situation was to grow the product, the action was to develop sales strategies, and the result was 18% market penetration. Pharmaceutical companies are very results-driven, so including as many quantifiable results as you can on the resume will be a big help in terms of getting you more interviews.

6. Review Your Resume.  This is critical. After the resume is written, do not send it out to anyone until you and at least two other people (preferably someone with superior grammar and spelling skills) has looked it over. Remember, you are up against a lot of competition. Even a couple of typos, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or punctuation mistakes can mean the difference between getting an interview or having your resume end up in the trash.

Also important is providing complete contact information (omitting your email address or phone number is a major red flag in HR offices).

With these tips in mind, rebuilding your resume for pharmaceutical sales positions will not only be possible, but also effective.

Good luck!

Teena Rose is the author of Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.”

8 Things to Know When Targeting Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales remains a popular and intriguing career that not only attracts people with sales and/or healthcare experience, but even people with no experience in either area. People are drawn to pharmaceutical sales for a variety of reasons – a good pay scale, opportunity for travel and promotion. Pharmaceutical sales roles attract folks from all walks of life. Thousands of people apply for pharmaceutical sales positions each week; at the same time, there are only limited jobs available. This means competition is tough – very tough! – for these roles, and companies are looking to hire only those applicants with the best possible credentials.

With this in mind, I have put together a list of 8 things to be aware of if you’re looking to obtain a position in pharmaceutical sales.

1. Keep Your Nose Clean.
Companies today regularly do background checks, and pharmaceutical firms are no exception. You can expect not only a review of your employment background, but also your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, your references, and even your driver’s license. Remember, things you do today can stick around in the Internet for years. Think ahead!

2. Sales Cycle Management. Pharmaceutical sales is very different than traditional product sales, because in many instances you are more focused on marketing products and educating physicians about products than you are on selling the actual product. You will often be required to bring the product to someone’s attention, set up conferences and seminars for doctors and their staff, and then convince the person to switch from whatever competitor product they are using to the one you are selling. This could take weeks or even months. In pharmaceutical sales, patience is a virtue, and the ability to build relationships, make friends, and put people at ease is as important as negotiation skills.

3. High Energy and Self-Motivation. Long hours, evening and weekend appointments, travel, meetings – it isn’t easy being a pharmaceutical rep. Companies are looking for individuals who can motivate themselves, especially in positions where nine-to-five is a schedule reserved for office staff only. Companies will expect you to hustle for new business while increasing prescriptions from existing accounts. If you’re the type of person who struggles to get to work on time, enjoys having a regular schedule, and does their best work when it is assigned rather than creating your own projects, pharmaceutical sales probably isn’t the best career path for you.

4. Education Is Essential. Pharmaceutical sales position consistently state that a Bachelor’s degree is required. Occasionally a company is willing to overlook a lack of degree when a person has years of experience in sales, but this is very rare. So if you are thinking of moving into the field of pharmaceutical or healthcare sales and you haven’t finished your undergraduate degree, it might make sense to complete the degree before you start applying for jobs.

5. Stable Employees Wanted. Pharmaceutical companies put a lot of effort and money into training their sales teams. The last thing they want is someone who works for a few months and then decides to switch companies or career paths, or decides it’s time to move again. So you can be sure that they’ll look at your previous work history to see if you are a ‘job hopper’ or if you have a history of staying with a company for several years.

6. Enjoy Being On The Move.
Many pharmaceutical positions require travel and/or relocation. A person who is readily available for travel or relocation definitely stands a better chance of being considered for positions.

7. Not All Sales Positions Are Created Equal. In pharmaceutical sales, there are different types of positions. Direct sales, where a person is promoting the products directly to a physician or group of physicians. This is often the entry level or basic position in the sales hierarchy, and frequently deals with popular, mass-market products. Then there are specialty sales, where a sales person is selling within a specific category, such as cardiac or antivirals, and will frequently target specialists within the healthcare sector, for example cardiac surgeons or internists. Finally, there are hospital sales, which is just what you might guess from the title. These representatives will often be targeting large medical departments and hospital pharmacies, promoting entire catalogs of products. On top of this, you have regional managers, district managers, trainers and training managers – with so many different levels of sales, it is important that a person applies for the correct position in order to be considered.

