Ask a Medical Sales Manager: ABC’s of Field Travel and Training (Part 2 of 3)

So, your boss calls and says she wants to field travel with you in two weeks. Now what?

As a medical sales rep, your boss will always be evaluating you, looking for how you handle issues and approach problems, and expecting constant improvement.  During the call is when you go into action.

First, ask him/her for the dates being considered.  If he/she only gives you one option, that means he/she wants to travel then, so make it happen.  The only possible valid reasons to inquire if you can schedule another date are scheduled surgery, a death in your family, vacation or you being out of your territory.  Their schedule is more complicated than yours most times, so they might not have much flexibility with the dates, even if they would like to.

Find out if they would like hotel suggestions from you.  Before you give them a suggestion, call their assistant and ask what kind of hotels they like.  Keep in mind that your manager’s needs for a hotel are kind of specific, so suggesting the cheapest isn’t always a win.  They most likely aren’t going to have a car, so their hotel needs a restaurant in house or nearby and probably a decent workout room.  Sometimes they need a suite-type hotel because they are interviewing or need additional work space.  Choices are often determined by the company travel policy, but most are OK with mid-range hotels like Marriott Courtyards or Hampton Inns.

If you are offering hotel suggestions, do it within a couple of hours.  Your boss is probably in the process of laying out her schedule for the next few weeks, so getting the info to her sooner makes it easier to finalize and confirm her plans, which might even involve trying to coordinate travel with an event or show or field travel with another rep.  Respond with an email within 2 hours with the name and address of the hotel closest to you.  Pasting the info from the website is a nice touch—directions, numbers etc. at your boss’s fingertips.

Show that you pay attention to detail.  The hotel is probably near your house, so you stop by in the afternoon in business attire and ask to speak to the manager.  Be nice and explain that your boss is coming to travel with you and you wondered if the manager of the hotel could take some special care with your boss.  That can mean anything from a nicer room to a goodie basket in the room to just greeting them by name.  A $10.00 Starbucks gift card and a pleasant demeanor can go a long way to enlisting the hotel manager’s help.  Maybe your boss is a runner.  Is there a nice health club nearby that you could get her a guest pass to?

Wait a minute, you say:  Did I sign on as a host or a sales rep?  Remember that you should always use the same skills internally as you externally.  And the difference between good and great is only 10%.  Don’t both of those apply here?  Your boss is going to be helping you be successful, so why wouldn’t you want to make her life as easy as possible as it pertains to traveling with you?  By doing these small things and having an awareness, doesn’t it position you as a winner?  History says yes.

These same skills–asking the right questions, doing the research, going the extra mile, and making life easy for the manager who can make your life better are the same ones you need to help you get a job within medical sales.  All of these skills will help you stand out as a great candidate who gets the job and a sales rep who continues to make a fantastic impression on your boss.

–Kraig McKee, Senior Recruiter, PHC Consulting

PS – Don’t miss the ABC’s of Field Travel and Training Part 1

Written by Peggy McKee - the medical sales recruiter
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