Category: Sales

Medical Device Sales Customers Need You, Are You Determined toSee’ Them?

 

How is your Medical Device Sales team managing change in these times of COVID-19? Are you succeeding or have you given up? Your customers need you more than ever, are you determined to see them? Or have you written them off?

“But I can’t ‘see’ them Scott, everything has changed.”

Have things really changed, or has your selling mindset changed? It is serious question every pharmaceutical salesperson can only answer for one person: themselves.

Change Does Not Mean Defeat

We are living in a time of change and upheaval. But as a pharmaceutical sales professional, you need to harness the negatives into positives. There is no choice. Do you have vision to see yourself succeed? If not, then why not?

Not long ago, inc. magazine published an insightful article entitled: “7 Reasons Sales Pros Fail.” You might be surprised at the observations; they aren’t reasons wrapped in technical jargon or mystery. The author found that failing sales people have no sense of urgency; they possess a negative attitude; have a poor work ethic and most disturbing, they don’t believe in themselves.

The pandemic, being forced to sell remotely or socially-distanced, is not the first-time Medical Device sales teams have faced adversity. The industry has succeeded during The Great Depression, worldwide conflicts, recessions, inflation, mergers, acquisitions, new technologies, natural disasters, man-made disasters and other tragedies.

If sales teams are fearful of their abilities, lack confidence, are disorganized or have negative attitudes, why would a purchasing agent, administrator, healthcare professional or office manager have confidence in the product or those behind it?

Change is hard and times are tough, but they are even tougher on your customers. They need you. Have that sense of urgency and all of the customer service that goes with it; out-hustle the competition; make a positive work ethic your daily mission; and believe in yourself.

Congratulate Yourself

No matter how defeated you may feel at the moment, congratulate yourself. Failure is a part of making progress. Failure means you haven’t given up.

Before my accident, I was a competitive martial artist and Division-I football player. I measured my progress not by wins and losses (that was later) but how my conditioning, speed, strength, reflexes and mental toughness were improving.

I did not win in the ring or will myself out of a hospital bed because I am super-human, but I had a vision of getting better every day, and I had the determination to succeed and the daily grit to see it through.

In this time of COVID-19, your customers need all of the support they can get. Go the extra mile to give them information beyond what they can read online. Be creative in how you reach out and meet their needs. They need you. Be there for them.

Engage your customers with all of the technology at your disposal and keep in mind that out-hustling the competition will pay dividends.

Change brings good times and bad to the Medical Device industry. The most successful salespeople are change-proof. And remember that with hard work, whatever you lack, you can gain.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, International Medical Device Sales Speaker on Managing Change, for a virtual or in-person sales meeting, contact us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Small Business in America: It’s Gut-Check Time

 

Being a small business resilience speaker and having my own business, I relate on a personal level to one of the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic: how it impacted small business across America.

By May 12, 2020, the Washington Post reported that at least 100,000 small businesses had shut their doors.

A small business doesn’t necessarily mean a “Mom and Pop Stationery Store.” The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as having as many as 1,500 employees and $35 million in sales.

When a small business goes out of business, it is a tragedy. A business isn’t a “thing,” it’s people trying to build something for themselves and their families.

It is Time for Small Business to Go Big

In July 2020, the United States Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey entitled “Small Business Corona Virus Impact Poll.” The poll reported that of the small businesses that survived the first wave, “Two-thirds of small businesses (65%) are concerned about having to close again or stay closed if there is a second wave…”

The survey reminds us that after the initial lockdown occurred, 85 percent of small businesses were forced to temporarily close. They don’t know if they can survive a second onslaught.

However, there is optimism in this bleakness. Businesses are taking action to anticipate the second wave: 32 percent are purchasing extra inventory, 29 percent are updating websites and improving social media profiles, and 25 percent are refining and boosting e-commerce.

