We have ample doctor time right now, and I had a GREAT opportunity to watch sales in action (well, maybe inaction). I’m always interested in learning. JD and I were hanging out in the infusion area of the doctor’s office. Okay, I was hanging out. JD is doing the cancer-busting work.
My Sales Coaching Hat
A couple of pharmaceutical representatives walk in doing their ‘thang.’ This is fun for me. put on my Sales Coach hat and begin to watch the play in action. In my mind, I’m always looking for what someone’s sales process is. If you have any TrainerTainment exposure you know, we think Prospecting, Connecting, Qualifying, Proposing, & then Closing is THE Sales process. So I measure others by that standard. Here’s what I saw…
The Sales Process
Connect – The lead sales guy introduces himself and the guy that’s with him to the nurses. It looks as if he might be training that guy. He begins to build rapport. I’m thinking, this guy knows what he’s doing. But then he keeps chit chatting. They talk about spring break, what are they going to do for Easter, and …and…and…
Qualify – I think he may have asked if they had any patients using a specific type of drug (I’m assuming that’s the one they sell).
Present – No
Close – Well, no. I don’t think so. It was about a 5-minute interaction. The nurses were receptive but not decision-makers. The rep shakes hands and says, “I’ll check back in a couple of weeks.”
I nearly went crazy. Honestly, I almost shouted, “WHY?” What would you be checking on, May flowers? I wanted to help. I thought about running out after them and inquiring about what their objective was. Maybe they simply had the objective of meeting the nurses. That seems like a weird reason to spend time prospecting in that way.
I think they could have learned so much more if they had asked questions like:
“How do you decide who to buy this particular drug from?” The nurses would have information about who they buy it from and why they buy it from them and maybe if they were happy with their service or had any reason to change suppliers. Wouldn’t that have been helpful? This could have helped them understand who their competition is and potentially their focus on the budget or if that is even an issue.
“Who does the ordering and how often do you typically place orders?” That would have helped them get closer to the decision-maker or at least the decision-influencer.
The lesson for me is that you have to make your chit chat matter. There needs to be a purpose to the call that goes beyond meeting people in the office. They could have turned the chit-chat into a meaningful conversation because they would have learned something! With every encounter, you need to ask for something to make the call worthwhile. That’s closing.
I thought about chasing them out the door so that I could at least have the answer to my question about their original objective. Maybe he was just introducing the new guy. Instead of chasing them out the door, I started rattling off my concerns to JD. He always takes the high road and suggested that the guy already had the answers to those questions. He is so good at assuming the best.
I felt like they wasted their most precious asset (time). I hope his trainee gets to ride along with other representatives. Maybe we need to get a PCQPC script written for the pharmaceutical industry. Could be “just what the Sales Doctor ordered!”