Seth Godin’s Advice to Increase Sales

Seth says:

The easiest cheapest way to dramatically increase sales is to: 

Call your customers. Or write to them.

“I know that times might be tough for you. Is there anything I can do to pitch in and help?”

You’ll end up doing a lot for your customers. Which is a wonderful privilege. Even for those that don’t reciprocate.

I firmly believe that effective networking is about building relationships.  It’s a give-and-take thing.  Do your part to do favors when you can, and it will come back to benefit you later….in medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical device sales, biotechnology sales, healthcare sales, pharmaceutical sales, imaging sales, hospital equipment sales, surgical supplies sales, medical equipment sales, cellular/molecular products sales, DNA products sales, and pathology sales.

Assessment Tools for Hiring – DISC, Caliper, etc …for Medical Sales Teams

If you have been considered for a position with a new company in the last five years, you may have been asked to take a “Personality Assessment”. In my career, I have taken at least 5 of these assessments while employed with organizations as part of personal development. Caliper, Disc, Gallup, HBDI and FiroB are a few of the more popular. I have also administered the various profiles (it depends which is “in” with the organization at that time) to over 50 people who reported to me.

My conclusions:

Regardless of the type of profile, they all yield useful, consistent information.
In my particular case and that of my teams taking the assessment, I believe the results to be 90% accurate. The 10% I don’t agree with on my assessment is really a matter of definition rather than being totally off base. People who vociferously disagree with their results are almost always a personnel issue waiting to happen.

Why?
They have a disconnected self image.

Say what?

They think they have all the skills needed for their job and they are great.

The truth is that is they don’t have the needed skills and probably won’t change.

Translation: They think they are great and they aren’t.

Has the result of an assessment changed a hiring decision?

All assessments are used as a tool in the hiring process.

Just like it is rare that a candidate would be eliminated from a job because of the results, it would be unlikely that you would get the job because of your assessment profile. But, it does happen occasionally and usually turns out to be a positive if handled correctly.

How can it be a positive to the candidate?

There are 2 scenarios that assessments are normally used:

As a hiring tool in the hiring process.

As a developmental tool for your current employer.

As a manager, sometimes you have a really good employee who wants to move to a different role. Maybe they are in a technical staff position and they would like to transition to a line sales position. You like the employee’s values and work ethic and you want to help them advance in their career, but you don’t want to set them up for failure by putting them in a job that doesn’t match their skill set.

They take the test and it shows they don’t like to communicate with people and are introverted.

Now back to the handled correctly part…

A good manager will sit down with the team member and have a conversation about the assessment and try and understand how the team member perceives and interprets the results.

The conversation should be warm and focused on the individual. As you go through the assessment with them and ask their feedback, you will start to get a picture of how that team member sees his or her self. When you start reviewing some of the needed skill sets for the new job and how their results compare to that, often the team member will see that where they want to go doesn’t utilize their strengths and it would be a really difficult transition.

What happens next?

Are they doomed to stay in that role forever?

No.

The manager and the team member work together to assemble a plan that will develop or supplement the areas they would need to be successful. If they are poor public speakers, maybe Toastmasters. If the have no clue what a day in the life of a sales rep is, what about scheduled ride a long days in the field?

If the assessment and the review is done right, both parties leave with a better understanding of the team member and where they want to go in the organization and what skills they will need to be successful in a new role.

As a hiring tool in the hiring process:

You normally take an assessment at the very beginning of the interview process or towards the end.

An assessment that is used in the beginning is usually used to screen out people that wouldn’t fit in the job. When I say fit, maybe it is a very technical scientific job and the candidate didn’t have a science degree. The employer may be using an assessment that focuses on abstract reasoning because that is seen as a good measure of intelligence and they are trying to gauge if the candidate will be able to grasp their new technology quickly. If it is an accounting job, maybe the employer is focused more on the candidate’s ability to work by themselves with no direction.

So yes, in those type of skill mismatches, an assessment can keep you from getting a job. In most cases, if you are taking the assessment as a final step to receiving an offer, unless your assessment comes back with anti social behavior patterns, the manager will probably move forward. A good manager believes “Where there is smoke, there is fire” and if the assessment comes back with more than 2 points of contention, they may think they are better off passing on you and moving on to the next candidate.

Your thoughts?  Comments?  Put them in the comment section or e-mail me at:  kraig@phcconsulting.com

Kraig McKee

Snr Recruiter

Consumer Genomics

January 27, 2009 · Posted in Clinical Diagnostics, Medical Sales, Medical Sales Recruiting · Comments Off on Consumer Genomics 

 Here’s a very interesting article on The Diversification of Consumer Genomics, that nicely outlines what’s going on in the field with the major players (23andMe, deCODEme, Navigenics, and Knome), and how they are (mostly) trying very hard to separate themselves from the clinical diagnostics arena.

What Can a Third Party Recruiter Do For You?

I got an email this week that was written something like this: 

Dear Peggy,

I have decided to allow you to aid in my job search. 

Could you please let me know what type of marketing efforts you have in mind?

I need to get a job asap.

 Hmmm…Does this person understand the role of the third party contingency recruiterI don’t think so.