8. Understand The Bottom Line. Remember, when a company is looking to fill a position, they are not just looking to fill a position. They are looking for their next ‘Number One’ salesperson. Pharmaceutical companies want people who will consistently excel in their position; people with a drive to outdo the competition, build profitable relationships, and ideally break sales records. People who will do everything in their power to deliver sales. If you aren’t sure if you have that drive, then odds are you don’t, and pharmaceutical sales isn’t for you.

However, if you are a person who is focused on success and thrives in a position where stability, regular schedules, and low pressure situations are most definitely not the norm, then maybe it’s time to start getting your resume in order and start applying!

Teena Rose is the author of Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.”

7 Steps to Breaking into the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceuticals are always a hot consumer sector, and with the aging baby boomers coming online, it’s a sector sure to continue growing. But gaining employment into the industry isn’t easy. Competition is fierce and companies can choose from the cream of the crop. So, how do you become part of that creamy crop?

1. College Graduates Wanted

There was a time when pharma reps completed their degrees in chemistry or biology and landed a well-paying job before the ink was dry on their diplomas. Not so, any more. Larger drug makers rarely, if ever, hire individuals who only have two-year degrees. Why? Because there are so many viable applicants with Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, they don’t have to.

Pharmaceutical companies want the highest calibre representatives. These men and women are the face of the company — and a Bachelor’s degree represents company quality better than an Associate’s in liberal arts. So, step one to breaking into this lucrative profession – get an education. Get lots of education, so you become more desirable within this highly specialized industry.

2. Consider an Internship

If you’ve got the credentials but lack the experience, consider signing on as an intern for one of the larger pharmaceuticals. Big pharmaceutical companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, and Lilly Pharmaceutical, also offer intern programs. It’s a great way to learn the industry, an even better way to make valuable contacts.

3. Consider an Associated Sales Position

If your goal is to represent a pharmaceutical company, you may want to gain related experience with another company – for example a medical supply company or possibly work a part-time job at a doctor’s office. Being on that side of the “fence” can expose you to medical terminology, jargon, and put you in the position to witness what pharmaceutical reps could/do face on a daily basis.

It’s highly unlikely that a drug manufacturer will hire a rep without some sales or sales-related experience (customer service, marketing, customer relationship building). Yes, they’re looking for credentialed reps, too, but they also want you to have some sales aptitude behind you too. So, if you can land a job with a company that provides goods and services peripheral to the field, you’ll be gaining valuable and sought-after business-to-business experience.

4. Prepare a Killer Resume — Even if You Don’t Have Sales Experience

Your resume must be right on target, even if you don’t have any sales background to speak of. That’s why most serious sales professionals, whether account managers, new business development, regional/national/international sales, hire a professional resume writer to design a resume that stands out from the rest. Professional writers can open doors not opened otherwise. What jobseekers fail to understand is that a great resume is an investment into a great future. Without a top-notch resume, you’re dooming your career to flounder.

Not to discourage you, but Internet job postings for pharmaceutical reps are rumored to generate 1,000s of responses, each with a resume attached. Would your resume stand out? If you can’t answer, yes, you’re not going anywhere.

5. Network

It’s always easier to land a position with an in-house referral, so meet with professionals who are already doing the work. But what if you don’t know any reps? Utilize online networks, such as MedZilla to align with people who are already within the pharmaceutical industry. Here is a quick snapshot of pharmaceutical sales reps on MedZilla. Delicately and professionally send unobtrusive emails to pharmaceutical reps working in your area to converse electronically and potentially set up a face-to-face appointment to chat.

