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Overcoming Objections to Increase Your Sales

Jeff Cochran

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In a perfect world, prospects will accept your sales pitch without reservation and come to an agreement about price and other factors, becoming a revenue-generating customer. However, we know that negotiations rarely work out that way – otherwise there would be little need for sales training and the art of negotiation.

We know that one of the toughest parts of the sales negotiation process is overcoming objections to making a purchase or moving into the next step of the funnel. By effectively knowing how to address sales objections, you will be better equipped to engage your average prospect and turn them into a buyer. Here’s what you need to know about overcoming objections in sales.

 

The Most Common Sales Objections

The type of objection that you encounter may vary widely depending on the customer, product, or business model. However, some of the most widely accepted sales rebuttals include versions of the following:

 

1.“We don’t have the money for it.”

Budget is one of the biggest detractors from a successful sale. Many sales reps have the reflexive reaction to simply lower the price, but this isn’t necessarily the best scenario. Immediately lowering the price can bring about questions regarding your product or service’s value, diminishing your authority.

 

2. “I don’t have the authority to make that decision.”

In some cases, a sales objection might arise because the person you’re speaking to has to consult with a boss, a partner, or even a spouse before making a final decision. This can seem like an outright dismissal, but you can see it as an opportunity to follow up with other decision makers involved.

 

3. “I don’t really need it.”

In some cases, a client will say that he or she is happy with the status quo, but what this really means is that fear of making a change may be dictating their decision-making process. Sometimes, this objection arises simply from being ill-informed about the value of a product or service.

 

4. “Now is not a good time.”

Another version of this might include, “Get in touch with me again when I have the budget.” Overcoming this objection is about more than demonstrating value, it’s about creating urgency, and making a proposition so compelling that they might feel regret if they pass up the opportunity right now.

 

5. “I need more time to think about it.”

This can be a particularly tricky scenario to navigate because it combines several of the previous objections at once: It may concern budget, authority to decide, need, and the timeliness of the proposition. Chances are, the customer simply doesn’t see the value of the product or service you’re trying to sell.

 

Best Practices for Overcoming Objections

Now that we know what the most common sales objections are, how can we overcome them? We recommend a four-point process to get the sales negotiation process back on track:

 

1. Acknowledge the Objection

First, it’s important to understand where the objection is coming from. As we highlighted in the sections above, the most common sales rebuttals might mean something else. For some customers, it’s failing to understand the value of the product. For others, it’s complacency or fear of making the change. Still for others, it’s a simple lack of information. By acknowledging the objection, you’re better suited to counter and overcome it.

 

2. Probe to Clarify

Asking simple questions about the customer’s reasoning is the next step in overcoming objections. Open-ended questions tend to work best, as they help you better understand what’s keeping a customer from a purchase. For example, if a customer says they simply need to think about it, ask yourself: what might be holding them back from making this purchase? From this brainstorm, you can help create a trustworthy relationship and establish value by introducing specific benefits of a product or service, such as a guarantee or return policy.

 

3. Respond to the Objection

Next, take steps to respond to any sales objection by clarifying your value proposition or showing how your product or service can deliver value to a customer. For example, if a sales objection arises  due to decision-making authority, don’t wait for a customer to “get back to you.” Instead, use this as an opportunity to identify the concern and keep the process moving along by setting up a joint meeting with the authority that’s holding the prospect back from a sale.

 

4. Refocus the Objection

The last step in overcoming objection is reframing it to arrive at the best solution. The approach to this will depend on the nature of the objection involved. For example, an objection rooted in complacency or perceived lack of need might simply require a targeted pitch of the benefits of your product or service. In many cases, demonstrating unique value, backed by specific examples of how a product or service will solve customer pain points, will effectively quell an objection.

 

Overcoming objections is a matter of asking the right questions, understanding the real reason for the sales rebuttal, and refocusing to drive value. It’s a process that requires plenty of practice, but these tips should help. Additional training can also be helpful in overcoming objections for further increased sales and revenue.

What Is Distributive Negotiation?

Jeff Cochran

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In some cases, such as when there is a fixed amount of value on the table, distributive negotiation is the preferred method to reaching a desired outcome. While integrative negotiation typically involves several complex factors, distributive negotiation involves a process where the outcome revolves around one factor, such as price.

For example, you might use integrative or interest-based bargaining when negotiating several aspects of a job – salary, benefits, time off, or even start date. By contrast, distributive negotiation involves one fixed point, and the assumption that both parties want to divvy up the pie in the best manner possible. Distributive negotiation examples typically involve purchases, such as a used car (for a consumer) or a large order from a vendor.

Distributive negotiation tends to be simpler than the integrative approach, simply because of the lack of external factors involved. However, both benefit from a thoughtful and exhaustively prepared approach. The more you prepare for any negotiation, the more likely you are to come out with a desirable outcome. Using a variety of strategies can help ensure that you’re coming away with a fair piece of the pie. Here’s how to do it:

 

1. Come Up With a Compelling BATNA

At the heart of any negotiation should be an effective BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. In other words, what will you do if you cannot reach your first desired outcome? Generally, parties entering a distributive arrangement have a desired end goal, such as a price they’re willing to pay, or accept as payment.

