The biggest disability of all is the fear of failure. Born with a hip disease that made physical activity difficult and painful, Johnny Caffaro’s determination to play football, basketball, and baseball led him to overcome innumerable obstacles that were laid in his path. Johnny is proof that though these obstacles may set you back, they can end up propelling you forward towards a greater destination. Today, Johnny stays active and regularly assists doctors and patients in the medical field. He also dipped his toes into the fashion business, forming a partnership with an artisan shoe-making company, Caffaro Shoes. Johnny sits with Samuel Gbadebo to share how he entered the medical field with the goal of helping those who were experiencing the same challenges he faced and how he managed to incorporate fashion and medicine in his career.
We have part two with Johnny Caffaro. He is an innovative pioneer in the medical sales industry because he entered medical devices. His brother started a company with him in the fashion line. I’m not going to give it away. You’ve got to read the episode to get the details. They found fashion and brought it into medical sales. They are setting an entirely new trend in the medical device sales space, particularly hips and knees. You are going to read all about it in this episode.
As always, we do our best to bring you guests who are going to bring some value to your life and some innovation to help you see things a little bit differently. This episode does that. Johnny is someone who is always trying his best to help more people and do more for himself. He was able to leverage himself into a position with Stryker as a Senior Manager in the Hips and Marketing Division. Big-ups to him. It was a big move for him. He announced it on LinkedIn. It got a lot of attention. I wanted to put that out there. I hope you enjoy this interview.
We talked about medical sales with fashion. I’m going to be honest. I haven’t heard that, so I want to know. You have a shoe line and that’s where the fashion comes in. Tell us about that and how you are bringing the two different industries together.
My brother started the company and he was looking at it. He was like, “Medical sales is what you are in. I see all the posts. Everyone is wearing gray, black and dark navy suits. I like to add a little pattern and color.” I was coming to him like, “Because of my three hip replacements, I need to be comfortable but also stylish because the comfortable shoes aren’t that good-looking.” They are ugly, in my opinion. There are other people who might like them. The stylish shoes are not that comfortable at all.
Combining both of those things and being able to add our last name to our product, drive it personally, and mix it with medical and fashion is huge because I like to wear different suits at every conference. I have people reaching out to me like, “I can’t wait for you to see my suit, what you have done or what your posting is like. I bought a pair of your shoes. I can’t wait to test them in Dallas.” I’m like, “This is awesome to have people change a little bit of how they were because someone is not afraid to show that it’s okay to be fashionable.”
You don’t have to be a medical sales rep only. That’s not who you are. That’s what you do. If you can mix in who you are and what you are comfortable with, people are going to either hate it, put you down or put a thumb on you like, “You can’t be doing that,” or everyone is going to applaud you like, “Good job. You are making a difference in a different way.” I feel like if I can bring in a little bit of fashion and medical, what is the harm of that?
It’s a great talking point. It’s universal. A surgeon, colleague, healthcare administrator and everybody involved and in between can benefit from that.
They are up in their game. That’s all leveled up.
We’ve got to talk about me getting a pair because I’ve got to figure out how to get a pair of Caffaro Shoes.
We will get you one.
If anyone reading says, “I want to know what he is talking about. Where do I look into getting some Caffaro Shoes?”
It’s CaffaroShoes.com, @CaffaroShoes on Instagram, and Caffaro Shoes on LinkedIn. We are in all places. You can find us on all those sites.When you mix in who you are with what you're comfortable with, people are either going to put you down or put a thumb on you. Click To Tweet
I want to change gears a little bit. Let’s talk more about that sales rep who wants to utilize LinkedIn to get more involved in their territory. We train on that. One thing we get a lot is, “Samuel, I don’t know about this because LinkedIn is supposed to be a platform that’s professional. I’m supposed to only show my product. How do I talk about myself? Why would that be attractive to a potential customer?” Tell us a little bit about what that looks like and your experience with that.
Everybody is posting about their product. Everyone has a knee and hip. I keep going back to the knees and hips because that’s all I know. There are pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare stuff out there. People want personal touches. People want to relate to the person that they want to buy from or talk to because they are not going to post a product and then message somebody randomly. They don’t know you from Adam. LinkedIn is a business platform. You are not posting pictures of your food or what you are eating. It’s not Instagram.
Also, at the same time, every post has to be something of a personal touch. I have been sharing my story. I have been talking about my Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and my hips that I had to wear like Forrest Gump. I talked about my three surgeries and overcoming them. My next post is like, “Come see my company at the academy and me.” I’m not going to put a random or generic photo up. I’m going to put a picture of me and try to be a little bit funny. I put a silhouette of someone like, “This could be you. Come to our booth.”