You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist for professional recommendations. These medical insiders work with reps and will usually have a drawer full of business cards they’ll share with an up-and-comer. Important note: Many reps are inundated with requests for information from people just like you – strangers. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back. That’s why you’ll have better success if you send out personalized and targeted letters to a well-researched list of those in the industry.

6. Apply Strategically

Start with an Internet search. You’ll discover that there are sites that list job openings across the country, like MedZilla.com. Most drug makers also post openings on their individual company sites, so add these sites to your favorites list and check back often. Get subscriptions to a professional publications on drug discovery and development, pharmacology, and other industry news. Taking this extra step, you can remain current on trends and happenings within the industry. To break through, you absolutely must keep abreast of industry trends, issues, and activities.

7. Be Persistent

Persistence is a positive characteristic in any sales position. Pharmaceutical sales is no exception. So, don’t worry about being a bother. If you don’t land job #1, move on to job #2 and #3 and #4. It may take time, but if you stick to the playbook, you’ll find yourself in a position of responsibility and prestige.

There are no shortcuts. The competition is simply too overwhelming. There are too many applicants chasing after too few jobs. So, earn your credentials, attend the seminars, and conferences. Hook up with someone in the industry and find a mentor, either through contacts at your present position, online, or through a personal referral. Also, deliver a great resume, do your homework for the interview, and dress for success. You may have the degree, but the industry doesn’t want the academic look – they want sharp, smart, professional reps. And that’s you, isn’t it?

Teena Rose is the author of Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.”

Getting a Healthcare Sales Job? “Sell” these Interview Skills

Are you looking for the opportunity to become a sales representative in a healthcare job? Much has been said about the need for well-developed personal selling skills, but it takes more than personal selling and a medical background to contribute as a major player in the challenges pharmaceutical companies face. A sales professional, no matter what his or her area of expertise, can find a place in pharmaceutical leadership based on many different sales and marketing skills.

If you are considering healthcare jobs, here are some areas where you can distinguish yourself as an effective sales representative:

Branding and Rebranding: It’s true that not every market allows for direct advertisement of medical products to potential consumer, but those that do play host to an increasingly contentious segment of sales, marketing, and advertising. Even if a team member is seen as a sales representative first and foremost, he or she should be able to pitch in with new ideas for outmaneuvering competitors and addressing public relations issues.

Social Media Marketing: Likewise, areas where direct advertising to consumers may be possible suffer from a serious problem — traditional sales and marketing channels are saturated with similar messages. Social media strategy is quickly becoming a way that pharmaceutical companies can cut through the clutter and motivate patients to work with their healthcare providers and physicians for a wider range of branded treatment options.

Provider Relationship Management: Those who are used to working directly with senior executives from major accounts are at an advantage when turning to healthcare jobs. Provider relationship management is key to maintaining a competitive foothold when regulatory or competitive changes force a sudden, medium-term shift in a firm’s priorities. This happens frequently when a formerly patented medicine becomes available for competitors to develop and re-define as generic at a lower price point.

Of course, it is also true that a background in the health sciences can be invaluable for a healthcare job sales representative. However, training in this area is rapidly becoming more modular and targeted — there are vast training resources available from reputable sources online that were inaccessible before. You have one other advantage: It can be much more difficult for someone with a strong healthcare background to become an effective sales representative than the converse. Strong selling requires direct experience, but that experience can come from a variety of contexts outside the bounds of the healthcare industry.

Transition from Business Manager to a Pharma Manager Job

Demographic changes in the United States mean pharma manager jobs will continue to grow in pay and prestige. More members of the “Baby Boomer” generation are retiring and finding themselves challenged by medical costs and expenses. The pharmaceutical industry must adapt to a growing market that is filled with increased competition from generic brands and smaller biotech firms. Professionals with a strong sales background will be well-positioned to transition into healthcare jobs, but must show they can adapt to the unique demands of the industry. Preparing for healthcare or biotechnology jobs from another field also means strengthening one’s healthcare credentials.