While I’m pleased that small businesses are taking steps to look ahead, there is much more that can be done. In an Associated Press release, entitled “Ways Small Businesses Can Fight Back Amidst COVID-19 and the Retail Apocalypse,” Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan had some interesting insights including the implied need for local businesses to have the determination to reach out to local communities and to make an impact.

There is great wisdom in reaching out locally. In fact, Mr. Buchanan now sells his produce almost exclusively online.

When I speak to small business associations, I encourage each organization to develop a mindset that envisions success. Does your small business have a vision that looks beyond the current challenges to overcome the challenges?

While buying extra inventory, updating websites and boosting e-commerce are necessary, they are passive.

An important part of having the mindset to overcome challenges is to be creative, to be willing to be an active participant in finding new ways to get customers “in the door,” and to share that vision with every member of your organization. This is called resilience.

Whether you have a dog grooming business with three employees or 300 grooming businesses with 500 employees, there must be a shared vision. To be truly resilient means that everyone in the organization must be determined to pull together to encourage opinions and to believe in your mission.

My heart aches for those small businesses barely holding their own, but I would feel even worse if the only thing standing between success and failure of a small business in the coming months was a lack of resilience to meet the challenges.

Let’s all be determined to have the daily grit to make the vision work and the resilience to do what we need to do to get through this time together.

 

Scott Burrows, Small Business Resilience Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Insurance Industry Change: Virtually as Hard as You Make It

 

As a motivational insurance sales speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I know that selling insurance is easily one of the world’s most intensive, public facing sales jobs. Though products vary from company to company, the most important product you can offer is you.

Then we come to the pandemic. Suddenly, your firm handshake, your trusty, effervescent smile and the friendly banter gave way to videoconferencing, email and a phone call or two. Who had time to prepare for COVID-19? No one. The screeching halt from face-to-face to virtual sales was calamitous. Some insurance industry sales reps determined to keep fighting; unfortunately, many left.

In an industry where new hire turnover rates are 30 percent after three months, once April 2020 hit, thousands of insurance sales reps joined the millions of sales reps in other fields who quit or walked away because selling was “too tough.”

What’s the Difference?

The online resource Business Process Incubator recently completed (as of July 9, 2020) an insurance industry sales survey entitled: How Difficult It Is For Insurance Companies To Go To Remote Working? The results are eye-opening but not unexpected. Let me summarize several of the challenges.

The survey found that it is hard for insurance sales reps to initially explain what was happening, but those who succeeded in overcoming the confusion during the earliest stages had more robust referral networks.

The survey found it is more difficult to sell an “intangible product” remotely. Customers and sales reps can’t share emotions. It is difficult to break through barriers. This is where a sales rep must focus on selling themselves, outworking the competition, and making a difference.

Managing data security is also seen as a big challenge. Insurance providers and their agencies must bolster security and hire more people to ensure confidentiality and protect extremely important customer information. To that end, sales reps must convey trust and instill confidence.

Working remotely is not easy for the sales rep or customer, however, sales reps can convey the convenience and the lessened stress in buying insurance online. In other words, a negative can be turned into a positive.

While some are challenged, others aren’t. According to the survey, the keys are flexibility and technical expertise. Sales reps must either embrace the challenges or get lost in the confusion.

So, what is the Difference?

It can be argued, of course, that the insurance industry and its sales reps live in challenging times, and that the changes faced everyday are enormous. But hasn’t it always been this way?

In what era has selling insurance been stress-free? In what year have so many customers flocked to us that we didn’t have to work? Truth is, there are insurance sales reps who have a winning mindset, and some who don’t.

The insurance industry has always relied on people with vision who have the determination to succeed. If we look at the points raised in the survey, it’s clear that each challenge in the present-day world of virtual insurance sales can be overcome.

The science community has shown tremendous determination and grit to arrive at several promising vaccine candidates. The challenges against them were many. Yet, they persisted and they are close to winning.

Your mission as insurance sales reps is to be inspired to rise up in a similar manner. The difference is you. Stand up to the challenges – and win!

 

Scott Burrows, Motivational Insurance Industry Sales Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169.

