One of the best parts of Halloween (besides the costume!) was always the anticipation of never knowing exactly what you’d get when you shouted, “Trick or Treat!” At the end of the night when you started your inventory, some of it you were ready to trade with your brother and some of it deserved a fist pump and a “Yes!”.
This Halloween, think about your job search the same way. You might be scared to start pounding the cyber-pavement to contact hiring managers directly, and you might not like everything you end up with…but there will be a few of them in your bag at the end of the day that will make you glad you did it.
If you don’t know how to contact medical sales managers, read this post on the medical sales hidden job market.
To drum up new business, you sometimes have to pound the pavement, walk right past “Do Not Solicit” signs, and ask for the business, right? Cold calling isn’t always fun, but when you end up making the sale, it’s worth it.
It’s the same with your job search–although the techniques are different. The very best jobs aren’t out there with a welcome mat for you, and if they do, they’ve got 1000 other sales reps on the doorstep. You’ve got to search the hidden job market to uncover the best jobs and get there first.
Watch the video below, and I’ll tell you more about how to go about it:
You might think it’s counterproductive for me to recommend that medical sales job seekers go talk to hiring managers instead of coming only through me, the medical sales recruiter–but it isn’t. My job is set. Some sales managers will always prefer to go through a recruiter to find their talent, and that won’t change. (That’s why my best advice to job seekers is to always use recruiters, but don’t rely on them as your sole resource.)
However, others don’t care where their next employee comes from, as long as he or she can sell. Right now, there are medical sales managers out there thinking about the position they have to fill but have no candidate they really like for it. When I was a laboratory sales manager myself, I was in that situation more than once. I can remember at least 7 times when I realized, with startling, breath-catching, tightness-in-my-chest urgency that I needed someone to fill that spot right NOW.
If in or near that moment, a resume that comes across his (or her) field of vision that’s close to what they’re looking for, they are calling that candidate for an interview.
The existence of that moment is the very reason I urge job seekers to always be taking steps to directly contact hiring managers in their job search. Use LinkedIn, use Facebook, use your network, and find them. You just never know when you’re going to catch the right moment, but it could be now.
OK, I’ve got to admit–I wasn’t paying attention when this video came out 5 months ago–Pharmalot covered it. But I saw it recently, and it’s a little like watching a train wreck: this woman wrote a book called Big Pharma’s Sexy Little Secret about how (and it’s possible I’ve missed everything there is to see here…) pharmaceutical companies purposely hire “cheerleader” types so that they can use sex–or the idea of it, anyway–to manipulate doctors into buying more of their product. She says that companies pressure reps to make unrealistic sales goals, and they don’t care how you do it.
Now, I know that pharma companies often hire folks without a scientific background (I coach candidates on how to break into medical sales without a medical background all the time), and I even know that some sales managers place a premium on “attractive” candidates, but come on…
What do you think?, Miss Pharma Rep? Have you hiked your skirt a little higher to make the sale? What do you guys do? Unbutton your shirt? Do a little Chippendale dancing in the waiting room? The whole thing is cracking me up. I know that sales reps can (and have) veered off into unethical behavior, but maybe it’s just that Big Pharma just an easy target these days?
Here’s the video….see for yourself:
Are you interested in how much money you’ll make as a medical sales rep?
MedReps.com has a medical rep salary survey I think you’ll want to see. It says the average total compensation (base + bonus) across all specialties is $136K. (Which helps explain why medical sales is one of the most competitive sales arenas!)
Most people would have expected that medical device sales reps would be the highest paid at $146K, but it turns out that biotech reps are edging them out at $152K. Pharma reps are dragging down the average at $116K. And of course, the sales managers are sitting pretty at the top of the salary heap.
If you’re already in medical sales, where do you sit on that scale? Does your salary seem fair? Does it make you want to jump ship for another product line?
If you’re female what are you thinking right about now? Do you agree with the article I just saw on BioJobBlog that says that female salaries still lag behind? Is your salary within the range that MedReps says it should be?
If you’re just getting started with your medical sales career, I think you should pick your field carefully. Explore all your options (job shadowing is great for that). I wouldn’t recommend pharma anyway because of the massive layoffs of the last few years, but that salary news would be the nail in the coffin for me.
What do you think?
I bet that right now you have somewhere in your vicinity a smartphone or an iPod filled with songs you bought from iTunes. You’re likely using an iPad as a regular tool every day, too. Thank Steve Jobs (1955-2011), who was the driving force behind these amazingly small things that have had an amazingly big impact on all our lives. He will be marked forever as one of the digital revolution’s greatest and most innovative leaders.
Steve Jobs was a technological genius, a salesman with true showmanship, and a fearless risk-taker. You might expect me to be most impressed with the way he could build the anticipation and make the sale (and I really am), but the thing I think we can all learn the most from him is how to take a risk.
One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs is from his Stanford commencement speech in 2005. It sums up what I mean:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
This quote has made some of the biggest decisions in my life and my business much more clear. Thinking about it causes you to step back and look at the bigger picture and see that most of the things you’re getting all wrapped around the axle about really don’t matter. All they’re doing is keeping you from something that could be great.
I thought about that this morning when I was talking to a coaching client who was afraid to do something that I tell all job seekers they must do: contact the hiring manger directly. It’s one of the most powerful job search moves you can make, but it strikes fear in most people’s hearts, like it did in hers: What if she did that and got a negative response? What if they were mad at her for daring to approach them about a job instead of going through the “proper channels”?
My response: So what? If you contact 100 hiring managers and 3 of them are offended, another 3 (at least) will be thrilled. (Actually, if you’re contacting medical sales managers, that’s likely to be a much higher number of positive responses.) If you get a negative response, just toss it. That company’s not a good fit for you…but you’ll soon find one that is. The same goes for going after new business. Unless you take the risk and try it, you’ll never know.
Fear is one of the biggest enemies of the job seeker–fear of embarrassment, fear of failure. I want to encourage you today not to let the fear take over. It will keep you from something great. You really don’t have anything to lose. Take the risk. There is no reason not to go after the life you want and the job that will help you live it.