Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ten Truths from Rookie of the Year

Well, I've been kinda busy lately, but I'm back with a good one. Last week, our 2006 Rookie of the Year made a presentation to our most recent training class. They were hanging on his every word, despite the fact that it was Thursday afternoon and they were starting to feel a little worse for wear at that point.

The new reps were in the "what-in-the-hell-have-I-gotten-myself-into" phase of their career with us that I've mentioned before, feeling just a little overwhelmed. I think it was reassuring for them to hear that even the Rookie of the Year felt like he was spinning his wheels when he first started. He had a lot of great ideas that he shared with the group about how he gained traction in his territory. Here are ten which contributed to his successful start.

1. 6:30 am to 4:00 pm you must be in the O.R. everyday with your customers. Get up and out, be ready to step into the O.R. at the start of the day and don't leave until the day is done. An "office day" is prime time lost. Nothing matters as much as being with your customers. If it's a beautiful Friday afternoon and you want to go play golf, you better take a couple of doctors along with you.

2. Get to know everyone on a first name basis. The nurses, the scrub techs, the guy who mops the floor, not just the docs.

3. Set up a regular, weekly call schedule which includes seeing your major accounts every single week. "If they aren't buying from you, it's because you aren't calling on them," he said. He makes it sounds pretty simple, doesn't he? Be consistent- apparently it works.

4. Make the most of your time. Stuck in the O.R. during a four hour case? Time to fire up your PDA and pack it with info on that account. For his 100 or so accounts, he has dozens of names and phone numbers, docs, biomeds, nurses, pricing and many other details for each account in his PDA. He bought a printer for his car so he can print out quotes on the spot or while he's driving.

5. Profile your targets. He has a profile for every doctor in his territory which includes background information such as where they went to school, organizations they belong to, how many kids they have, which products they are currently using, frequency of different types of procedures, etc., including pictures. These profiles are constantly evolving, more information being added all the time. When he pulls up to the account, he can review his binder for useful information.

6. Take care of your accounts. He has a check list that he uses to review equipment. If he finds anything wrong, he lets the biomeds know. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way to keep things running smoothly I'm sure, and it's another reason for him to show his face and prove to his accounts that he's looking out for their best interests.

7. Immediate follow-through. For examples, if a doctor agrees that s/he's interested in meeting with him to try out a new product on saw bones, as soon as he leaves the doctor's side, he'll put in a call to schedule a time with his office. In this and other scenarios, he made a point of saying "My next call..." to emphasize the importance of prompt follow-up.

8. Leverage your relationships with key surgeons. He has partnered with an influential doctor in his area to put on labs for other surgeons who want to learn new techniques. It's a great way for the Rookie to introduce himself and Linvatec's products to an interested audience. An added benefit is that he's helping his key surgeon grow his own business, which only serves to make their relationship stronger.

9. Develop strong relationships with everyone else in the company. Distributor, product managers, customer service- you need everyone on your team. Don't be afraid to ask. One hallmark of a successful rep seems to be that they ask more questions and make more calls to marketing and their distributors, which may be the direct result of activity level. They are constantly learning and fully engage the resources available to them in a positive way. If he wants samples, he makes his case, offers a reason why it will be beneficial or how it's going to help him gain more business. He asks rather than demands.

10. Treat it like your own business. The Rookie has a sales coach. He's hired an intern who helps him with his profiles. He invests time, money and effort to continuing growing and improving. It's obvious he enjoys what he does, but he also takes it very seriously. He takes total ownership.


brijohn said...

What is the name of the coach the Rookie used?

Jessica said...

Thanks for sharing this, it is very motivating!