The best way to improve your BATNA for distributive negotiation is to create various alternatives through research. For example, if you’re in the process of ordering a large amount of supplies from a vendor, it can be helpful to pursue several negotiations from different vendors at once. This better positions you to negotiate and achieve the best price possible by maximizing available benefits and even bouncing the possible alternative across vendors.

 

2. Find Your “Reservation Point”

Another key aspect of distributive negotiation is determining when you will walk away from the negotiation. For distributive negotiating, this is usually a fixed price point. For example, you might decide ahead of time, based on conversations with stakeholders and management, that you’re willing to buy supplies for $5,000, but will walk away if the other party refuses to come to that level.

It’s essential to determine your reservation point well before entering any negotiation, whether it’s a price you’re willing to pay, or what you’re willing to sell a product or service for. If you don’t determine this point before the negotiations begin, you could end up in a low-ball situation.

 

3. Think About the Other Party Involved

The key to understanding and effectively navigating any negotiation is accepting that you are only one of two parties involved. You don’t want to go beyond your reservation point, but neither does the other party involved in the negotiation. Knowing the other party’s BATNA and reservation point can help streamline the negotiation and smooth any major differences in opinion. In some cases, it can even narrow your options and determine when a negotiation simply isn’t worth pursuing.

Better understanding the other party requires proper research. Using the same example of vendor supplies, you might research the availability of other services in the area and how willing (or desperate) the other party might be to make a deal. When you have an idea of how much flexibility the other party has on price, you’re better suited to aim as high (if you’re the one selling) or as low (if you’re the one buying) as possible.

The distributive approach to negotiation involves acknowledging the differences that are inherent to both parties and understanding the basic definitions of BATNA and reservation point. When negotiating, keep those elements in mind and use them as strategies to achieve the best possible price. Remember, distributive bargaining involves taking home the largest slice of pie possible, a process that can require practice and additional training.

 

What You Need to Know About Integrative Negotiation

Jeff Cochran

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The right approach to a negotiation can make the difference between striking a deal and coming out with two parties disappointed. Integrative, or interest-based bargaining, tends to be the more fruitful of the two, because it tends to find common ground and come to a resolution that makes both parties involved happy. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of integrative negotiation, and how you can make it work in practice.

 

What Is Integrative Negotiation?

Two main camps of negotiation thought exist, and integrative negotiation tends to be the more popular of the two. Interest-based negotiation seeks to create a win-win solution to bring a dispute or other negotiation to a close. As a strategy, integrative negotiation focuses on the creation of a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parties that are often at odds. By addressing the underlying reasons for the conflict in the first place – needs, concerns, and fears – each party can effectively make trade-offs that leave each satisfied with the eventual outcome.

This is in stark contrast to positional bargaining, which aims to come to a resolution based on the idea that opposing viewpoints are fixed. As a result, “compromises” elicited in a positional bargaining negotiation might not be much of a compromise at all. While positional negotiation often leaves two sides of the table unsatisfied, integrative bargaining satisfies the objectives of both parties, effectively distributing the interests of both into the final compromise.

 

Effective Interest-Based Bargaining Techniques

Integrative bargaining is a creative process that requires acknowledgement of differences, out-of-the-box thinking, and skilled negotiators. Here’s how to do it:

 

1. Identify the Interests of Each Party

First, it’s essential to learn more about the aspects that might be holding a party back in a negotiations process. Generally, these include interests, needs, fears, concerns, and wants. This can also be a time-consuming process, because people don’t typically reveal their interests or fears naturally. It’s also important to remember that though only two people may be involved in a negotiation, many other people are also “at the table.” A negotiator must often represent the interests of an entire organization, including superiors and stakeholders. This can make the pool of interests grow and make negotiation more difficult.

The best way to identify the needs of the other party is through posing a lot of open-ended questions that ask “why?” (e.g., Why do you need that? Why do you think that’s important?) By figuring out why people want what they do, you can effectively understand their interests and be better able to address them in the negotiation process.

The key here is understanding people’s needs in order to arrive at a win-win solution, not to barter for a better position that leads to “beating” them – which undermines the whole idea of integrative negotiation itself. This also applies to answering questions. Be as transparent as possible and make sure that the other side knows your underlying interests, as well.

This can also be one of the most challenging aspects of interests-based negotiation. Learning the best practices for open-ended communication is essential and may require professional intervention.

 

2. Determine All the Options – Then Narrow Them Down

Once each party has an idea of what the interests of each side of the table are, the real work begins. Cooperation is a key focus of integrative negotiation, and parties must work together to identify common ground and determine the best solution for everyone involved. Rising to meet the interests of both parties is usually a matter of brainstorming. At the beginning, it’s important to simply get ideas on the table without judgement or countering – simply list solutions that will work for you and allow the other negotiator to list theirs without explaining why they won’t work. Once you both have a list of possible solutions, now is the time to tweak them and make adjustments that leads to a true “win-win” situation.

