Friday, December 14, 2007

Sonny Crockett's Great Year



It has been an amazing first year for Sonny Crockett (not his real name obviously). He started on Labor Day 2006. Over the past year, I've interviewed him about his progress as sales representative for Linvatec's products in a downtrodden territory.

The territory he took over was every salesperson's nightmare: inconsistent representation had allowed the competition to dominate the market. Despite these challenges, he has exceeded expectations in every way. He has doubled the business in his territory since last year.

Below, I'll talk to him about both the challenges and successes he's had this year on his path to success.

If you want to read prior interviews, search my blog (above) for "sonny".

24 comments:

Lisa said...

So you just came from finishing up a case. Tell me how it went.

Sonny said...

The case went great. Was with a fairly recent surgeon that I have started to build great rapport with.

Lisa said...

Were you introducing a new product?

Sonny said...

I introduced a new product @ the scrub sink, but the products he was using were already products introduced previosly. It's always good to show up for cases especially later in the day for representation, shows the surgeon you care. Always have to present new prods to him also though.

Lisa said...

As I noted in the intro, you’ve had a great year. It’s really been a pleasure to talk to you over this past year and hear about your successes. I know there have been some huge challenges you’ve overcome. When I was talking to your distributor earlier today, he told you during the interview process that there would come a time 6 months into the job when you would want to quit. You would “hit the wall”, and I guess you did. Pretty hard, in part because you had such high expectations for yourself. What was “the wall” and how did you get through it?

Sonny said...

The "wall" as we call it is where you feel like you are spinning your wheels. You're chasing oppurtunities and no doors are opening. Sales opp's don't seem to be present, and you begin to question whether or not this is the right job for you. Persistence pays off, I hit 2 big sales in back to back months and that showed it was all worth it.

Lisa said...

Linvatec offers a broad product line and at first learning it all can be a little overwhelming. How did you go about learning your key products and succeeding with them?

Sonny said...

Start small. Start with where you may feel comfortable. My suggestion is to start with the disposable business. It builds your "core." It starts to offer a great base to build off of, of course never lose sight of capital sales and oppurtunities. All you have to do is just ask a surgeon to try it. It may seem intimidating but more times than not they will be willing

Lisa said...

You've grown your core business significantly this year. That's great, because that recurring revenue that will stay with you in subsequent years.
You’ve exceeded the expectations the distributor had for this territory by 30%. He told me one time that you called him at 11:30 at night because you were working on a quote and needed some help. He slapped himself awake and said something like, “No, I’m not sleeping. How can I help you?”
He raves about your work ethic. So we all know hard work is an important part of your success, a level of success a lot of people would like to emulate. So tell them, just how hard will they have to work to have as great an impact as you’ve had? How many hours a week will they have to put in? How much time studying?

Sonny said...

First and foremost studying is important. If you do not know your prod's nothing else will much matter. Knowledge is power. Surgeons can see right through that. At the same time I do not believe you have to get up at 4 a.m and to bed at 11 p.m to be successfull. At the same time, when oppurtunities come up, you better spend every second you can ironing out a "plan." If you get an idea or have an e-mail to respond to, even if it is 11 @ night, sometimes that is the first time all day you may get to work on it. So you need to understand that oppurtunities don't happen that often and when they do, you have to understand your competition is working just as hard as you are.

sonny said...

In this industry oppurtunities may come along once every 3 years. That may be your only crack at it. One single sale, say in disposables, can grow your income $30,000 annually. How many other jobs can say that.

Lisa said...

I know you've shaken up the competition. I love the story about the competitive rep standing right next to you, sweating about how he had to get a deal close before "that Linvatec guy" did. The other rep said something like "He's really aggressive. He's all over my accounts." Do you enjoy the daily competition?

sonny said...

This can be equated to sports very much so. If you love to play sports, mainly you love the competition. This job is competitive and not like 1 or 2 competitors. There are 5,6,10 competitors on products. Everyone will claim their's is the best. This job lets you control the "game" so to say. Believe me, when you get that P.O it is just like hitting the game winning shot, only better. It's one thing to make a game winning basket, it is another to take a competitor's business, and take a hunk out of their annual income. A winning basket may not send a competitor to licking their wounds for the next 3 years, where stealing an account from them can.

