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Ultimately a healthcare sales person won’t be able to move beyond existing plateaus if their attitudes and beliefs about selling aren’t aligned with the value customers are looking for.

Healthcare professionals are dealing with more complexities, distractions and conflicting priorities than ever before, and for salespeople there are clear implications: If you aren’t delivering the value that matters to your customer, you’re never going to be able to break through the noise.

We surveyed attendees at the annual conference of the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network (formerly The Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers [SPBT]) to get their take on what qualities healthcare professionals value most in their sales reps today. The top answers by a clear margin were:

  1. Patient Focus
  2. Honesty/Integrity
  3. Respectfulness
  4. Healthcare Acumen

Other qualities that stood out for attendees: sincerity, being a trusted advisor, being a resource for the patient/provider and acting as a consultant.

The results were interesting, particularly coming from a training audience. While the vast majority of sales training decisions—as well as the training programs themselves—focus on developing product knowledge, selling skills and other sales techniques, those qualities didn’t come up at all in our informal survey of what really makes the difference to the customer. Instead, the overriding themes that surfaced had more to do with the salesperson’s attitudes, beliefs, understanding of their clients and view of their role.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the merits of focusing on benefits versus features and problem solving versus product pushing. These are important issues, but ultimately a salesperson won’t be able to move beyond existing plateaus if their attitudes and beliefs about selling aren’t aligned with the value customers are looking for. We call it congruence.

It’s only when these five dimensions of a confident salesperson are in alignment will the individual have both the self-assurance and commitment to consistently practice needs-focused selling and make the connections that drive long-term loyalty and higher levels of success.

Our survey as well as our discussions with attendees at the LTEN conference confirm this. Healthcare professionals aren’t looking for someone to sell them something. They’re looking for someone who views their job as a way to provide value.

Here are 3 quick action steps you can take to make sure your healthcare sales reps are prepared to deliver the value their customers are looking for:

  1. Review your sales process to ensure it aligns with the way your customers buy.
  2. Evaluate your current sales training’s ability to develop and sustain patient-focused, values-driven behaviors.
  3. Use the congruence model as a diagnostic tool to analyze strengths and identify gaps.
About the Author
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John Crowder

John Crowder brings over 25 years of sales and leadership experience in the healthcare industry to the Integrity Solutions team. Prior to joining us, he worked for and led sales teams in medical device and pharma ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, spending a significant part of his career working in key account management, sales and leadership development, and marketing. Prior to his career in the medical space, John spent six years as a Division-1 football coach including a three year stint at the United States Naval Academy where he also served as a Commissioned Officer. John’s decades of experience and passion for coaching allow him to understand and address the unique needs and challenges of those in the sales and leadership professions. He lives in Annapolis, MD with his wife and two daughters.
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