Though some may view them as mutually exclusive, the act of integrative negotiation is essentially distributive. You and another negotiator are creating ideas that go into a pie, under the notion that you’ll each go home with half. Baked into that pie are the ideas, hopes, and interests of the parties involved. Integrative bargaining allows for negotiators to effectively stuff the pie with as much of the good stuff as possible. Through compromise, you may reshape the pie and throw out scrap pieces of dough, but you should both be happy with the result.

Integrative negotiation begins with the idea that both parties involved in a negotiation have fundamental differences and objectives. However, by listening to one another’s interests and needs, both parties can also learn what’s holding one another back from an effective negotiation. By utilizing a strategic deployment of options after brainstorming a list of possibilities, negotiators are better poised for a win-win situation.

Improve Your Sales Prospecting With These Proven Processes

Jeff Cochran

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It’s no secret that sales is a competitive field. In a technology-driven mobile environment, the industry is more dynamic than ever. Sales reps must make use of a variety of techniques to make the most of their efforts – this applies not only to closing a deal, but with sales prospecting itself. Learn the essential sales prospecting tools and processes you should be incorporating into your workday.

 

What Is Sales Prospecting?

Simply put, sales prospecting involves seeking out potential buyers or customers to garner new business. Ideally, the process of sales prospecting will move a prospective buyer down the funnel until they become new – and hopefully repeat – customers.

The difference between sales prospecting and lead prospecting is subtle, and the source of some confusion. Generally, we think of a lead as someone who has a marked interest in a product or service that is demonstrated by visiting the website, subscribing to an email list, commenting on a blog post, or something similar.

A sales prospect, on the other hand, is a lead who we might deem as a qualified potential customer. In other words, he or she fits a target buyer persona and is generally more likely to continue down the sales funnel.

Some people use the terms sales prospecting and lead prospecting interchangeably, and they’re very similar. However, true sales prospecting focuses the effort on the people who are most likely to become bona fide, revenue-generating customers.

 

Best Practices for Sales Prospecting

Like any other aspect of sales, prospecting takes time, a thoughtful process, and a continual commitment. Over the years, we’ve identified several strategies that make sales prospecting more likely to be successful.

 

It Starts With Your Mindset

Any successful prospecting approach requires the right frame of mind. The best reps use an “always prospecting” approach to their practice. In other words, prospecting is not something that you do once. It’s a continual, effort-based process that uses a variety of techniques to reach success.

In general, the prospecting mindset involves continuous research. Knowing the customer is arguably the most essential aspect of sales, and sales prospecting is no exception. Sales reps must know if they’re eliciting quality prospects that they can deliver business value to. The research phase of prospecting involves asking several important questions, such as:

  • Is the prospect viable?
  • What system will work to prioritize prospects?
  • How can reps develop opportunities to connect?

By continuously deploying the research phase, reps will be able to seamlessly move qualified prospects through the funnel. As with any aspect of sales, mindset is more than half the battle.

 

Develop a Viable Prep Tool

Getting into the mindset seems simple enough, but how can a rep know if a prospect is qualified? This is where battle-tested sales prospecting techniques come in. We find that the following process proves to be successful:

  • Identify the target. Remember, a lead becomes a prospect when he or she fits into a target buyer persona.
  • Establish precedent. Why would a prospect be interested in a product or service? How does it address his or her pain points? Does any compelling precedent exist that would help establish a prospect as a qualified lead? This is also a good time to examine other disqualifying notions such as budget limitations or time constraints.
  • Create a script. The final step in the sales prospecting process is developing a script for identified, qualified prospects. The goal of this script is to be actionable as soon as possible, which we’ll discuss more at length.

 

Rehearse the Script

It’s a good idea to have an established script in place when making cold calls or participating in other sales prospecting activities. However, it’s also important to understand that these scripts aren’t one size fits all. The success of a script depends on a few different factors:

Personalization. Tailor messaging to address a specific problem that prospects are having.

Keep it relevant. Do some research ahead of time and determine if the issue is still a relevant concern. Remember, some prospects simply get stale.

Be professional, but casual. No one likes feeling like the recipient of a cold call. Add touches that make the script seem less scripted and more personable. Use a natural tone, whether communicating through email or over the phone. Resist the urge to be “sales-y” and keep the focus on adding value.

Be helpful. The key distinction between prospecting and selling is the desired outcome. Obviously, the end goal of prospecting is revenue. However, at this stage of the process, provide the prospect with something valuable and expect nothing in return (a good example is a free consultation or something similar).

 

Create a Sales Prospecting Strategy That Works

Now, down to the nitty-gritty details. How can a sales prospecting strategy ensure success? We advise using the following techniques:

 

Use a Mix of Inbound and Outbound

The conventional wisdom has long been to use either inbound or outbound prospecting, but a mix of both tends to work best. While outbound prospecting involves more aggressive prospecting such as cold calling and social media messaging, inbound marketing focuses more on casually emailing or social selling to someone who already has an expressed familiarity with the product or service. Both have their advantages; but inbound prospecting tends to be more successful. Consider, for example, that IMB managed to increase their sales by 400% after implementing an inbound prospecting program.