Lisa said...

You sound like a fearless competitor. You thrive on it.
But also, from the perspective of dealing with your customers, building relationships, I'm sure you find that very satisfying too.
So tell me about something you did this year that a customer really appreciated. What was it and how did they expressed their appreciation?

sonny said...

I would say one thing that sticks out was a simple "thank you." I know it does not sound like much. I conducted evaluations, and eventually sold visual products into an account along with many other products. After the sale the surgeon was very happy with our equip. I approached this surgeon the other day and asked about the equipment. He simply stated "Thank you. Thank you for providing me with equipment to do my job better." He stated that he feels his patient outcomes and prcedures are better now than they were previously because of the better quality of equipment alone. It may not seem like much, but when you help a great surgeon become even greater and perform even better it makes you feel like you did your job.

Lisa said...

Wow. It may be simple, but it's powerful. It's great to think that the patients are better off through your efforts, isn't it? Very satisfying.

You know, the truth is, when someone gets an opportunity in medical device sales, it’s probably not going to be in a prime territory, because it’s rare for anyone to walk away from those. It’s likely going to be in a trouble spot that they are going to have to turn into a success of their own.
For someone considering a position representing Linvatec’s products, who may be concerned about the territory or leery about the fact that it’s a 1099 position through a distributor, why would you tell them they should go for it?

sonny said...

First and foremost, whether it is 1099 or distributor based it shouldn't matter because it is a great oppurtunity. It can be a little nerve racking @ first to see 1099. I will say this to them. Where else will you find a job where the economy does not have a major role in success? Where else can you wake up in the morning and get the rush that you will get on this job? Where else can you earn, through hard work, the income that you can earn in med. device sales? Yes you have to be willing to work. This is not like some medical industry positions where the guy that brings the best doughnuts that day earns the business. This job places you in the middle of the action. I tell you, go into an O.R and you will see the rush it gives. No two days are ever the same on this job. It never gets boring, because the fact of the matter is you will never have all the business. And just when you start to get a majority of the business there is someone else competiting for it. This is like running your own business. You are in control of so many aspects on this job and can really dictate the way your day goes inside and out. How many jobs can offer you the control that this one can?

Lisa said...

I've noticed the our top reps really view it that way- as their own business. I think that level of ownership is so important.
But tell me a little about the role your distributor has played this year in helping you to succeed.

sonny said...

He and my mentor have been maybe the most influential persons in determining my success. They have invoked trust in me, confidence, and a belief that I will represent Linvatec in the best way possible. My distributor has given me a mentor that is second to none in this industry and with those 2 pieces I feel it is the single determining factor into why we have turned this territory around. When you have a boss that believes in you whole heartedly no matter what the situation is it makes your performance better. Everyone has had boss's they did not like, and of course most can admit it has affected their performance. I am thankful I have someone who motivates and trusts me as much as they do. It makes me feel that if I do not perform well I will have let them down.

Lisa said...

I know from working with your distributor that one of his goals is to treat his reps as well as he possibly can. He's an incredibly positive guy.

I’m sure you’re not one to rest on your laurels, but how do you feel about what you’ve accomplished this year, and your future? What are your goals for 2008?

sonny said...

I feel 2007 was a good year for "learning the business." I did fall short of my personal goals even though I over exceeded the expectations set forth for quota.

2008 is going to be a great year. There are some oppurtunity's that are taking place currently that will carry into 2008. If fortunate enough to earn the business 2008 will be one of the best w/ in the distributorship I believe. I want 2008 to be the year where the distributor can actually bank on this territory as being a leader year in and year out. For so many years it was a territoy that could never be counted on or have expectations placed. 2008 hopefully will be the year that gets the ball rolling in the right direction consistently year in and year out.

Lisa said...

I think things are definitely headed in the right direction.

Thanks for letting me interview you not once, but many times. I’m so impressed by your level of motivation, your positive attitude, your competitive drive. Thanks for your time. Thanks again for all your hard word. Happy Holidays!

Lisa said...

Hard work, I mean:)

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays yourself Lisa, and to your children and spouse. Don't forget to hit the slopes. Talk to you again I am sure, bye.