The 3 Fundamentals of Pitching to Doctors

The sales process in the medical device field is a long and strenuous journey, but being able to close the deal will always be worth the grind.

And, of course, the most crucial step is pitching to doctors. When you’ve reached the doctor, you’ve reached your most important decision-maker and are one step closer to closing the deal.  

What’s next? 

Now that you've made contact with the doctor, there are three things you need to do:

  1. Set up a meeting with a doctor
  2. Make your pitch
  3. Get your system into the doctor’s hands

In this blog, you’ll learn the best way to approach these three steps.

Step 1: Set Up a Meeting With a Doctor

You already know that your relationship with the gatekeeper should be one of your priorities. Now you need to schedule a meeting with your prospect and this can be tricky. Physicians are extremely busy, so you’ll need to think strategically when requesting your meeting.

The last thing you want to do is simply leave your company's brochure with the receptionist. This will most likely leave you on the backburner and your brochure in the trash. Instead, utilize flash drives or tablets to deliver your educational materials to your prospects.  

Electronic devices and collateral offer more incentive to your prospect than a disposable piece of paper. They’re also more likely to watch a short video than read through a pamphlet regarding your product or service.

This method also gives you a reason to follow up with your prospect and potentially schedule a meeting when collecting your educational materials.

If you like to keep it old school but still want an effective way of establishing a relationship, take your prospect out to lunch or dinner. It may be old-fashioned, but the gesture is appreciated and you’ll notice positive feedback from the start.

To make following up with your prospects easier than ever, be sure to check out Badger Maps. With Badger, you can spend less time driving and planning, and more time in front of the right customers. Badger reduces sales reps’ average drive times by 20% and frees up an average of 8 hours a week. These time savings can be used to meet more prospects and close more deals.

Step 2: Make Your Pitch

You’ve scheduled a meeting with your prospect. Next, you need to put together a bulletproof sales pitch. Before selling to your physician, you need to understand how he makes his purchasing decisions.

Keep in mind that physicians’ top priority is treating their patients. Your medical device has to be life-changing in their eyes. Stick to the value of your product and how it can and will benefit both the prospect and their patients.  

Some elements that can help you convince your prospect that they need your product are:

Patients

Gain insight into the types of patients the hospital treats and develop an understanding of the doctors and administration. Keep in mind that the patient’s health is always the top priority.  

Don’t just ramble on about your product, you will lose the physician’s attention. Instead, show them that you are aware of who their patients are and what they need.  

You will build a strong and trusting relationship with the doctor by seeing eye to eye with them and prioritizing the care of their patients. Focusing on patient needs is essential to building relationships in hospitals.

Catalogs

Becoming an expert on your catalog and those of your competitors is a perfect way to gain credibility and ultimately make the most out of your appointments.

By the time of your appointment, you should know your pitch frontwards and back. Any time spent reading off cards or brochures is time wasted. Being confident with your pitch shows your prospect that you’re truly passionate about helping their cause.

When it comes to competitor knowledge, almost anything you need to know can be found online in one way or another. Big companies like Stryker have websites dedicated to educating surgeons on the features and benefits of all their devices.

Evidence-Based Medicine

When in conversation, remember to bring up evidence-based medicine (EBM). EBM uses scientific evidence, doctors' experiences, and patient preferences to design treatment plans. Many hospitals use EBM for patient care so becoming familiar with the practice will help establish a mutual understanding.  

EBM has been proven to decrease costs in hospitals and increase the overall quality of patient care. If you’re able to associate your product with the achievement of these goals, your prospect will see the value in what you have to offer.

Get technical! Never hesitate to reference your device’s clinical trials. Among all the decision-makers in a hospital, the physician is most concerned with how and why your medical device is going to help his practice.

For example, training videos and illustrated surgical techniques are great collateral to show surgeons.

Step 3: Get Your System Into the Doctor’s Hands

Don’t be afraid to get your medical device into the surgeon’s hands. Being a device rep means you play a pivotal role when it comes to representation in the operating room. Although you may feel confident, your device isn’t sold until your prospect is happy and paying the bill.

You can get your device into the OR (operating room) after showing your prospect your device in a meeting or two. This is a great step to move your deal forward. However, keep in mind that it may take up to 10 meetings for the surgeon to feel comfortable using the device on upcoming patients. Continue to reinforce the value in the product with every meeting and your prospect will be willing to give it a true trial.

Once an established case is set for your device, you’ll need to register with the hospital’s vendor credentialing system. They will issue you a temporary badge while you’re following up with the surgery scheduler to confirm the date of the operation.  

Remember that surgical cases require prior preparation, so be sure to keep a tight schedule.

You may find yourself running trays or delivering instruments days before operations as a medical device sales rep. On the day of the surgery, be sure to arrive early to prepare a cart with your device and any extra necessary tools.

Focus on these key points during the operation:

Assist the Surgeon

Your job in the OR is to support the surgeon. Offer your expertise while he is using your device but keep in mind that they are the leaders of the operation.

The position of the medical device sales rep in the OR is controversial. Medical device sales training emphasizes that reps should not touch the patient or interfere with the proceedings of the operation. Keep a distance and limit your assistance to verbal communications.

By watching your pre-operative training video about your device, your surgeon will have an understanding of how it works and can reference the illustrated material in real-time.

Keep on Selling

Your role as a sales rep never stops. You need to sell yourself, your company, and your product as an asset while in the OR. Your initial sales pitch has already been made, but use this time to highlight some functionalities of your device as it’s being used.

Make good first impressions while in the OR. These are your decision-makers and could potentially help you with leads further down the line. Keep things professional and above all be genuine. After all, relationships sell the product.

Keep in mind that while the doctor’s approval might be the most difficult one to get, once you have it, he can be your best sales champion.

With a customized and compelling sales pitch and first-hand experience on how your device works, they’ll feel confident that your product will change the lives of many patients.

At this point, 80% of the deal is in your pocket. He’ll probably pitch the product for you and push the finance department to give the green light to the purchase.

If done correctly, you can base an entire medical device sales career around only a few clients. By constantly proving you’re a valuable resource, surgeons won’t hesitate to work with you for years to come.

Listen to Tim Wackel's Outside Sales Talk podcast episode to discover how to target your presentations, engage your audience, and deliver a successful sales pitch.

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