 

Make a Great First Impression

Even when working with qualified leads that express familiarity and interest, it’s essential to communicate expertise and credibility from the first interaction. Here’s how to do it:

  • Practice, practice, practice. Many reps fail to realize a powerful tool that’s usually in the palm of their hands: their smartphone. Create an elevator pitch, record it, watch, and make adjustments. Think about how to communicate authority and warmth, and make adjustments, as necessary.
  • Ask for feedback. When in doubt, ask for help or expert advice. Most reps can improve or refine an elevator pitch with just a few simple adjustments – sometimes, it just a matter of getting a different point of view.
  • Remember the end goal. Many people fail to recognize the goal of prospecting, which is simply to add value. Do not overtly sell; give a prospect something, and don’t expect them to give anything in return. Do, however, schedule a time for follow up if possible.

 

Sales prospecting is a continual process, but it’s well worth the effort. When using proven sales prospecting techniques, reps can move qualified prospects down the funnel and efficiently increase their sales each month.

Is a Pharmaceutical Sales Certification Valuable?

Jeff Cochran

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 A certification means you have successfully completed the coursework and have mastered a particular skill set. While the pharmaceutical sales industry does not require a specific degree, there are ways to show you have mastered what you need to know. Take a quick look at why having a pharmaceutical sales certification can benefit your career and get you ahead in your field.

 

Stand Out in a Crowd

When applying for a job, there can be a field of candidates with the same experience and skills. What will make you stand out from the crowd? Recruiters look for those candidates with experience and professional coursework on their resume, showing they know their field of study. The applicants without any experience or certifications get put on the bottom of the pile. Be sure to add your relevant coursework to your resume to get your name to the top of the list. A Pharmaceutical Sales Certification would definitely make this list of important qualifications.

 

The CNPR Certification

The industry standard is the CNPR (Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative). This certification shows you have mastered the coursework and have an understanding of the pharmaceutical sales field. CNPR status can be checked with a simple phone call or online search, which makes it easy for recruiters to check your status. As an entry-level sales representative, you may not have experience in the field, but having this stamp on your resume will really show you have the skills you need. The test consists of 160 questions that must be finished in less than 120 minutes. At 45 seconds per question, this means there is no time to stop and think. You must demonstrate mastery of the exam questions for a passing score.

 

Industry Standards

The pharmaceutical industry has a lot of standards to learn. You can be sure you have mastered what you need to know by earning a sales certification. The course will take you step-by-step through everything you need to know, ensuring no rock is left unturned. It’s the whole package deal and shows potential employers you have learned and mastered the industry standards to be able to jump right in. Rules and regulations for selling medication are fairly strict, and not knowing them can cost you your entire career. Why wouldn’t you want to be confident in your knowledge of the industry?

 

Know the Jargon

Sales representatives need to master medical jargon before heading out on their first sales calls. Unless you attended medical school, you will probably never have all the language, but there is no way you can sell a pharmaceutical to a doctor’s office or hospital without knowing your subject.

You are less likely to be taken seriously during a pitch if you do not sound like you know what you are talking about. When a client can’t take you seriously, there is no way they are going to trust you. A pharmaceutical sales certification shows potential customers as well as employers that you have the language and knowledge needed to make a pitch and relay the information in a way everyone can understand.

 

Experience Does Not Always Trump Education

Experience does not always come out on top for an entry-level position. Recruiters look for those most qualified for the position, and often that means the person with the most education wins. Experience in the sales field is a great thing, but if it has been done without the proper training, a company may spend more time and effort undoing previous techniques. Instead, they may opt to go with a candidate who is fresh from the certification test, who has learned the medical jargon, industry standards and carries the CNPR certification. Keep this in mind when crafting your resume. Be sure to list all relevant trainings as well as any experience you have had in the field, whether it be a sales position or a relevant medical-related field.

SNI offers coursework that will prepare you for the CNPR test. Having a wide background of sales coursework can add to your readiness for the exam.

How Effective Are Sales Courses?

Jeff Cochran

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Whether you are looking for a new job in the sales field or trying to get ahead in your career, developing your skills is never a bad idea. Changing up your strategy can be a huge help to your business. A sales course is never a bad idea to expand your business and your technique, whether you are brand new to the field or have been in sales for years. Here’s a short look at why enrolling in a sales course can be beneficial to your career.

 

Looks Good on a Resume

Your resume paints a picture of you and your skills before anyone ever hears you speak. If you took a look at your resume right now, what kind of picture would someone see? A lot of times we have experience selling, but nothing to prove we’ve mastered the needed skills. On your resume there is a section dedicated to coursework in your field. This is the place to show employers how dedicated you are to your field, and how you’ve taken the initiative to grow. Adding sales courses to this section tells employers you mean business and they have good reason to hire you.

 

Boosts Your Income

Jobs usually start at the entry level for a reason. It gives you time to adjust to a new workplace and learn the tools of the trade. Think of how far ahead of the game you will be if you already have the skills needed for the position. Chances are you’ll spend less time at the bottom rung, and move your way up to a higher pay level right away. By using what you learned during your training program, you will impress your clients and you will see a huge difference in your business. Sometimes spending the money right from the start means you’ll see a bigger return on your investment over time.

