Thursday, March 13, 2008

ROTY NOM

I got an e-mail a couple of weeks ago with this in the subject line. It took me a minute to figure out what it meant. Looking at the name of the sender made it click.

Rookie Of The Year Nominee.

This rep came through the training class I talked about in my post called "Something Special". I remember sitting next to him when I dropped by one afternoon. I could tell he was just soaking up the information, grasping new ideas and snapping the pieces into place amongst what he'd already learned, as though solving an immense puzzle.

Sometime last year I spoke to him, about the time he hit "the wall". His voice sounded a little strained. He told me that he had written 42 thank you notes to one account after an evaluation. He was struggling, running around, working hard and not yet seeing the fruits of his labor. I don't think it was too long after that things began to turn in his favor.

I think the numbers indicate that he doubled the sales in his territory in 2007.

Please read the comments below to learn more...

12 comments:

Lisa McCallister-Grant said...

Good morning!
I looked to see if I still had your cover letter. I couldn’t find it, but still remember it. I remember how you talked about your father, who was also in sales. As I recall, the fact that he earned his living straight commission has influenced your own outlook. Can you talk a little about that?

Jay T said...

It took a while, and another couple sales endeavors to get comfortable with the idea of sink or swim. I had been working so hard to break into medical sales though for several years, and knew that with the right product mix and reputation I would be ready. I guess everything was firing in my favor, and it worked out. It is scary at times, but you just plug away and have faith that "the harder you work, the luckier you get". My father did it successfully for 35 years, and without sounding egotisitcal, he even admits I am a "more patient and better salesperson than him". But business has changed...either way, I just go out there and do the best I can everyday.

Lisa McCallister-Grant said...

A generation ago, I think straight commission was about all there was for salespeople. Your distributor and I have had that conversation- he’s been straight commission his whole life, as was my father. They just never knew anything different.
It’s quite different today. The expectation of a base salary, car allowance, expenses etc. are now predominant. I think the pharmaceutical industry has had a big influence in that regard.
I think it takes a certain level of confidence in your abilities to be straight commission, not to mention determination and self-reliance.

Do you think of sales as a job, or a profession?

jay t said...

There is a HUGE difference between Pharm Sales and Medical Device sales. Not to be rude, but we actually start and finish the sales process and can gauge our impact on the customer in any given account. Pharm sales is marketing, lunches, etc. It is attractive to those coming out of college that want the "perks", but to those that are looking for a real sales career, I recommend staying away from Pharm. It will not give you the "rush" you are looking for, and could potentially keep you from it in Medical Device sales. The second part of your comment...this is completely a "lifestyle" for me. I do not look at it like a job, I at times "live and breathe" the selling process. No defined hours, working for myself, by myself. But the rewards are too great to ignore.

Lisa McCallister-Grant said...

Sometimes people I interview will mention that they come from a “family” of sales people. One person told me recently that his father and 2 older brothers were in sales.
Do you think that in some way there is knowledge or skills that you absorbed from your father, maybe “unconsciously”, that sometimes shows up in your own experience as a sales person? Or, in other words, what else did you learn about sales from your father?

jay t said...

What I learned from my father would take longer to discuss than a post on a blog. But I do think there is some truth to the statement that one can "inherit" sales qualities from parents, etc. My dad was an independent salesman, his dad was an independent salesman. But that is not why I am. It is about the people. I have had success in most of my experiences, not all, because I do not make it about aggressive sales tactics or products, but building relationships and servicing those relationships. People say they understand what that means, but I am not sure everyone does. I think those that truly understand that a person does not want to feel like they are being "sold", will succeed in sales. That is basically the number one thing I learned from my father, that I really use. "MAKE PEOPLE LOVE YOU" he always said. Oh, and "BE THE FIRST GUY IN LINE WHEN THE CURRENT REP SCREWS UP". So, I suit up and show up, and work with people. I love people, and this is a very exciting career for me because of that.

Lisa McCallister-Grant said...

That's great. My dad sort of subscribes to the idea that sales makes the world go round. It's a simple idea. Although salespeople sometimes get a bad rap, this simple idea points to the essential value of the profession. Obviously you are out there making a difference for your customers and impacting Linvatec's bottom line every day.

Although you’ve had many successes, if you had to pick one product that has been really key for you, what would it be and why?

jay t said...

Two comments: The first here is that without sales there would be no commerce. And salespeople do get a bad rap, especially in this business. One of the reasons is that there are too many people that have accepted "jobs" and think that by trying aggressive and shady tactics thinking it will somehow get them ahead and make them a star. This has been giving Med Reps the "used car" salesperson image. There are good reps and bad reps in every situation, and because of the competitive nature of what we do, there are more reps now than ever trying to "pull a fast one". This I think means that it takes longer to earn trust, but when you do, solidifies the relationship.

Two: with over 4,000 products we represent, there is not any one in particular that I have been more successful with than another, I push a lot of them, and in a lot of situations. But since I have a Telecommunications degree, and a general interest in TV/VIDEO/AUDIO equipment, I naturally understood the HD Imaging products and was able to use previous knowledge to win some evals with our product. Everyone's products have downsides to some, but I think as a whole we make some of the most clinically advantageous products available. So, I guess I like the HD Imaging equipment.

Lisa McCallister-Grant said...

I know that you have a very busy day ahead of you, so I don’t want to keep you much longer.

One last question… what was the turning point for you this past year, when you could see things really starting to come together?

jay t said...

I did 3/4 of 2006 annual sales, in DECEMBER of 2007. It was a great feeling, to see a lot of deals come together like that...in a sense a lot of work paying off all at once. I remember doing an eval at an account in the northern part of my territory, and when I started I thought it would be impossible to get the deal...its a long story but we had let them down in the representation arena. It was a month long eval, and we were not on the contract...in the end, the docs voted 14-3 in favor of me and my equipment. That was when I realized that I could do just about anything in this business. There are many obstacles, and upswings and downswings, but you just have to keep plugging away. Its not easy, but because its not, it is that much more rewarding. I have had a rough couple months so far this year, but because I realize that you cannot win them all, and am smart about my "winnings", it is easier to keep an even keel. I LOVE THIS. I LOVE OUR PRODUCTS. And overall, I am EXTREMELY HAPPY>

Lisa McCallister-Grant said...

I heard about that particular deal. Your distributor said it was the fastest he has ever seen anyone turn around a video deal.

Thanks for your time this morning. I'll let you tend to all those "irons in the fire".

Jay T said...

Thank you, and thank you for helping get this opportunity.