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Effective Medical Sales Dynamics, Book Writing, And Being Humble With Chip Helm

Posted on October 6, 2021

MSP 60 | Be Humble


One way to be successful in life is to just be humble. Treat others how they want to be treated, not how you want to be treated. Join your host Samuel Gbadebo and his guest Chip Helm in the second part of the interview. Learn the difference between commercial and government hospitals. Find out how Chip got started in writing his books, Everyday Sales Wisdom and Bigger than Sales. And discover how he taught his kids how to be humble so that they can succeed in life. Listen in today to find out all of that and more.

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Effective Medical Sales Dynamics, Book Writing, And Being Humble With Chip Helm

We have with us, Chip Helm. This is part two of Chip Helm’s interview. This is where Chip gets into what he believes the sales dynamics that are most effective in the field when it comes to medical sales, and it applies to any sales profession. Make sure you tune in. He also talks about what led him to become a number one bestselling author. We hope you enjoy the rest of the interview.

One thing I’ve forgotten to mention about complacency, if you treat every customer the same, when I say this, I mean this. It doesn’t matter if they buy $1 million, $10,000, $1 from you. If you treat every customer the same, you won’t get into that complacency stage. It’s where people are only going to do this for this physician or do this therapy. If you treat everyone the same and everyone is worth the same amount, you’re not going to become too complacent.

You were a manager, and then you decided to do some different things. You either went into the government side after you were a manager or something else before you went into the government side?

No, I went over to the government side because I’m so used to the commercial side. I think any leader in the medical industry or manager or people or whatever you want to do, you got to understand there are two sides of the coin. You have the commercial business and the government business. The government is bigger than you think. It’s the largest health system. It’s larger than Kaiser. It’s the largest single health system in the country.

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There isn’t a company out there that wouldn’t tell you that’s their number one account because you sell more into the veteran and the military hospitals than most. They buy a lot of things from us, but it’s like night and day. What do you do on the commercial side, which has become a supply chain-driven side of the business now?

Back in the hay day, there was no supply chain. You walked in, and a doctor wanted something. He got it the next week. Now you had all the supply chain, the business side of the hospital now. The government is totally different because there’s no reimbursement. There are no price discussions because once you’re on contract, they’ve accepted your price. None of this crap is going on. It’s there and very humbling. You’re treating the veterans of the world and the active duty. It’s eye-opening.

MSP 60 | Be Humble

Be Humble: It doesn’t matter if you buy a million dollars from someone. If you treat everyone the same and everyone is worth the same, you’re not going to become too complacent.


Let’s dial that back a little bit. Let’s be a little bit more descriptive in what exactly does it mean to work on the government side of an organization? You already listed some of the differences between commercials, but for those that might not be familiar. What exactly does it mean to work on the government side?

First of all, let’s step back on the commercial side. I’ll use the word commercial. Those are private hospitals, community hospitals, smaller type hospitals, outpatient centers or whatever. Those are what I would call commercial, which most of us live in. You’ve got the government side. The government comprises Indian, VA and military hospitals. The government’s run by the government. They have budgets. The old adage is there’s no physician on the government side that works in a government hospital that can make more money than the president. They work from 8:00 to 5:00. There’s no on-call. They’re home on the weekends with their family.

You are servicing all the veterans. All the veterans go to what’s called veterans administrative hospitals, VA hospitals around the country. There are about 170 of them or so. There are also military hospitals for those on active duty. Those who are still active people that are in the Marines, Air Force or whatever. That’s what I mean when I say government.

If you’ve ever heard of academic hospitals, like Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. It used to be one of my largest accounts many years ago. I used to live in Florida. Across the street is a VA hospital. Those physicians would go back and forth between the VA hospital and the academic hospital. A lot would work, maybe 30% of the time in the VA and 70% over at the academic side. Sometimes they go back and forth. Hopefully, that clarifies government and when I say commercial side.

When it comes to working with the actual customers, is it easier on the government side? Is it harder on the government side?

There’s plenty of people that you talk to, sales reps, who have to do both. They go into private and academic hospitals. They have to walk across the street to the VA. The VAs are hard to navigate if you don’t know their system. It’s a good old boys club. They buy from where they like. They have a very deep honoring system for the vets. It’s a whole different system to walk the hallways. You’ve got to know the thing called logistics. They handle the non-implants. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a thing called a stent. That’s considered an implant, which stays in the body for a long time or catheters are non-implants.