 

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

There’s nothing like a little coursework to point out where you could use some help. But in the field of sales, playing off of your strengths and knowing your weaknesses can be a huge advantage. Dedicated sales courses help boost those areas in which you feel weak. You’ll be shown different techniques to use out in the field, and some may play to your strengths more than others. Be aware of which ones work for you and how you can develop your techniques. Take notes so you will remember later, and be sure to practice multiple techniques. Don’t get stuck in a rut only using one. Coursework is meant to develop your strategy, not just show off what you already know, so be sure to take a chance and try something new.

 

Stay on Top of the Market

The field of sales is constantly changing. New information drops daily, plus the products change and upgrade rapidly. Staying on top of all the information can be difficult. Luckily, sales classes are meant to bring all the current information to the salespeople. It doesn’t matter if you are brand new to the field, or if you have been in sales for years. Sometimes it is good to take a refresher course to learn about all the new advances in the field. Other professional fields (i.e. lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.) like have a certain number of professional development hours every year to learn about the new and upcoming best practices practices. Doesn’t it make sense for you to do the same for your position?

 

Stay Flexible

The longer you use one sales technique, the more it becomes routine and repetitive. Getting set in your ways really limits your types of interactions and client base. Step outside your comfort zone and use sales coursework to broaden your horizons. The more you practice a different type of sales technique, the more comfortable you will become using it in your daily work. Your clients will thank you, and chances are you will see an immediate difference in your business and sales outcomes. Flexibility is the key to keeping your potential customers happy. When you can adapt to your audience’s needs and switch parts of the pitch mid-meeting, you will show off your confidence and knowledge in your field, becoming even more of a resource.

 

What Can I Expect to Learn in a Sales Class?

There is a wide range of topics available for sales coursework. Different places will offer different strategies and techniques. Attending classes at an institution focused on sales will guarantee you are getting the information from the top of the field. Here is a list of some topics that you will cover at SNI:

 

  • How to build trust with potential clients
  • Develop a habit of asking open-ended questions for maximum feedback
  • Discover how to effectively demonstrate the value of what you are selling
  • Learn how to prepare efficiently in order to gain confidence
  • Master a systematic approach to sales that you can repeat with precision

 

These are just a few of the things that the sales course will cover, all of which are relevant and important to the sales field. Even salespeople at management and executive levels need a refresher course on the basics of connecting with people once in a while. The basics are the building blocks of your business and the entire industry. Getting back to the basics will send you further forward on your journey.

 

University or Private Classes?

Your local university probably has some coursework that would fit in with your sales position. Having the stamp of approval from an accredited institution can look good on a resume, but it likely will not fit your specific practical needs. SNI offers coursework that directly pertains to the sales field. There is no messy application process to get in, and we will work with you or your company to gain success. Learn sales skills that will get you where you want to go, and that will send your career in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

How to Break into Medical Sales

Jeff Cochran

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Almost anyone can decide they are going to be a medical sales representative, but it’s not as easy as it sounds to get into the industry and to succeed. It takes hard work and dedication to create a successful career. Staying on top of the current news and trends, plus a lot of travel are all requirements of the job. We’ve put together a list of some ways you can stand out in the crowd when trying to break into medical sales.

 

Choose Your Specialization

There are many different options in the medical sales field. What are you going to sell? You’ll need to think about your choice because you will be spending a lot of time reading and talking about whichever specialization you pick. Here is a quick list of some of the categories you can choose from:

  • Medical equipment
  • Software
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical devices
  • Medical billing and marketing services

If you like computers and the fast-paced world of technology, opt for a specialization that is constantly filled with changes. Medical software, devices, and biotechnology are all fast-paced sales jobs with a lot of information to absorb and relay. It’s important to really understand what you are selling because technology progresses quickly and some of the advances may be difficult for others to absorb. If you have no passion for whichever specialty you choose, it will show in your sales pitch and your customers will quickly lose interest.

 

Get Out There and Work

After you declare your specialty, it’s time to gain some work experience in the medical field. It doesn’t have to be in a sales position right away. Sometimes it’s better to enter the sales field after having some other experiences in the medical world. Try one of these ideas and see what you prefer:

  • Consider picking up an internship with a local medical sales company.
  • Take an entry-level position at a doctor’s office or a nearby hospital.
  • Get hired for a medical billing job in a doctor’s office or hospital.
  • Provide customer service in a hospital setting.
  • If you can afford it, volunteer your time at a local hospital or nursing home.
  • Work in a hospital vending position.

These jobs may not be your end goal, but they will help you get where you want to go. Being able to understand where hospital personnel are coming from or why a doctor’s office runs its business the way it does is priceless knowledge when trying to understand why your potential customer feels so strongly about a particular issue. Having a well-rounded background can put you in a better position for sales success.

 

Do I Need a Degree?

There is no special degree dedicated to medical sales. Most successful candidates just hold a degree in a related field, such as business or a particular science. The skills you learn in college coursework can help you, but if you are interested in expanding your training and your knowledge, there are options available that will put you ahead of the class. Do your research to find training programs that are relevant to the field and will give your resume the boost it needs to stand out against hundreds of applicants.

