Getting Started in Medical Sales 

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Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 04, 2008 07:54PM

Hello, my name is Jeff, and I'm a recent college graduate with over four years of tangible product sales experience. I worked for Cingular wireless in a retail location for about 3 and a half years where I ranked in the top 23% as a part time sales rep. I also led my particular location in total generated profit during all periods in which I worked full time (during holiday and summer breaks).

I currently work for AT&T wireless as a B2B sales rep. I sell complete wireless solutions including phones, pda's, voice and data plans, and Blackberry servers to small and medium sized businesses with 1-300 employees.

My ultimate goal has always been to sell medical devices, as I have a neighbor who used to work for Bard, and after speaking with him and shadowing him on a sales call, I was sure it was what I wanted to do. Before reading some of the posts in this forum, I thought that Pharma sales was a great way to break into device sales, but now I understand Pharma sales isn't really the golden ticket!

I'm trying to figure out the best way for me to break into device sales, given my sales experience and my current situation. I have 3 moving violations on my driving record in the last 3 years (2 rolling stops and one 64mph in a 55mph speeding violation, NO DWI or DUI) and I want to know if this is an automatic deal-breaker for me with regards to breaking into device sales right now (I'm pretty sure it IS a deal-breaker with regards to Pharma). Also, I'm trying to figure out whether or not my current B2B sales position is quality experience for breaking into device sales (or if need be, Pharma sales) even though it's INSIDE sales. I know that tangible, outside B2B sales is ideal experience but INSIDE B2B is all I could find upon graduation.

Any advice, insight, or leads would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: CH (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 04, 2008 11:07PM

You said, "Any advice, insight, or leads would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!"

With that license, here it goes....

Would you expect to join the Philharmonic without being able to play an instrument?

Would you expect to join a Pro Football team without ever playing Football?

Do you think that you can join the PGA tour because you've played minature golf?

Why are there so many posts from people wanting to get into serious sales positions with no knowledge/ skills of the positions they seek?

What have you done to prepare yourself for a sales career? What do you REALLY know about sales as a profession? I don't just mean taking care of customers who walk in the door to buy. Go read some books on sales. Take some seminars. One interview that I had for a medical device sales job consisted of a simple statement by the interviewer. He took his pen out of his pocket and said, "Sell me this pen." Would you know what to do? Honestly, do you even have a clue on how to handle that? Maybe you do, but if you don't then you need to hit the books and learn about professional selling.

Want some more perspective? The interview is sales. The product is YOU. It is all up to YOU. If you want to be in device sales, then sell yourself. It's up to YOU to seek out and find the opportunities. It's up to you to sell yourself to the company. If you won't/can't/are unable to, then you haven't learned your trade, and sales is not for you. It means you don't have the attitude, the tenacity, the know how, the commitment, the skills, or the heart, etc. for this type of career. You don't let it happen, you MAKE it happen. Do you think successful sales people are "Lucky"? Do you think there is such a thing as a "born salesperson?" If you do, then think again.

Now for the answer you really want to know; Will your driving record knock you out of the running for device sales? My answer is, if you even have to ask the question, then the answer is yes.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Gary H. (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 05, 2008 10:07AM

VERY, VERY, good honest advise. Many more other people on this board, other then Jeff, need to read what you wrote.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 05, 2008 04:43PM

Thanks for the advice. The reality of the matter is this...I CAN sell these products, and I DO have the competitive nature and tenacity to handle it. I was simply asking if the license will keep me from having the OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE IT. Thanks for letting me know that I will need to wait until the points were gone, as THAT was the question I had. I never questioned my character or ability...I already KNOW what I'm made of, I was simply wondering if my license would automatically prevent me from PROVING it.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Gary H. (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 05, 2008 05:29PM

Jeff,

Try to get yourself at least 18 to 24 months of OUTSIDE B2B sales. For example, copiers, dictation equip., postage (Pitney Bowes) or somthing like this.

Then go to headhunters that specialize in medical sales. Your inside B2B sales is not good enough.

These jobs are a direct bang sell. Very difficult to be successful at, but easy to get.

Excellent experience.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 05, 2008 05:53PM

Did Ladainian Tomlinson START OUT in the NFL? Did you just START OUT in device sales? NO. This is why I asked the other question, which you partially answered by saying that I need to attend seminars and read books regarding professional selling, which I completely agree with. But I'm also really interested in knowing what types of sales positions I should be looking for as a recent college grad that a hiring manager in device sales will look favorably upon. I don't EXPECT to know all there is to know about professional selling right now...I never said that I did. I'm not trying to act as though I'm ]ready or qualified to be a device salesperson right now, so I apolologize if it sounded like I did. But that's exactly why I'm here, asking you these questions. Not because I think I should be on the PGA tour right NOW, but because I want to know what type of preparation will GET ME TO THE PGA TOUR in the near future, knowing that I have the personality, guts, tenacity, and will power to succeed if I have the opportunity. Do you have any suggestions regarding this?

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 05, 2008 05:56PM

Gary,

Thank you VERY VERY much for the insight and advice. This is exactly what I was wondering about.

I'm going to actively pursue sales positions such as the ones you mentioned.

I really appreciate your professional advice!

-Jeff

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: CH (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 05, 2008 09:01PM

Jeff,

You missed my point entirely on your driving record. The driving record itself does not hold you back, the fact that you would acknowledge it as a potential holdback means you haven't got the mindset that nothing will hold you back from your goal. If you do ask, then your not ready mentally, so the answer would be yes. Your only limited if you think your limited. Get it?

Gary gave you good advice about what types of jobs to start with. I agree with him. I can't say it enough though, you need to learn your chosen profession, not just get a job in outside sales. Without knowing what your doing you will most likely fail. If you don't outright fail, you will only be earning a fraction of what you could be earning. Your success or failure is entirely up to you. Hit the books or hit the beach. Your choice.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device Sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 06, 2008 07:40PM

CH,

Thanks alot for the clarification. I completely agree with you about the importance of having the proper mindset and about educating myself. I appreciate the feedback very much.

-Jeff