It has different touches because people can see like, “I know Samuel. Samuel is a good guy. He has his stuff together. He knows what he is talking about. He is connected with other people.” I like to also take pictures of other people who are in the industry and highlight them because that’s super important. You’ll be able to know like, “This person is personable.”
Everything you are posting on your LinkedIn is a résumé of yourself. If you can post about your product in a personal way that’s also building your own brand, you hit the holy grail because people want to work with people they trust and can relate to. Tell me how Evolve Your Success had that because you are crushing it. I would love to hear that.
You nailed it. People want to buy from people who they can understand and relate to. I posed that question because we get that a lot. We get this question of, “When do I post about my personal life and what I’m experiencing? When do I post about my product and what I’m representing?” We tell everyone that there needs to be a little bit more of an even split. By you sharing what you are experiencing as a professional, it doesn’t have to be extremely personal. As you said, it’s not Instagram.
If you share about the experience you have as a professional, everybody can relate to getting to work late, a technical malfunction at your meeting or what it’s like when you have been working all day long. You still have to go home and do more things. Everybody can relate to those things. The general content that brings people into the personality you are goes very well when you are also making that product-specific content that’s going to resonate with your audience.
You nailed it on the head. It’s relatable content. Those people who are struggling, people relate to that. It’s people who have made a mistake in a sales call like, “Have you ever made a mistake? Don’t worry about that.” It makes you human. You are not this picture-perfect person trying to portray an image that you are not because everybody has the same issues. We are not talking about it. Being able to talk about it is huge. That’s why LinkedIn has given you that platform to talk about relatable topics that everybody goes through.
One thing I want to also highlight is you are a very busy person and you are traveling a lot. Where are you?
I’m in Houston and then heading up to Dallas. I will be in Vegas. People didn’t tell me what the medical sales field was like. It’s a grind, but it’s enjoyable. It’s being able to help people in many different cities and states.
I love that you pointed that out because, in light of your grind, you are still able to partially manage this growing shoe company and personal brand. How do you make it all work? Do you have a schedule or routine that you follow?
I have a schedule. I wake up at 5:30 to 6:00 every morning. I get to the gym. It helps me clear my mind and plan out the rest of my day as well. When I do a little bit of cardio, I map down the list of what I have to do that day, what is more important and what I need to do. It’s time management, “What is a priority?” My priority is my job and whatever I can do to bring in Caffaro Shoes and grow it along the way. My brother is manning the shift because he started it all. I’m just the vessel for it. It’s a lot more than that.People want to work with people they trust and can relate to. Click To Tweet
There are many different things that are going to come into your life, but you have to be disciplined to know like, “I’ve got to do this first. There are many cool and entertaining things. Houston has got a lot to offer and I want to see it, but I’ve got the stuff that I’ve got to do.” At the same time, I don’t sleep either. I stay late at night and work on a lot of things that people don’t see. When I post something on LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean that’s what I was working on. It doesn’t mean that in the middle of the day, I’m not working because I posted something.
A lot of companies have that stigma when you post something at 12:00 in the afternoon, “Is he working?” I’m like, “We are working. That’s helping my work. That’s a part of who I am. What I’m doing is being social. If I can reach 100,000 people on a post, then I want to do it in that way.” It’s discipline, time management and knowing the end in mind. Stephen Covey says, “Having the end in mind.” I want to be successful, but I also want people to be successful. If I can bring people along the way, that’s my biggest end in mind. That’s what drives me to go day in and out, have four hours of sleep, go to city-to-city, and get cool stuff.
Let the audience know if there’s any message you want to get out there or something you want people to know. We have got people who are trying to get into the industry, people who are in the industry and people who are leading the way. What is something you would like to share?
I would love to reach out and help people along the way, like Samuel has done with us being able to get together on this. Reach out and ask questions. Do what you need to do to get in the right spot. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Blaze your own trail. It’s important not to be the statistic or number. Have personal touches. Companies, you guys got to change your thinking a little bit. You have been very successful thus far, but have you had social media? Do you know the power of what it can do? Open up your mind a little bit because it’s a huge tool.
Think about it. Do you see any athletes or sponsored people doing commercials anymore? No. It’s all social media. They are getting paid because their audience is instantly there. Do you think it’s worth doing a huge ad on the side of a hotel at one of the conferences or growing your personal brand and having one of your employees grow and be an influencer? If they do a post, 100,000 people will see their post because you are helping in promoting them. Don’t be afraid to post and share personal content that’s relatable. Also, help your employees along the way because they need the support of the company. That’s what I would love to tell everybody.