 

What Qualities Should I Have?

What are some of the qualities recruiters look for when picking potential medical sales candidates? These are some of the traits that regularly appear on job interview criteria, so run down the checklist and see how many of them describe your personality:

  • It requires dedication to stay ahead of the current trends and to know your product inside and out. It also requires dedication and discipline to succeed in the independent environment that most medical sales reps operate in.
  • You have to be able to set goals and keep them. This field is made up of self-motivators, so you need to figure out how to keep yourself motivated all the way to the finish line.
  • Time-management skills. This job requires you to set your own schedule If managing your time wisely and working effectively with or without deadlines are not your strong suits, you may want to hold off on entering this field.
  • Positive attitude. The long hours and the travel can get extremely tedious. It’s important to maintain a positive and sunny outlook in order to bring the sunshine with you to your meetings. A positive sales rep will rub off on the client, making for an easier meeting and a better client relationship.
  • Organization and attention to detail. It’s the little things that count when you head to a meeting. Showing up unprepared can lead to a disaster. The more organized and prepared you are to meet with a client, the more it shows off your knowledge and how much you truly care about your job.
  • As with any sales position, one of the keys is flexibility. You need to roll with the punches sometimes and be able to adjust your plan in the spur of the moment. If the client throws out a curveball, you need to be ready for it. Without this skill, you will be dead in the water.
  • People skills. In any sales position this is important. But, in medical sales, it is even more so. You need to get passed gate keepers, gain credibility in the eyes of medical practitioners, network with a wide range of people, and develop relationships. If you don’t have people skills or don’t enjoy conversing, you should probably walk away now.

Without these traits, you will have a very hard time being successful in the world of medical sales. They are key factors to most candidates’ success in the field and show how dedicated you are to your profession. Take your time and organize before you start applying for jobs. Be sure your resume shows off these skills to the recruiter so you have a chance at standing out from your competition.

 

Technical Skills Needed

You will need technical skills in addition to personality traits. Knowing the software in your field and the tools of the trade will benefit you in your day-to-day actions. They can vary based on the software your company uses, and may change over time. Some of these skills include:

  • Being able to use PowerPoint will give you a way to incorporate visuals into your sales presentations. Designing a slideshow filled with relevant information takes time, and knowing the software is a must.
  • Social media experience. Everyone is using social media today. Checking LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other channels before heading to your meetings can provide valuable information about the company’s background or views.
  • Relevant apps. The app stores are full of helpful applications for your mobile devices. Knowing which ones will help your production is priceless and can save you time and energy. Apps like Trello, Asana and Basecamp offer project management tools that can help you stay organized on the go. Waze can shave time off your commute, while Profit Story can help calculate the profit margin in the middle of your meeting.
  • Communication skills. You will have limited time with decision makers so you need to make the best of it. Sometimes it one-on-one with a doctor, and sometimes you are presenting your product to a committee. In both cases, your ability to communicate succinctly and persuasively are critical to your success.
  • Any other relevant software. Two examples are: If your specialty is medical billing supplies, you will need to be familiar with the software you are selling. Or, if your company uses SalesForce, you’ll need to learn to use a CRM quickly.

For more helpful skills to get you noticed in the job field, consider signing up for one of SNI’s sales training programs. This systematic approach to sales techniques is sure to boost you to the head of the field.

 

Why Attend a Negotiation Course?

Jeff Cochran

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Negotiations are an important part of the sales world. Without them, you wouldn’t understand your customers’ needs, be able to affect profit margins, and build relationships with the other side. You would simply be a storefront and not a salesperson. Learning how to properly negotiate throughout a sale would certainly have an impact on your business – both revenues and margins. Let’s take a look at how a negotiation course can help you reach the goals you’ve set in your sales career.

 

The Art of the Discussion

There is usually a fair amount of discussion that takes place before the paperwork seals the sale. How do you maintain a calm and cool composure should the discussion be heated? How do you overcome the subtle objections the other side brings up? Customers who believe they are not getting a fair deal may try different ways to get a rise out of you. The best thing you can do is stay cool, calm, and collected. Taking a negotiation course can give you a toolbox full of resources to do just that. You can reach in and pull out the tools as you need them, giving you the confidence to remain in control throughout the process.

 

Don’t be a Doormat

Not only are you getting a read on your client and learning how they handle a situation, but your client is also learning about you. If they think you are a doormat or a pushover, they may try to bring the discussion to a new level, hoping you will crack and bring down the price. Maintaining a confident exterior even if you are on the hot seat is very important. If this is your first negotiation with this client, if they break you down this time, they will think they can do it again and again. Stand up for the value of your product. With the proper training, this becomes easier and more second nature, ensuring self-doubt doesn’t creep in.