“Looking Around” is Not the Same Thing as Having Vision

 

In my role as a keynote speaker on pharmaceutical sales and change management, I am often surprised by the answers I receive when I ask a group of sales reps, “What is your vision?”  The answer I most frequently hear is “I am looking for any opportunity I can grab.” It’s the wrong answer. In fact, given the current changes in the pharmaceutical industry, to not understand vision is disastrous.

Sales expert David Jacoby writing for The Sales Readiness Blog states:

“A sales vision must also be challenging, something that is above and beyond the normal expectations. It should also be attainable, that is, realistic enough to be achievable if you and your team stretch a bit. Your sales vision should also specify some positive change that you are committed to realize through concerted effort with your sales team…”

Jacoby is correct. We can all “look around for opportunities,” but pharmaceutical sales teams must develop a set of specific, achievable goals. It takes a razor-sharp vision, with the entire team devoted to success.

The Harvard Business Review, in an article entitled “Ineffective Sales Leaders Can Cause Lasting Damage,” vision is seen as an important aspect of success, especially when there is a change in leadership or sales structure.

HBR said it is important for sales teams to: “Create a fresh vision, reflecting a culture in which salespeople trusted their leaders and in which all salespeople were held accountable for results, and to Communicate the vision using every opportunity, including sales meetings, videoconferences, and the company’s intranet.”

Let’s Get Personal

When it comes to pharmaceutical sales, especially in these times of rapid industry change, it is important to realize that the team is us. It is up to each sales rep to have the determination to be successful and the mindset to carry it out. Vision is more important than ever. Do you have a personal vision statement?

The job seekers website Indeed.com had some important things to say about the importance of writing a personal vision statement (October 7, 2019). In an industry going through regulatory changes, mergers, acquisitions and increased scrutiny, to not write a personal vision statement is foolhardy.

To quote from the Indeed.com article:

“Review it [your personal vision statement] every day. Write your statement on an index card, and keep it in a prominent place you can see it often. If you work in an office, it could be on your desk. Alternatively, you may choose to display the card somewhere at home so you see it when you get up in the morning or do work tasks from home…Choose your next step based on what role gets you closer to your goal…”

The vision statement may change but what doesn’t change is the constancy of having one. If you have the grit to stick to your vision and embrace a set of success goals, no matter how challenging the times, you are well ahead of those who are “just looking around.”

 

 

Hire Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker for your next industry meeting. Connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Customer Service Opportunities Win Customers for Life

 

As a motivational customer service speaker, I’ve based keynote speeches on important lessons I first learned in the insurance and financial services industry, and later as a co-owner of an international export company. Customer service means we must always be prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty.

When I was in export sales, my company sold a container-load of a custom-blended fertilizer to a client in Singapore. When the product arrived, it was as hard as concrete, unusable. To save the relationship, we modified the product and shipped them another container load. No one expected us to do it. We lost money at first, but we impressed the client and kept what turned out to be a long-term client relationship.

When it comes to separating yourself from the competition, you must have the vision to see yourself delivering quality customer service and the grit to discipline yourself to customer service excellence.

An Amazing Experience in Dallas

Opportunities to deliver excellent customer service are everywhere. My next keynote speaking engagement may include the following true story.

Not long ago, I was honored to speak at two events at the Grand Old Opry Convention Center in Nashville. Following the second talk, my voice started to crack and it felt as though I was coming down with a chest cold. For a keynote speaker, losing your voice is catastrophic!

I had to catch a plane to Dallas that afternoon to speak at a huge conference the next day. By the time I exited the airport my voice was completely gone (“Oh, great, I’m going to stand-up 1,000 people!”). I used the ride-sharing app and the driver quickly picked me up. I wrote on my iPhone:

“Help! I lost my voice. Can you please take me to an urgent care center near my hotel?”

The hotel was about 30 miles away. It was just the start of an amazing adventure.

As he’s driving, he asked if I was sick. I nodded my head.

