The life of a representative who sells surgical devices is never boring. As a matter of fact, after a few months on the job, you may wish for boring. The situations you run into are never the same and even though you may be super organized, there’s good chance that more than once a week your meticulous planning will get sabotaged. Flexibility is more the norm in a sales rep’s life.
Organize the Day
Now you do have to be organized, no doubt about it. Most surgical reps carry a number of medical devices so you have to have a way to arrange your samples, your order books, service accounts and deliveries in your car so you can easily reach what you need when you need it. The first thing in the morning, you’ll want to organize your thoughts and your schedule. An average of 15 to 20 percent of your day is spent on the road, so you don’t want to duplicate your tracks. Work on cold calls between appointments and regular stops.
Get Up and Go
Various hospitals have different requirements and procedures for sales reps to follow. In some, you must check in and out every time you visit. As you make your rounds each day, you’ll have to build in time to go through those motions of checking in – they may not take up time, but are important to retain your privileges and access. You’ll have a certain amount of time scheduled for each stop on your schedule and you’ve got to build in time for those stops at reception or to chat with the security guards. Building relationships on the go is an integral part of your job and paves the way for success. So while you’re on the go all day, you’ve got to prepare for some small talk and procedural layovers.
Check In and Check Up
You never know quite what you’re going to run into when you knock on the door of the head surgical nurse who does the ordering for the department. She may be taking inventory and glad you stopped by because she needs a number of supplies, or she may be in the middle of a crisis. Be prepared for anything and ready to back off and reschedule if necessary. You are the servant in these predicaments and if you can’t help a situation, then get out of the way. While you’re checking in and delivering doughnuts or cookies to a surgical team, you might have to show them how to work a new unit they just received or take a broken device back for repairs. The more helpful you can be during your calls, the more they’re going to like you.
Crash and Cash In
Once you make it back to the office after a day of calling on your accounts, you’ll have reports to complete. The pressure of closing sales and smiling all day even when you don’t feel like it may be crashing around you, but you can’t forget about the paperwork inherent in the life of a surgical sales rep. You’ll have orders to enter, notes to make on various requests, repairs to log and calls to return. Then you have to face your own crew and record your mileage and expenses for the day so that at the end of the week, you can put the finishing touches on the required reports; and only then can you breathe.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."