 

Build Your Confidence

There is nothing worse than being in a sales negotiation and looking weak. Clients immediately know they can take advantage of you and they will pounce. How do you maintain your confidence in a stressful situation? Here are a few tips to keep you going in the heat of the moment:

  • Know your walkaway. Write it down before you begin the negotiation. While it is ideal to stick to your walkaway, the situation may change – so, you don’t always need to end the negotiation if it gets there, but at least take a break, change the subject, or introduce new players.
  • Watch the other party’s body language. It may be easy for you to tell how you are feeling, but it is also important to watch the other party to see how he or she is reacting. Quick Tip: The secret to reading body language is congruence. Crossing of the arms or legs by themselves might mean the other side is not interested, but it’s that action paired with something else, such as angling their body away from you, less eye contact, or negative facial expressions, that means more likely than not there is a problem.
  • Don’t become reactive. First of all, you should be prepared. But, in negotiations, things come up, and it can get emotional. If that happens, and you start feeling an urge to react physically or with words to something, hold it! Keep your emotions in check to continue your professional appearance. It is very easy for people to feed off each other’s emotional tension, so defuse the situation and move on. Consider counting to ten in your head, taking several deep breadths, or even taking a break if you need to.

By using one or more of these techniques, you should be able to remain in control during a heated discussion. Your client will remember how you handled yourself and it will be a major deciding factor for future business opportunities – so you’ll want to think long and hard before reacting emotionally.

 

Learn to Empathize

Part of negotiation training is the ability to have empathy for the other side. You spend a lot of time researching your side of the story, so it can sometimes be hard to understand where the other side is coming from. Take a moment and try to see why they are coming across with such a strong opinion. What is the driving force behind their argument? Reflecting on another point of view could help you compromise and figure out a new win-win solution that you couldn’t see before.

 

Share Your Why

It’s important to reveal your backstory to your clients. Why did you start selling this product or service? Why did you think he or she would value your offering? What has it done to improve the bottom line of your other customers? By offering up a more personal story, you can connect with your clients and show them that you really mean what you are saying. Authenticity is the most important factor, so get ready to go deep and pull out some real stories. It’s always helpful to have a why statement prepared for when the opportunity arises.

To learn more about negotiation training, head to SNI’s website for the details. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take your sales strategy to the next level.

 

How Does Consultative Selling Work?

Jeff Cochran

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Customers need a reason to pick you for their purchase over all the other options available, which has become an ever tougher challenge thanks to the internet, changes in marketing strategies, and the rise of social media. The convenience of the online marketplace mixed, combined with the many options out there makes the world of sales a more complicated place. As a result, the trend toward building relationships with clients continues to gain more traction.

 

 

What Is Consultative Sales?

Consultative sales is the practice of putting the customer’s needs before your own. Designing your sales model based on what your customer is looking for increases the chance of a customer actually purchasing your product. You may have a fabulous product, but if it does not solve a fairly common problem, your “peddling” it will only cost your credibility.

 

It’s All About Authenticity

To be true to consultative sales, you have to truly believe the client’s needs are important. It’s not something you can fake. It’s important to believe in what you are selling and how it has the power to truly change someone’s life or impact their business. When you really believe in your product or service, it’s easy to market it in the best light possible and to show others how it can change their lives.

 

Ask Open-Ended Questions

The only way to find out more about your potential customer is to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. But not just any questions will do. You need to ask open-ended questions that leave room for as much information as possible. Open-ended questions lead to more questions and bring you to the heart of the customer’s problem. The client will eventually reveal the reason he or she needs your product in their life and how you can help them solve the problem. Start broad and then dig in, and don’t make assumptions!

 

The Customer Composes the Pitch

If consultative sales happen in the correct way, the customer actually ends up pitching the salesperson on why he or she need the product in their life. A consultative sales presentation allows the customer to lead the salesperson in the direction they want to go instead of the salesperson centering the presentation on the product. Finding a solution to the problem should feel like a team effort in which both parties contribute information. The entire experience feels more personal when the customer has input toward the solution. It no longer feels like a cookie-cutter pitch that everyone gets to hear. You spend time more building a relationship, which results in a better experience.

 

Drive the Plan

It’s important to listen to what the customer is telling you, but it’s also important not to waste everyone’s time letting the conversation wander. Your job is to keep the meeting on track. Offering a plan will help everyone see you came prepared, and you are ready to listen and build a relationship to serve their needs in the best way possible. Keep the conversation to the topics relating to the sale. Don’t end up talking about someone’s family picnic six years ago when Aunt Alice really needed to clean her house. If the conversation starts taking a turn in that direction, rein it in and bring it back to the topic at hand. Quick tip: Don’t just set agendas for meetings, be strategic about what is included, and prepare you will start meetings in order to set the desired tone and direction.

 

Make Them See the Value

The difference between product-based sales and a consultative sales approach is that you are not focusing your pitch on the product itself. A sale can be defined as the transfer of ownership of, and title to, property from one person to another for a price. People don’t want to pay that price for an item of no value. They want to know their purchase is going to offer them something and that it is going to be a smart buy. A values-based selling approach gives people the opportunity to see how your product makes sense for their life, which will make them much more likely to purchase. Deeper Thought: People don’t typically buy the specific item or service as a means in itself, they buy it as a means to an end. They buy a desired outcome – i.e. when someone goes into a hardware store and asks for a ¼ inch drill bit, what is that they want? They may be asking for a drill bit, but they really want the holes they are going to make with it. Don’t forget the result the other side is looking for.