“Please sir, let me take care of you. I know what it feels like to get sick in a town where you don’t know anyone.”

He turned off the ride sharing system, so he went “off the grid,” so to speak. He found an urgent care center, then parked, and waited for me. I was diagnosed with a respiratory disorder and given a prescription. He then drove me another five miles to a pharmacy that had groceries. He asked me what I needed in addition to the medicine, then he went around the store and got me snacks plus salt for gargling, honey and tea.

He drove me to my hotel, parked the car, and helped me check in. He took me up to my room and carried my bags. On my iPhone I wrote, “From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you, for your kindness.”

I carry a $100 bill in my pocket for emergencies. He refused to take it!  I whispered, “I know you did this out of the courtesy of your heart, but I’m in a position to pay. I want to respect you for your time. Please don’t be insult me by refusing. I would feel terrible.”

He finally took it and gave me his personal number. He said if I needed any assistance whatsoever while I was there to please let him know.

He was originally not from this country. He wasn’t rich, but he was determined to give me what he had to give: himself. It is the essence of customer service. We don’t give customers our company mottos, or promotional pens, we give them ourselves.

I will never forget how he made me feel. You’d better believe that if I am ever in a position to help him, I will.

He sold me on himself.

 

Book Scott Burrows, Motivational Customer Service Speaker through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

Are Meeting Planners Determined to Overcome a “Rosy” Outlook?

 

As a motivational speaker on overcoming challenges, it may be counter-intuitive for me to ask clients in the meeting planning industry if they are determined to ‘overcome’ the rosy market outlook for 2020.

Yes, but…

Most industry surveys for 2020 seem to be optimistic enough. The consensus is that attendance at industry meetings will modestly increase on a global level anywhere from 1- percent to 3-percent; that meetings should be longer and that hoteliers are projecting a resurgence in building. However, we all understand that wearing rose-colored glasses is not always a good business strategy.

Despite its general optimism, the “2020 Amex Global Meetings and Events Forecasts” does project a decrease in internal meetings; that the political outlook can’t be ignored; that meeting budget increases will match escalating costs. Of the many concerns in the forecast is that “meeting planners will continue to be required to do more with less.”

Business Travel News in their September 2019 piece “Meeting Professionals Anticipate Growth for 2020” looked beyond the good news.

The good news is that “planners expect to see room availability increase by 0.8 to 1.4 percent and available meeting space to increase by 0.8 to 1.9 percent.”

However, we all know that while planners highly favor “top-tier” meeting locations, space has not kept up with demand. The article re-quoted a highly placed meeting planner who said, “they’ve been moving to second-tier cities, which are more affordable but also may add to travel time for meeting attendees.” Traveling as much as I do, I am also aware that while meeting space in second-tier cities may be more affordable, transportation and frequency of flights may not follow suit.

Echoing the point above, business writer Chris Ryall in an article for Skift Asia Weekly entitled “Meeting Planners Anticipate Rough Year in 2020,” stated:

“Planners will be pressed to find good deals for their clients at a time when venue availability is limited. Looking ahead, all of these issues will become even more pronounced in an election year amid an uncertain global economy.”

It is a Matter of Vision

It is one thing to paint a glowing picture of what the meeting industry should look like, and another to turn the picture into reality. Every meeting planner understands this.

After the terrible accident that suddenly changed me from an athlete and martial artist to a quadriplegic, there were wonderful family members and many close friends who stopped by my room to wish me well.

Without exception, they offered rosy guesses when I’d be on my feet, or how everything would return to normal, or how good I looked. That was their vision for me, but it was a much more difficult road for me to visualize myself moving my arms, writing a note or moving my legs. I realized I would need to develop the determination and the daily grit to push myself as hard as I could to be successful.

In 2020, expect big challenges for the meeting industry, but with vision, determination and grit you will achieve success. While the outlook may seem terrific, get rid of the rosy glasses. It is up to you to make it happen.