Although pharma manager jobs require a working knowledge of healthcare products — from one’s own firm, their competitors, and from cutting edge research labs — they often rely on core business management skills for the ability to get things done. Most senior pharmaceutical managers do not deal with direct, front line sales. While they may be the “responsibility owners” for certain major accounts, they spend much of their time working on top level market analysis and strategy. To leverage a sales or business administration background into a healthcare jobs transition, build and emphasize these skills:

Project Management: Project leadership is a huge part of pharmaceutical management roles and is an area traditionally associated with business. If you demonstrate the ability to lead and coordinate multiple teams, you can easily contribute to the kind of multi-faceted projects that are common in the pharmaceutical industry — such as new product launches, rebranding, and multinational strategic shifts in response to competitors.

International Leadership: Although we think of healthcare jobs as a domestic industry, pharma manager jobs are distinctly international. The legal status of any medical product is constantly in flux across dozens of emerging and developing markets. Likewise, consumers in different jurisdictions react differently to marketing and sales initiatives. Prior expertise juggling multinational expectations is enormously valuable.

Government and “B2B” Experience: Although face-to-face sales experience isn’t always necessary, business-to-business sales skills translate easily into the strategic planning and lobbying you’ll have to do when dealing with a variety of regulatory bodies and influential stakeholders. Fundraising experience can also help — since it involves a similar sort of relationship management.

Versatile business leaders can penetrate pharmaceutical management in a variety of ways. Neither direct sales experience nor a thorough medical background is indispensable. Core business skills are the backbone of a career switch.

9 Trends to Track in the Medical Device Industry

Our friends at Becker’s Spine Review offered this take:

The medical device industry may be in an interesting era of both more innovation and regulation. With the upholding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, manufacturers will face a 2.3 percent excise tax on all devices they produce. This has some in the industry nervous about what will happen; others, including Bob Kinsella, president of Kinsella Group, think it could spur innovation.

Interviewing for a Pharmaceutical Sales Job

Congratulations, you have landed that interview with one of the biggest pharmaceutical sales companies in the country, and all you have to do now is ace the interview. While this might seem like an impossibility, especially if you’re faced with some tough competition, there are ways that you can walk into your interview with confidence, even if you do feel nervous. In order to really impress your prospective employers, however, projecting confidence isn’t enough, especially if you’re interviewing for a major corporation who has to make absolutely sure that you will be right fit for their pharmaceutical sales team.

You have probably heard the expression about first impressions being important, and it could not be truer. Before you even speak, how you look will have a major impact on your interview, so it’s important that you know how to dress. Women should dress conservatively and avoid wearing jewelry that is chunky or makes noise (such as bangle bracelets). While a whiff of perfume is a nice touch, wearing too much will overshadow your skill and knowledge, especially if the person interviewing you has a sensitive nose. For men, a dark, well-pressed suit is a great way to show your would-be employer that you know how to dress in order to impress them and any clients that you would be meeting. Barring a tie-tack, a nice watch, or a wedding ring, men should avoid wearing jewelry completely. While that ear stud may not represent you as a person, it might make the wrong impression on a conservative employer.

Once you’ve dressed for success, the next step in acing that interview for your dream pharmaceutical sales job is to know as much as you can about the company before your interview. This isn’t to say that you should memorize their sales catalogue, but knowing what this major company sells, how they sell it, and the kind of clients they deal with can help you answer questions during the interview process. The more you know, the more interest you appear to have in the company, which tells the interview team that you’re eager to sell for them. In a way, you’re selling your skills as a salesman during this interview, and the best evidence of that skill will be the company’s desire to add you to their team. Interviewing for a major pharmaceutical sales company can be nerve wracking, but if you believe in yourself and your personal assets and skills, so will the people who are looking to hire you.

What Are the Different Kinds of Healthcare Sales Representatives?

