What You Need to Know About Gaining the Doctor's Ear

By Mike Karlsrud
One of the questions still facing laboratory sales representatives today is “How do I get in to see the doctor?” Followed closely by “How do I get them to do what I want them to?” Get in front of the guy with the checkbook!

While you might be directed to the lead optician or office manager, your efforts will be nearly pointless unless you get face time with the doctor/decision maker(s). Without them, you are fair game for the competition and your wheels will keep spinning without traction.

If the doctor/decision maker is in but isn’t seeing vendors, ask the lead for a piece of paper and pen. Try this…hand-write a note with an intriguing opportunity that you are excited to tell them about and why it will impact their business. Be brief and personable. Then hand it to “Gate Keeper” and ask that they deliver it to the doctor while you wait. When the doctor comes out, thank him/her and ask for an appointment for the three of you to meet. Position the lead optician as your partner in the solution and suggest that you meet together with the doctor to determine whether this new product makes sense for them. If the lead is involved it will add credibility and value to your proposal.

Once you are in front of the right people, your value proposition must be clear, concise, and have a positive high impact {WIIFM). It might include ways to save money in the office or a new revenue stream you might open up with a new product or service. Don’t go in unless you are well prepared and you know it cold!

The best way to get a doctor/decision maker to look at what you are offering is to tie it into what they love to do…help people see better and make more money. How you present the offering to the doctor will make the difference between them seeing this offering as a product or as a key part of a solution that they need (Value). Take this simple test. Answer the question…“How would you describe the progressive you are introducing?” Chances are you answered the question with a fitting height, a segment height, something about the distance, intermediate and near zones, and how it might even be customized for each patient.

Did you focus on the facts or properties of the lens? Did you focus on the materials that it came in? What additional treatments were available? Did you mention the deal or special that was happening at the moment?

Or did you offer a clear, concise message of how your product fits into their mission of providing superior eye care for their patents while solving two needs, patient care and added revenue? Keep it simple with a pencil sale leading to the annual increased net revenue.

Possibly, many of you have the tendency to tell the facts, yet what people buy are solutions. There is a LAW in selling that states this truth, “People buy with emotion and justify with logic.” Yet, often when we describe products we use only facts and we don’t use the language of benefits or emotion. Features are facts of the product and benefits are the value the facts have to the customer. Now take the same test and answer only with benefit statements and see how your message changes! Doctors will be more apt to do as you ask if you emotionally connect your product to their mission. When they feel that connection, you will have their ear and attention to tell your story and deliver their solution.

Mike Karlsrud is principal of The Karlsrud Company, a sales performance and training company in Minneapolis MN. www.karlsrudcompany.com , email: mike@karlsrudcompany.com. 612-747-3184

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May/June LabTalk 2017