 

To speak with Scott Burrows, Inspirational Speaker about Overcoming Challenges for your next meeting, connect with his office today by calling: (520) 548-1169 or through this website.

The 2020 Changes are Here, Are You Ready?

As I frequently speak to groups in the pharmaceutical industry about the sales and marketing outlook for 2020 and beyond, a question I frequently ask attendees is if they have the determination to meet the challenges and the vision to see themselves as being successful. On top of those two factors, I ask are they willing to have the daily grit to reach their goals?

2020 Will Not Be Easy

The pharmaceutical industry is changing. Despite the fact that the economy is strong, some of the projected 2020 changes that pharmaceutical sales and marketing people will face must be fully understood but more than that, included in every organizational plan.

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwC Global) recently released their outlook for the future of the industry. I would like to paraphrase or quote a number of important points, then view them in light of determination, vision and grit.

  • The experts warn that sales forces will be smaller, “agile,” and smarter. With that, “Companies will need to demonstrate that their brand adds value to patients and they will have to offer a package of products and health services that the market not only wants and needs but is willing to pay a premium for.”
  • “Healthcare policy makers and payers are increasingly mandating what doctors can prescribe.”
  • We can expect that government agencies around the world will expand their focus on disease prevention, with less focus on treatment.
  • We must acknowledge the “interdependence of the payer, provider and pharmaceutical value chains,” and to that end adopt more flexible pricing models, invest in medicines the market truly needs, and offer greater support services.
  • “Create cultures that are suitable for marketing specialist healthcare packages.”

These trends will “encourage” marketing and sales reps to become more knowledge-based, more professional and much more proactive in pushing for true innovation and value.

Business as Usual? Hardly.

European-based BlueNovius B.V., a healthcare education service, recently reviewed the many reasons why PCPs are now refusing to see pharmaceutical sales and marketing people. We have to understand that on an annual average, the average PCP is inundated with about 2,800 inquiries for presentations. It has been estimated that about 80 percent of the time PCPs can find what they need by going on-line. They feel no need to return to the traditional way of doing things.

Relating to the points that PwC addressed above, it is obvious that even with brands that truly add value, if the sales or marketing representative is not determined to make a difference, the most innovative products can fail.

States BlueNovius B.V., “The most effective way of ensuring your sales reps go through physicians’ doors is by offering physicians exactly what they need, instead of bombarding them with canned presentations offering the same data that they’re already aware about.”

Unless marketers and sales representatives offer real knowledge, greater support services and bring a culture of partnership rather than hype, the outcomes for the most promising of products could be lackluster.

Within that framework, who are you? Is your vision one of failure or success, and do you have the grit to ensure that you will make a difference?

 

To contact Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Motivational & Marketing Speaker, contact his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

What Will It Take for You to Reach Your 2020 Goals?

 

The Mindset of Success

As a motivational speaker on setting sales goals and sales achievements, I am a believer in developing a goal-setting mindset before anything else, and having the determination to see it through. I am not alone in this way of thinking.

Business writer Jason Alten recently discussed what he considered to be the seven most important goals for any sales person to reach their full potential. The first goal was simply this: “Start with the end in mind.” To quote in part from his comments:

“Ask yourself what the end result you’re looking to realize is so that you can make decisions and set goals that will help you get there. Too often businesses set goals that aren’t connected to the overall vision of where they want their business to be in a year, or even the next quarter.”

If you lack the mindset, the overall vision to define where you want the business to go in the months ahead, as well as the determination to reach your long-term goals, the results could be poor at best.

Kristen Baker in her sales article entitled, “The Ultimate Guide to Setting and Hitting Sales Goals” asks:

“What’s one thing virtually every business does — no matter their industry, target customer, or product or service? They set goalsGoals ensure employees are driven, on-task, and producing work that impacts the business’s bottom line. They also ensure your business is constantly striving to grow, improve, and most importantly:  boost revenue.”

Who Will Take Charge?