While some searches involve marketing efforts, they are more the exception than the rule.  Sometimes, recruiters will market a candidate to a new client to entice that client to do business with them.  As in:  “Look at the quality of this candidate.  If you worked with me, all of your candidates would be this great!” 

Here’s the basics of how recruiters work: 

All contingency recruiters are paid for by the client.  Therefore, they work for the client.

The recruiter’s mission is to provide the client with the type of candidates that the client specifies.  Sometimes candidates confuse the client’s requests/demands with those of the recruiters, but the recruiter doesn’t make the rules, the client does.

If a client specifies they want a specific skill set and background; that is usually the only kind of candidate they will look at.  However, if the recruiter has a good relationship with the client, they may entertain input from the recruiter and expand their pool of candidates. 

When a recruiter says, “You aren’t a good fit for this opportunity”, they aren’t telling you that you aren’t good at what you do.  They are telling you that their customer (the client) has specified who they will look at and consider as a qualified candidate and you don’t meet the client’s requirements.

(The irony here is that many recruiters will tell you that skill sets are transferrable, to a point, and that clients would be better served if they looked at candidates with similar skill sets.  For example, selling an executive jet is very different from selling laboratory capital equipment, but they are both complex sales with long sales cycles.  Someone with a record of success selling jets might do very well selling capital equipment in the lab because the sales process is very similar.  In this case, though, the deal-breaker might be that the jet salesperson doesn’t have a science degree and the client may have reservations about the jet salesperson being able to grasp the science of their products and environment.)

Good recruiters try to add value to the hiring process and can be a valuable asset to hiring managers beyond just providing candidates.  The level of partnership and input is directly related to the relationship the client has with the recruiter. 

Did you know that less than 30% of recruiters are in business more than 3 years?  Many try and many fail.  To ensure a positive result, look for a recruiter who has chosen recruiting as her profession and has been doing it a while.

A proven track record is your assurance, whether you’re a candidate or a client, that the recruiter you choose is going to deliver what you need.
These guidelines apply to any industry, not just medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, pharmaceutical sales, DNA products sales, biotechnology sales, cellular/molecular products sales, hospital equipment sales, medical imaging sales, pathology sales, surgical instruments sales, or any healthcare sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Tracy – Selling Tips for Medical, Laboratory, Healthcare Sales Professionals

These are just as key to the selling process today as they were 20 years ago.
Thank you – Brian!

Top 5 Reasons to Check Your Own References

In any job search, it’s very important that you know what your references will say about you.  In spite of the mind-reading that implies, it’s really not that hard to do.  (The knowing, not the mind-reading.)  And it’s important that you know that they will be checked, so choose them wisely.  As a recruiter whose reputation depends on the quality of the candidates I offer to my clients for jobs in medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, DNA products sales, cellular and molecular products sales, pathology sales, medical device sales, hospital equipment sales, imaging sales, surgical supplies sales, and other healthcare-related sales, management and marketing, reference-checking is another layer of insurance for me that I depend on.

You know how important they are, but why check them yourself?  Here are the top 5 reasons, from Allison & Taylor, Inc., a reference-checking and reference consulting company, via techrepublic.com:

  1. The company’s comment policy may not be what you think it is. A countless number of our clients confidently say, “They won’t tell you anything, it’s against policy.” Many people assume that an employer can’t or won’t say anything, and are unpleasantly surprised to find out this is not the case. Employers frequently say unflattering things about former employees.
  2. Your reference may not be saying what you expect. A lukewarm reference can be just as damaging as a negative one. If your reference is anything less than glowing, they are damaging your chances of landing that job, not helping it. You need to know that that person is doing everything possible to make a positive impression for you. Otherwise, it’s time to rethink your references.
  3. Your information may not match the HR records. In many instances, we find that the employer has different employment dates, position title, or supervisor listed than what the employee has presented. Don’t let this type of discrepancy suggest that you are being less than truthful about your former position’s title or responsibilities.
  4. You may have been omitted from the HR records entirely. This happens more often than you might think, especially in the case of mergers, where not all records make the transfer into a new system. It’s also frequently the case with the self-employed; many companies do not hold records for a contractor in their HR system. It’s not a good thing when an employer calls and is told that there is no record of you ever having worked for their company.
  5. Your reference contact may no longer work for the company. Many job-seekers make the mistake of not staying in close contact with the person they intend to use for a reference. Be sure that that person is still there to respond to inquiries. If they’re no longer there, a reference checker may be shuffled though the system and end up with someone who won’t cast you in such a positive light.

Additional FYI:  Here’s a link to seven myths about job references, also from Allison & Taylor, courtesy of Pathfinder Careers.

Oprah Endorses Laboratory Tests as Life Savers…Clinical Laboratory Diagnostic Tests.

January 22, 2009 · Posted in Medical Sales Recruiting · 1 Comment 

Read all about this topic from the Dark Daily…This is their latest topic so it may not be posted yet. You can see their topics from the past and sign up to receive the Dark Daily here.…..
It is a great source of information for person involved with the clinical laboratory – either selling or marketing into the clinical laboratory, managing the sales process, providing clinical laboratory services, selling clinical laboratory services, managing the lab itself,or a cytotechnologist, histologist, microbiologist, virologist, or a medical technologist. That is a lot of – ologists? Did I miss someone?