In most industries, a sales representative is a sales representative is a sales representative. If you understand the basic principles of what a successful sales professional does in auto sales, for example, you understand what others will be doing in that industry the majority of the time. It may come as a surprise, then, that sales representatives in the medical and biotech fields have the capacity to become a completely different kind of strategic partner for the clients they work with. Set aside any mental image you might have of stereotypical door-to-door salesmen or Heather Locklear’s character on Scrubs!

The first thing to realize is there’s a great diversity of positions for sales representatives throughout the healthcare and biotech industries. The different areas of sales are distinct enough that they require their own strategies and a mature understanding of the market segment the sales professional works in.

Some representatives specialize in one area and can develop a rich and satisfying career that way. However, with increasing competition in the medical space comes a growing expectation that professionals will have knowledge in multiple areas.

Here are a few of the areas in the medical industry that require sales expertise:

Capital Sales:

Capital sales represent large investments that align with the long-term strategy of a given hospital or other medical facility. For example, a new MRI machine would fall under this heading.

Sales representatives focused on these “big ticket” items have a unique challenge. On one hand, organizations wish to demonstrate to patients and employees that they provide the latest technology. On the other, replacing existing capital equipment before the end of its useful life is a challenging proposition.

As a result, a sales professional will have to be aware not only of the product catalog that he or she services, but also of the existing equipment stock, long-term needs, and overall advertising strategy of every major client.


Disposable items are things like surgical gloves and scrubs that must be used on a daily basis and thrown out when their work is done. Although they fall into the least expensive class of purchase that an institution makes, they are a necessity that cannot be allowed to run low.

As a result, hospitals will tend to have an ongoing agreement with a supplier for these vital items. Sales representatives who focus on disposable items will often find themselves in competition with a more established supplier. Since the features of most disposable items are nearly identical, sellers will have to aggressively negotiate agreements that best satisfy the client’s desired price point.

Medical Devices

Medical devices make up one of the broadest categories in medical sales. Everything from the stint that may be used in a patient’s heart to a completely artificial heart itself is considered a medical device.

Sales representatives in medical devices are often said to have the most challenging jobs. They must interact with the client on the deep level required in capital sales, but still do their best to negotiate on both features and price. Likewise, the competition among medical device manufacturers who have similar offerings is fierce, due to the extreme bottom line value and enduring nature of medical device contracts. In medical device sales, one must be aware of the complete regulatory landscape and use it to achieve advantage.

The differences in these three areas should provide some clues as to the related sales skill sets that one could cultivate to transition into a healthcare sales role. All healthcare sales representatives should expect to have certain traits in common: The most important may be the ability to keep track of medical developments and changing market conditions. This is complemented by an ability to do the necessary research, in cooperation with a client, in order to truly understand their needs.

Once these basic skills have been acquired and honed, the path diverges a bit depending on one’s area of expertise.

Sales representatives can transition easily into capital sales from any background where they were responsible for large contracts — especially contracts of a technical nature that required working with experts in a field. Winning respect from medical professionals by demonstrating knowledge of the problems they face is key, and provides the negotiating power needed to make major sales.

Sales professionals with a logistics background — those who are knowledgeable about the importance of “continuous improvement” in areas like material cost — are well suited to focus attention on disposables. Such professionals should also be prepared to evangelize their service record or other features in comparison to the competition.

Finally, sales representatives who have transitioned from a medical background are in the best position to explore medical device sales. These sales often hinge on the salesperson’s ability to perceive a client institution’s needs and discuss them in precise medical detail.

Medical Device Sales Insider News

From our good friends at Becker’s Hospital Review:

The medical device industry may be in an interesting era of both more innovation and regulation. With the upholding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, manufacturers will face a 2.3 percent excise tax on all devices they produce. This has some in the industry nervous about what will happen; others, including Bob Kinsella, president of Kinsella Group, think it could spur innovation.