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Accessing the Inaccessible

Posted on: 10 Jul 02


“I can’t get in – there is no appointment system.”
And yet, there are sales representatives who do manage to access these so-called “difficult to see doctors”. How is this, when the majority of sa
“I can’t get in – there is no appointment system.” “I can’t get in – they do not see medical reps.” “I can’t get in – they do not see “on spec””. “I can’t get in – the book is closed.” “I can’t get in – the reception staff are too protective.” “I can’t get in – they only go to clinical meetings.” And yet, there are sales representatives who do manage to access these so-called “difficult to see doctors”. How is this, when the majority of sales reps do not appear to be able to gain access where they would like to? Gaining access to all your customers will always be a challenge but it is well worth the effort because some of the most difficult to see customers can turn out to be the best prescribers for you. So how do you get over the challenges that face you when attempting to get to see your priority customers? The following acronym is useful when attempting to access the apparently inaccessible customers. That acronym is PERSEVERANCE. P – Plan and be Patient. Ensure you have a plan and do not fall into the trap of only planning for the “easy to see” customers. Always include some apparently inaccessible customers and be patient – they won’t all be accessed immediately. Some take months, even years but they can sometimes be your best customers. E – Ensure you have the Energy Attempting to access seemingly inaccessible customers can be tiring. You need to have the energy sometimes just to make the decision to try and access them let alone physically try! Keep your self fit and energised. R – Be Resilient. Take the knocks! Don’t give up. Think carefully about different strategies if the one you are using is not working. S – Build your Skills. Look carefully at your influencing skills. How aware are you of your own behavioural style and that of others? Can you adapt your style to build rapport? E – Empathise with your customer and support staff. Ensure you can empathise with your customer and their support staff’s situation. If they are under pressure from patients, emergency calls etc then back off and attempt at a better time. Show them that you are aware of the situation and that you will try again later. V – Always add Value to your visits. Make sure that when you attempt to access a customer you have something specific and of value for them. Do not just ask, “to see the doctor”. You must have a specific reason and that reason must bring value to the customer. E – Always be Enthusiastic Be Enthusiastic and do not let any “knock back” show in your emotions. Take the “knock back” gracefully and learn to fight another day. R – Show Respect for customers and support staff. As well as empathising with customers and staff for their situation you should always show respect especially when they have tried to get you access. Always thank support staff for their efforts despite perhaps being unsuccessful. Always thank the customers for seeing you when you are successful. A – Be Aware of what is happening. Be aware. Who is in the surgery? What are conditions like in the surgery? Quiet? Busy? How do some reps get in and others not? What is the latest information on the customer? Have any of my colleagues seen them recently? Keep your eyes and ears open to any clues that might help you gain access. N – No is only a diversion not a “stop sign” Many reps get put off by the word NO. Treat it only as a diversion and not a STOP or DEAD END sign. C - Contract with customers. When you manage to see customers don’t immediately go into the sales pitch, as most reps tend to do. Differentiate yourself from the mob by contracting with the customer. Contracting is simply an agreement between you and the customer. How best do they like to see reps? What time/day? What do they want specifically from you as their rep from Company X? What rep behaviours turn them off? Etc. Contracting works and customers respect you for it. E – Engage your Enemy! Many reps avoid their competition. Don’t. Make friends with them. After all you are in the same profession and it is amazing what you can learn. You don’t have to give them your innermost company and product secrets but you will be amazed what you can learn about customers’ prescribing habits. It is also useful to associate yourself with the more pro-active and positive sales reps; the good role models. Learn how they access customers. Avoid the negative; always moaning reps. They only bring you down. There are numerous ways in which companies support reps to gain access. Pens, pads, Reply Paid Cards for Promotional Giveaways and Meeting invites. Ultimately it is down to you, your skill, your enthusiasm, your value and your PERSEVERANCE!

Allan Mackintosh

Last updated on: 27/08/2010 11:40:18

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