Resume Mistake: Too Much Information

Let’s say you’re a recruiter, and you’ve just received a resume that includes a paragraph like this:

In my spare time, I am physically active.  I run, mountain bike, play tennis, and I teach yoga on weekends.  Physical activity keeps my body and mind in shape, and promotes balance and clarity in my life. I belong to a community theater and am active in productions, and I play bass in a band. I am an avid reader. I am a mother of two and gave birth to my second daughter between degrees; taking only 3 months off and continuing to work while taking classes, which shows my drive and tenacity to succeed!

What would you do?

This applicant is trying really hard to impress, and does seem to have a pretty impressive energy level and variety of interests.  In spite of that, she’s not going to go on my short list for medical sales jobs. (Not to mention that list of hers makes me think:  when are you going to have time to do your job?) 

There are many blunders people make (beyond simple typos) when resume writing, and Too Much Information is a definite Don’t.  Personal information is usually unnecessary and can even raise discrimination issues.  Frankly, I don’t want to see, or even care that much about, what you do in your spare time. 

What I’m interested in:  what can you do for my company?  What are your skills?  What are your work accomplishments?  What have you done that will demonstrate that you’ll be a great hire for medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical device sales, hospital equipment sales, surgical supplies sales, pharmaceutical sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, DNA products sales, or biotechnology sales?

Remember who your audience is.  Who’s reading your resume?  What will show them that you’ll be an asset to the company?  Don’t annoy employers with irrelevant information they have to sift through to find what’s important to them.  Because chances are, they won’t.

LinkedIn Question: Why don’t companies benchmark the quality of their third party recruiters?

January 19, 2009 · Posted in LinkedIn Tips, Medical Sales Recruiting · Comments Off on LinkedIn Question: Why don’t companies benchmark the quality of their third party recruiters? 

I asked this question on LinkedIn:
How do you know that you are using a Great Recruiter? Do you ever benchmark their candidate turnover, productivity or promotion rate?

Why do we benchmark every piece of the sales process, but do not compare the value that your recruiter brings to the firm? I am amazed at large organizations (500 M and up – healthcare products) that just keep doing the same thing. If we can improve on all processes, why not question the quality of your third party recruiter? A good firm will be fine with competing with your internal recruiter and other external recruiters. The numbers will bear out.

Here are some of the responses I got:
Jeff L. says:
Good question. When you are in that size company of 500M and up you have to deal with so much of the red tape that goes on and the politics. Usually you have to deal with HR and you know how that goes. They’re not interested in seeing the value that you bring rather what value they can bring to their own organization.

Jim B. says:
I couldn’t agree more. Companies will pick apart evry sales and revenue generating process they have to squeeze the maximum profit (and they should), but when they have an internal recruiter or firm they have used forever they refuse to compare on quality and value. Competition brings out the best in everyone and would minimize the duration of open positions and add quality candidates to their bench. All of which saves money to the bottom line. Most of us are contingency recruiters anyway so there is no pay unless they accept our candidates for the position. A complete win/win for the company. Doesn’t make sense but we see it every day.

David D. says:
If you are using an external recruiter the company is just as responsible for the quality of the hire as the recruiter is. Agencies provide searching and basic screening and nothing more, the company is still responsible for making the hiring decision. So if you make a bad hire, then the agency is only responsible is so far as they presented the candidate, but it was the company that hired the candidate.

Tim C.
The quicker we get the best candidate into a position the better. If that’s using an internal/external recruiter it should not matter. If an external recruiter has the best candidate but the company waits 3 months to take that person because they want to give the internal guys a chance and saves 8k in recruiters fees… Who’s losing out? How much has the business lost in not having someone in that role? I am sure its more than 8k…

Alex S.
In my view, the benchmark of a recruiter should be quantative as many of my colleagues comment below, and a great ATS will enable you to do this very effectively. However, how many of us also listen carefully to our candidates about their experience with agencies and outside recruiters and include this qualitative aspect in our benchmarking ? When the relationship works well and you have a true partnership between external and internal then the results in terms of candidate preparation, promotion of employer brand and candidate and employer satisfaction speak for themselves.

I had a client that benchmarked my candidates, other third party candidates, internal referrals and internal recruits. Mine were the best across the board: productivity, promotion rates, lowest turnover, etc. The client would not share the information – too confidential. But you get the point, right?

Frontiers in Cancer Diagnostics Video – Must have knowledge for the medical sales professional!

January 18, 2009 · Posted in Laboratory Sales, Medical Sales, Medical Sales Recruiting, Video Blogs · Comments Off on Frontiers in Cancer Diagnostics Video – Must have knowledge for the medical sales professional! 

This is a fantastic video that every medical and laboratory sales rep (account manager, etc) should view. Information and knowledge are a powerful fountain of credibility (which is key to sales success).
I hope you learn something. If you know of a great video like this that I should post about…let me know in the comments below. Happy New Year!

Next Page »