How many reps tell themselves that “I listen to my customer” and actually know what the customer needs? I attended a recent high risk neonatal conference, and as usual, attended many of the sessions. There is an AMAZING amount of change happening in the NICU environment, which will impact virtually every aspect of the physical and clinical environment. What I realized at this meeting, was that clinicians, even though they are seasoned veterans in their respective rights, rarely comprehend the complexity of their total environment. A patient care environment is nothing more than a “Dysfunctional application of dissimilar technology”. Who better than a sales representative of any one of these NICU products, to shed light on the integration in to the big picture?
The problem is that most reps attending symposiums and conventions, sit in the booth between exhibit hours or are on the phone in the lobby, “thinking” that they are selling, but missing an extraordinary opportunity to learn what their customers are hearing from their point of view. As a rep, when you ask a client about their needs for, let’s say a monitor, or any disposable, they will tell you about the need in the general context of the product in question. What they won’t tell you (or cannot articulate well) is how that product interfaces (or interferes) with best practice care and other technology and methods.
I highly recommend that all reps take some time to pick out at least 3 or 4 sessions every time they attend a conference and LISTEN to what the market is saying…. listen to questions asked by participants, and later in the booth, say to a customer “based on the information shared at the session this morning, we believe that our product meets the need better because……”. The amount of credibility you get from a simple interaction based on first hand listening, is invaluable. It boosts your credibility as a subject matter expert, and will often prompt a call back from your clients to assist with future challenges, because they trust you. Now there is a new concept in sales. Trust the rep to be a partner!