Did you ask permission before you started branding on social media with the company you work for or did you start branding it and they said, “We want you to do more of this and we support it?”
I’m the person who asks for forgiveness after. I started posting and then they saw the power of it. They said, “Keep going.” If there are going to be any surgical posts, I have to run them by the company and make sure that it’s compliant. I went for it. It has been a beautiful thing because if you can go for it and dive in, it’s going to be super successful. Your company will back you if you have good relatable content.
Johnny, this was a pleasure. Thank you so much for sharing with us and for being on the show.
That was Johnny Caffaro. It’s so great to learn from him because he is someone who went through it. Three hip replacements are a lot to go through. He is very connected to his product and what he represents. He puts it all out there. He is taking LinkedIn by storm. He has put his story out there for everyone to understand and see. It’s served as encouragement to providers, patients and other sales reps. He is making a wave to bring fashion into the whole thing.
Those shoes are serious. I’ve got to get on a pair and design it. It’s amazing how they have been able to bring that fashion and comfort into a shoe and do the same with their providers. They keep everybody looking good, feeling good, and still providing good service with a great product. It’s the full package. I hope you enjoy part two of the interview. Make sure you check out Caffaro Shoes and get yourself a pair. Reach out to Johnny on LinkedIn. He is someone who is good to know.
You might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “I love what I read about Johnny’s story. I want to get into the industry. I want to be in hips and knees, pharma or some type of medical sales role one day.” If you are someone who is reading this and you have been trying to figure out how to get into the industry, maybe you have applied to a few places and you are not getting interviews. You have gotten some interviews and for whatever reason, you can’t get to that 2nd and 3rd round. You are not getting the offer.
I need you to visit EvolveYourSuccess.com. Click Attain a Medical Sales Role. Fill out our short application and have a conversation with someone from our staff about our program, Medical Sales Career Builder. We have been able to get hundreds of people positions. We had an explosion of positions that we have been able to help people land in the pharmaceutical and medical device sales space. We want to help you. We know how it can be challenging. Sometimes you feel like you are on an island. You are trying all these different things.Don’t be this picture-perfect person trying to portray an image that you're really not. Click To Tweet
You think your résumé might be there. You think you know how to talk and answer questions. You think you said the right thing or maybe you didn’t. You might have a brag book or not. You might have a one-year analysis and not even know what that is. You might think you know how to sell in the position you are going for. You might be clueless and you are trying to figure it out. This is what we help people do. We train you on how to get this position, sell in this position, truly separate yourself and let your authentic self be seen.
One thing I like about this interview that Johnny pointed out is that people have an opportunity to put themselves out there and truly be themselves because you aren’t what you do. You do what you do, but that’s not you. You are you. People need to see who you are. It helps for a hiring manager or recruiter to understand not just what you have done or what you want to do but who you are as a person to see how you are going to be a good fit for a role. You need to learn how to bring that out and demonstrate the right things to showcase that so that people can understand the value you bring to an organization.
There’s one more thing for those of you who are in the industry. Maybe you are looking to make 2022 your year. You want to raise the bar. You are saying, “I can use some training that’s going to take me to the next level.” We are partnered with physicians and experienced sales reps who can bring you the right tools and training. We have a great program to take you to the next level. Lastly, we have a Branding Program if you are trying to be someone like Johnny on the LinkedIn platform. As always, we do our best to bring you guests who are going to be insightful. They are going to give you some tips on how to do your job better or get into this industry. We provide the resources to help you be an amazing medical sales rep. Thank you for reading. Make sure you tune in for another episode.
Born with a hip disease that made physical activity difficult and painful, Johnny’s determination to play football, basketball and baseball led him to overcome innumerable obstacles his disease placed in his path.
After undergoing three hip replacements, most would grow discouraged; some may even lose their way. Not Johnny. It was clear the very obstacle that could have set him back would end up becoming his way forward.
Johnny received his degree from Brigham Young University, and soon after, entered the medical field with the goal of helping those who were experiencing difficulties he himself had faced. Fueled by his unmatched dedication and drive, Johnny’s innate perpetual positivity and unique ability to connect with others proved him invaluable. Staying active and fit continues to provide him the stamina and endurance to regularly assist doctors and patients under even the highest-stress situations in the Operating Room.
Passionate about travel, Johnny frequently explores the world in both professional and personal capacities. At home or abroad, he’s always on the go.
His joy in sharing his story and positive outlook on life consistently allow him the ability to connect with whomever crosses his path. As Johnny calls it, “serving” those experiencing physical and/or emotional setbacks of their own is the foundation of The Caffaro Way.