If you are looking to improve your sales technique, sign up for SNI’s Influence & Persuasion Training course. SNI offers techniques to give you more confidence, improve your skills and to stay cool under pressure. Check out all the details here:

 

 

 

Solution Selling: How It Impacts the Selling Process

Jeff Cochran

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The sales idea known as solution selling started in 1975 when Frank Watts used his experiences in the real world to design his sales pitch toward what his buyer actually needed and not the product he was selling. It caught on and is still used today in sales techniques and classes. How can you use solution selling to benefit your business?

 

Stop Wasting Everyone’s Time

If you’ve done your homework prior to a sales meeting, you should have an understanding of your buyer’s needs and wants. Instead of planning a broad pitch that may include products for which your client has no need, tailor your pitch to include things that actually apply to their business. Would you walk into a horse ranch and try to sell cattle feed? They wouldn’t make a purchase, you would waste the time of the ranch manager, and everyone would walk away unhappy. No one enjoys a meeting that just wastes time, so don’t be that salesperson.

 

Become a Resource

It’s your job to fix things when a client has a problem. Your knowledge of the products and services you offer will help both of you get to the solution. The more information you have, the better you can help solve the problem. Knowing every possible use for your product or service will allow you to pull out the correct answer when a question arises. Consult your sales team for any outside-of-the-box solutions you may not have previously considered. Keep information available on products not included in your original pitch during your meeting in case a new problem arises. Impress your client with your preparedness and he or she will trust your solution is the best fit for the problem.

 

Create a Custom Bundle

If you have a product with a broad range of uses, create several different selling solution models that cover each type of customer. For example, we’ll take the classic vacuum cleaner salesperson. You have a couple different models of vacuums to sell, but a large client base that needs to clean:

  • A business interested in purchasing cleaning supplies. To market vacuums to a large business, you would include the larger models that clean more floor space and have industrial strength suction for dirt tracked in by customers. Your presentation could address how the larger model can clean more square footage in a shorter amount of time, equaling money saved in the long run by paying the employees less time to clean up at the end of the day. Depending on the size of the business, you can suggest different package deals for the number of tools the company will need to clean their space. There may also be tools for everyday cleanings and tools for less-frequent deep-cleans.
  • For a family looking to clean their home. The pitch to the family would include information on ease of storage with a smaller unit and extra tools for detailing furniture, corners, and more. You should have information available on a second hand-held model for smaller spills, offering a package deal for families interested in purchasing both models.
  • For someone living alone in a small house. You would market the smallest model possible and emphasize how it can clean small spaces with a lot of power. Emphasize ease of use, lightweight features, and suction power. Show why purchasing a high-end model for such a small space will save money in the long run because the client will not have to replace parts frequently or hire a cleaning service.

You are still selling the same products from the same company, but you are creating a bundle for your customer base that speaks to their individual problems. If your buyer believes you truly have their best interest at heart, they will be more likely to do business with you now and again in the future.

 

How to Develop a Solution Selling Pitch

How do you decide which products to offer your client? A little research before your meeting goes a long way. Here is a list of things to consider when creating the solution selling pitch for your next client:

  • Identify your buyer’s common problems. What exactly is the problem they are looking to solve?
  • Think about what won over your past buyers and made them decide to purchase the product. Take notes from your previous buying process and use them in your pitch.
  • Develop open-ended questions to ask your prospective customers at the beginning of the presentation. This will focus your recommendations on their actual needs and open up the conversation.
  • Be sure to show off the product’s value and how your customer can’t live without it. If you prove how much easier the product will make life for your client, he or she will be more likely to pay whatever the price.
  • Show how much money the product will save in the long run. It may be a large price tag right this minute, but if the product has a guarantee to last, or can help to accrue savings over time, buyers are more likely to consider purchasing it.

All these points together will paint a picture to your potential customer of why he or she should purchase your product. Be sure to ask open-ended questions as often as possible, and really listen to the answers.

 

Impact on Your Sales Career

Showing someone why they need your particular product is a great way to convince them to purchase, which will increase your sales. A well-constructed solution selling pitch factors in the client’s needs, which strengthens the relationship between salesperson and client. When your client feels you are taking care of their needs, they will be more likely to return to you in the future for the solution to their problem. Don’t just sell them the product, but check in with them after they purchase it to see how it is working for their problem. Offer any additional guidance needed to cement the relationship, and enjoy the trust that begins to develop. Positive salesperson-client relationships lead to positive business results, which helps keep your career on track.

 

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. When someone needs a solution to a problem, they ask a friend. When that friend remembers this great salesperson who helped them solve their own problem they will be likely to recommend that salesperson to their friends and family. Your business will grow and flourish as word gets out that you have the perfect solution to the problem. Cultivating relationships will take you everywhere in the sales world.

Interested in taking your business to the next level? Consider investing in your future with sales training. SNI offers a comprehensive training about Influence & Authority, and how you can use it to your advantage while in the sales world today.