My latest project

Seven of us have banded together to create a comic book for kids to show them they can choose to be a superhero in life. All of my fellow authors have devoted our lives to making a difference. This campaign is to create this comic on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding program and you can find it here. If you can find it in your heart to make a contribution (in exchange for a cool prize!), it would mean the world to me and to the kids who will get their hands on this comic.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rtcompanies/the-crusaders

I cannot thank you enough!

Devin

Progress not perfection…

progress not perfection

Don’t do it…

Society

Being strong…

being strong...

The hardest thing…

The Hardest Thing

You decide

If you had all the money in the world but still had to have some kind of job, what would you choose to do?

Change

Many people approach change as if they were holding their breath.  They try to freeze the present, hold things static, and resist change in an attempt to control the world around them.  Teams, our families, and our communities are alive.  They live, breathe, and change every day.  They need movement.

The purpose of work for each of us is to create movement, to produce some sort of change for the organization. Without movement toward its goals, an organization will suffocate.  Hence, change is the oxygen that all organizations need to grow.

 

Luke Skywalker

If you spend a day with a highly accomplished medical sales person then you are probably going to hear that one of their primary drivers for success is cultivating surgeon relationships.  It is a rather obvious point but there is certainly more to this story. You will hear such things as “champion, KOL, thought leader, advocate, race horse, Big Dog and a host of other terms of endearment.

They will tell you that they possess the unique ability to build solid relationships very quickly.  It gets real interesting when you then ask them how they are able to do so when so many others cannot to the same degree.  The typical response is something like “I just do what comes natural” or “it is hard to explain but I just see things differently” or “I have the rare gift of connecting with my customers” or “my customers just know that they are in good hands with me.”   You walk away feeling like you just had a close encounter with Haley Joel Osment from the Sixth Sense ( I see dead people) or maybe “Luke Skywalker” and being that you are a mere mortal, the “force” and the super natural are beyond your comprehension. Do you have a “Luke Skywalker” in your sales force?  I bet you do and I also bet that he is your #1 sales trainer based on his performance.   I found this to be of particular interest because this is often the very same person that is used as the gold standard for “what good looks like” in the sales force.   ”Houston, we have a problem…

This is where the story gets really interesting.  Poor old “Luke” is being paraded around like a show pony and asked to train most of the new people but he is unable to actually articulate what makes him so successful.  Since repetition is the mother of all learning, maybe we can just have the trainee spend the next six months with “Luke” to learn his moves.  It worked for Danielson in the Karate Kid (Wax on, wax off) and maybe Mr. Miyagi is looking for a job as a sales trainer. On second thought, that probably won’t work either.  Instead, we settle for a 3-5 day field ride whereby the trainee watches “Luke” perform his magic show hoping to bottle it up and take “it” home upon the completion of the training ride.  It begs the question, “Is selling medical products an art or science? I would argue both and in the meantime you may want to consider giving “Luke” some science classes.

“First management had plans, and then strategic plans. Now we have vision, and we’re only one small step from hallucination.” – Ainsley Throckmorton

endangered species

The wonderful world of the “rock-star” medical device sales rep is in danger of becoming extinct.  For those of you still knee-deep in the industry and in a current state of denial, please bear with me as I share with you your demise.  Some of you are probably waiting around for the next “hot thing” or that start-up paying big $ and promising you that they are going IPO.  In the interim, you are at your third company in the last five years walking around like a zombie from hospital to hospital because you know that this ship is taking water too.  You have either just left another National Sales Meeting (NSM) or are headed to one and know full well that it will be a waste of 3-4 days of your life because you are totally disengaged.  I bet you are real excited to hear another round of marketing presentations by some folks that have little clue as to what actually happens in the real world.  I forgot about the drink tickets that they now give out too to avoid any mishaps like last years disaster at (NSM).  Wake up call !!  Lets focus a minute on your current reality.

Hospitals do not want your kind in their facilities anymore.   You are probably wondering what “your kind” is but you know that sales rep who walks around the hospital like they actually work there.  The kind of sales rep who actually starts to believe that they are as critical to the success of their surgeons’ cases as the actual surgeon.  That sales rep who wears scrubs to and from the hospital and down deep starts to believe that they actually add value in the operating room by merely standing in the back of the room.  The sales rep who feels the need to share their knowledge with the rest of the sales force as to what it takes to make it happen on a consistent basis without even being asked.  Really?  You know that sales rep that is paraded around like a show horse because they have figured out the secret sauce (according to sales management) to making their # quarter after quarter, year after year etc….  come on everyone. just do it like him! Do you happen to work with anyone who fits this description? I bet you do.   The truth hurts sometimes but sunshine is often the best disinfectant.  Your world has changed and you just don’t see it. In some ways, you are not that much different from a vampire who hides in a coffin to avoid the realities of the world.

Most hospitals now understand that the quickest way to control cost is to limit your availability to their physicians.  Now what?  The thought of spending time in offices is beyond comprehension.  I mean seriously, I am a medical device sales rep. The days of hanging around Operating Room (OR)  lounges, walking from room to room, scrub sink cold calls and literally camping out all day in an (OR) are long gone.  Instead, you have now have RepTrax, Vendormate, Vendor Clear and a host of other monitoring systems to keep an eye on you every time you arrive and depart their facility.  Ouch!  Awfully, difficult to cold call on the new surgeon who is busy and using the competitive product, isn’t it?  This coupled with pricing pressures, competition, commoditization, compliance etc…. it certainly is not like the good ole days.

I know that sounds harsh but if you really think about it for a few minutes, you know that I may be on to something.  Now what?  You can certainly hop from company to company hoping that one of them will be a home run if their stock price goes through the roof.  I am not sure that is a viable strategy but HOPE can certainly cloud ones judgment.   Do yourself a favor and buckle your seat belts because your ride is going to be a bumpy one unless you change.  What’s next?  Stay tuned!

Without discomfort there is no growth

Most would agree that our economy is still not in the greatest shape. The healthcare market is still going through some major changes.  Many hospitals are cutting back on services, reducing the number of vendors and slashing costs.  I think you might agree that there is certainly less low hanging fruit right now in many instances and you may have to work on your vertical leap to land a new customer.   It always helps if you can leap tall buildings at a single bound.  For all of us mortals, however, we must grind it out every day one sales call at a time. The bright side is that hospitals still need to purchase products and surgeons are still operating.   There is still an opportunity to make a huge impact!   Wake up call!

How bad do you want “it” this year?   Is “it” that Presidents Club trip? Is “it” being ranked in the Top Ten?  Is “it” more money?  Is “it” to be respected by your peers and customers?  More importantly, have you defined your “it” in 2011?

Do you want “it” so bad that you are willing to change?

You must start that process right now.  You will improve your results by changing your behaviors.   It will not be easy but nothing great ever is.  2011 is going to require more work, more commitment, more sacrifice and more dedication in order to change your experience.  Success has a price.  Without some discomfort, sacrifice, stress, and tension there is often very little growth.  You must risk the short-term, uncomfortable feeling connected with exploring new avenues that will offer long-term gain and ultimate success this year.  You can do it!

What are you doing today, this week, this month, this quarter, this year to get better?

Frederick Douglass said it best: “Without a struggle, there can be no progress.”