We’ve all been there. Sometimes the hardest part of the job is “getting in the door.” Sometimes I wonder if there’s a course that every front desk person takes on becoming a ‘Gatekeeper.’ (Note to self: next business idea) Moreover, it’s also funny to me that most Medical Device companies spend a lot of time any money helping their sales people have relevant and impactful conversations with physicians, but almost nothing on helping them to set up that conversation. I am a firm believer that this is an acquired skill that anyone can master. Like most things, it comes with practice. Below you’ll find a few good strategies to try. However, it’s important to point out that you need to keep a certain ‘mindset’ for any of these strategies to work. I’ll go into this in later posts, but for now think: Humility, Humor, and Energy. Most importantly, have FUN! If you don’t make these your own, they’ll never work.
1. The Business Card Cake
This is one that I haven’t tried yet, but comes from the President of one of the Top 5 Spine Implant Companies. Sometimes a good laugh can make all of the difference.
Have you ever seen those cakes with pictures on them? You can get them made at most bakeries and grocery stores. Next time you find yourself unable to make a connection within a practice or group, have a cake made in the shape of a business card with your information on top! I bet you get a call back…
2. The Shoebox Approach
“Hey Doc, I’m just trying to get my ‘foot’ in the door! Lol!”
It goes without saying that this is the epitome of “being different.” You want to stand out, but you don’t want to be tacky. Well, unfortunately, you need to push those boundaries if you’re ever going to accomplish your goals.
Get a cheap pair of shoes (preferably unused). Then take one shoe out of the box, and replace it with some collateral, a note, and your card. Mail or ship the box to your intended target. Don’t forget to follow up a week or so later!
3. The Box of ‘Persuasion’
This is by far my “Go-To” method of introduction to a new practice or group. However there are several nuances of this approach that are commonly overlooked. First, your goal in this method is to ‘befriend’ the gatekeeper, not just bypass them. Keep that in mind when you walk in. In this approach, the gatekeeper IS the target. Walk straight up to the receptionist and say, “Hello!… (introduce yourself)… I’ve brought a little box of ‘persuasion’….” From there, strike up a conversation. Crack a self-deprecating joke or two. Finally, close by gaining an understanding of the best way to get a meeting. Remember, these people get called on every day. You are a viewed as a nuisance until proven otherwise. Focus on leaving the receptionist with the thought, “That didn’t suck!,” and you will be successful.
4. The FedEx Method
When was the last time you received a FedEx envelope that you threw into the trash without opening it??? Right, likely the answer is NEVER! Let me tell you, your customers will probably say the same thing. Want to get something into your customer’s hands? There’s sometimes no better way than to send it via FedEx! Include a note and your card. As a matter of fact, I’m using this strategy RIGHT NOW!
5. The Referral Method
Have you ever noticed that if you mention a mutual acquaintance or referral when you make your introduction that the outcome is usually much more fruitful than if you did not? Getting that referral that can help you get through the door is often a lot easier than you think. As medical device reps we interface with a lot of ancillary staff and service providers that are often already selling to or working with our target customers. Strike up a conversation with any of these mutual acquaintances or contacts about a value-based service or product, and ask if the target customer might be interested. The likely response is “Yes!” From their you go straight to your gatekeeper and say,
“Hi, I was talking to So-and-So about X and she felt that Dr. Y would be interested in hearing about it. What is the best way to set up a meeting?”
I guarantee that your chances of talking to that customer will be much greater. Like what you see? Have any suggestions? Don’t forget to leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by!