While both Jason Alten and Kristen Baker are correct in that without having the mindset and the determination (or drive) to set goals there will be lackluster results, I would add an additional dimension.

When I began in sales. I had only recently been discharged from rehab after an automobile accident that left me a quadriplegic. In the hospital, going through months of rehabilitation, I realized it wasn’t just a matter of mindset and vision, or even determination that would see me through, but the daily grit to make that happen.

My physicians and physical therapists could only do so much for me. It was up to me to develop the grit through good days and bad to reach my goals.

I was successful in the financial services and insurance sales industry; in fact, in just five years I made it into the industry’s Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). I applied the same lessons I learned in my rehabilitation to setting my sales goals in as a financial adviser.

I had to develop the vision to see myself getting better each day, the mindset to do what needed to be done to realize the vision, and the determination to endure the many sessions and the pain associated with the rehab. But what moved and sustained me was the grit to grind it out and tell myself that some days would be good and some days would be rough. There was no choice but to keep going.

Grit must come from within. Grit will help every sales person reach their goals. The best of the best will have rough days, and grit will encourage you to stand up to it. Grit makes each sales person better than they ever thought possible. No one can give you grit, you must make it happen.

 

Meeting Planners: to book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Speaker on Setting Sales Goals and Achievements for your next meeting, contact him today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

You May Be Your Biggest Competitor

Speaking to sales teams or individual sales reps about overcoming objections, I like to casually ask this question: “Just out of curiosity, who is your biggest competitor?” Most will answer, “In my space, it is ‘X’.” They will name a specific company. Yet, every once in a while, one person will answer “It’s me, Scott, my greatest competitor is the person I have to look at in the mirror.” To that person, I give a knowing nod and smile.

Look Deep Within

It is Bill Gates who is famous for saying “I am not in competition with anyone but myself. My goal is to improve myself continuously.” He is right.

Sales, as we should know, is not a business skill, but a way of life. In effective selling I believe we must overcome objections to ourselves first, and then to our family, friends, prospects and ultimately, customers. I first learned this valuable lesson in the most unlikely of places, the hospital, after a life-changing diagnosis and in front of the toughest customer I would ever face — myself. After an accident I went from being an athlete to a quadriplegic. I learned to see myself in wellness and not as a disabled person; to not pity myself when I measured progress in quarter inches, not feet; and to overcome negativity and the hundreds of excuses I could have made for myself. I had a choice to overcome objections or give into them.

It was during my recovery that I took a sales position in the financial and insurance industry and within five years I became a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Don’t Invite Me to the Pity Party

In life, there are always people who will say, “I wouldn’t blame you if –” (you gave up, or quit this job, went into another field, or moved away). These are often the same types who will convince themselves that the competition is too much, or the product or service your team is selling is inadequate.

I first encountered this attitude in rehab.

They would wrap their pity in comments telling me they never thought I could have come “this far,” or to accept what couldn’t be changed. I chose not to listen. I knew there were still improvements I could make to my health challenge and to not accept that I had done all that I could. I was learning important lessons of overcoming sales objections.

Just as a lawyer never asks a court witness a question they can’t already answer, as a sales person there should be no opposition to a sale you can’t answer. In fact, before going into any presentation know exactly how you will respond to an objection.

If you don’t know information on the customer before you call on them, chances are the sale is lost before you make it. When I was in rehab, I could have defined myself as someone with a terrible back injury. Instead, I studied everything about my injury, I asked a thousand questions and I was determined to understand that no two injuries are identical. It gave me a well-spring of optimism and a commitment to always do my best. I didn’t know how far I could go; I only knew that in terms of my own life or in selling against competitors, I could do more than accept a situation; I could overcome the challenge in front of me. Of course, I learned a sense of acceptance, but the acceptance was never based on pity. If I had a bad day in rehab or lost a sale, I knew the next day would be better. It always was.

Truth is, I have had more good days than bad. I faced down the toughest competitor I ever had and sold him on the future.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Keynote Speaker on Overcoming Objections for Sales Teams through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169