You have logistics and another body called prosthetics. They take care of the budgets to buy things in VA. Overall, it’s more about, “I’m not sure what to do once I walk into VA hospitals.” That’s why you see companies are putting together government teams to go in and focus more on Vas and military hospitals. They’re putting together government teams within their company to focus on the government side of the business. When I was a national sales manager, I didn’t know that much about the government side, but yet we sold it on the government side.

You’ve had great experiences as a sales rep and a national sales manager, now you’re on the government side. Where do you look to take things next? Do you want to close out your career where you are now? What’s on your mind?

I don’t know if I am ever going to close out my career. As my wife said, “I better never retire.” I want to continue to drive technologies into the government. I want to continue understanding the government side of the business and build a relationship component of it. I still love teaching and speaking around the country. I am at the beginning of writing my third book. There are other things I would call side hustles that I love to do. I love my day gig. I’ll never go off into the sunset until I decide to do something different.

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Chip Helm does it one way. That’s 150% and in my DNA. I can’t do it any other way, but give it everything. If you ask me, have I slowed down after many years? No, I got more aches and pains. It’s tough getting old. My juices are still there. I still do things. I’m still kicking a lot of people’s butts, probably who are half my age.

You have a wife and you mentioned these books that you’re writing. One thing I like to highlight with people that are in this industry is what their personal life looks like? How are they able to manage their career? What responsibilities do they have as they were managing it? If you could share with us what the family dynamic is for you, and then what led you to write your first book?

MSP 60 | Be Humble

Be Humble: You’re not going to like most of your classes in school. But if you want to be successful, you have to get good grades. It’s a means to an end.


I’ll bring it all together. Several years ago, my kids and I were around the Christmas tree. I said something stupid. I said, “I think I’ve learned a lot over the last twenty-plus years. I think I could share this and put it down into a book,” or heck every year, thereafter, Christmas, “Dad, where’s your book?” I got so tired. I wanted them to get off my freaking butt that I said, “I’m going to do it finally.” My kids drove me to write my first book.

What happened was two weeks before my book was supposed to come out, they called me up and say, “Chip, you’re going to birth two books. You’re having two babies.” I go, “What are you talking about I’m having two babies?” They said, “There’s so much good content. We believe that one follows the other. We’re going to bring out two books at one time.” I said, “Are you crazy?” I did it with one requirement. I want to be what I call airplane reads. I want you to be able to get on the plane on the East Coast and fly the West Coast, and for about two hours, you can read one of my books.

That’s what happened. Both books are about one’s EVERYDAY SALES WISDOM for Your Life and Career. I think the other one’s like BIGGER THAN SALES: How Humility and Relationships Build Career Success. Both of them complement each other, but they are airplane reads. At the end of each chapter, there’s homework. I didn’t hold this as a resource that’s kept up on a shelf and to be looked at. To step back and I’ll take a deep breath, my kids, who drove me to do this, my oldest is an orthopedic surgeon resident at UT Houston. My daughter, who’s here in Dallas, had to have a medical procedure, is a veterinarian. She graduated from Purdue University.

My last but not least who played football at Ball State and won that MAC championship in 2020. They went out to Arizona and won the ball game. He was a linebacker. He is in dental school. They get all their brains from their mother. Their mother provides all the brains. That’s part of my next book. The personal relationship because we’re 3 for 3. People ask me this all the time, “How did you do it?” Here’s a couple of things that I believe led them to where they are now.

I’ll give you three things. This is very simple. You can write these down. One, have dinner, breakfast and lunch a lot at the table together. Spend a lot of time over meals. Their mother’s a phenomenal cook, so nobody ever wanted to leave the house. Spend time around the dinner, lunch table or whatever it took. Number two, play games together. My kids are so good. They’re card sharks. Rummikub, I don’t know if you heard that game. They can play it all. We played a lot of games together.

MSP 60 | Be Humble

EVERYDAY SALES WISDOM For Your Life And Career By Chip Helm

Here’s the last thing that brought it all together. I always taught them. It was a combination. I paid for their grades. I don’t mean that I helped them once they went to college to pay for their college. I mean that the time that it went from pluses and minuses to As and Bs, which is like 3rd, 4th, 5th grade, I paid for only As and I paid a high dollar amount.

They made more money in their separate report cards than I’ve made in a year. I paid for their grades, but here’s what I taught them all the way through. It’s a means to an end. They go, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “You’re not going to like any class you probably take in grade school, most of the classes you take in high school and most of the classes you take in college.” You’re going to sit there and go, “I got to take this class.” Yes, but if you want to get over there, if your dream is to become a doctor or a dentist or a veterinarian, it’s a means to an end. You got to get good grades in these classes that you don’t like to reach where you want to go.

They always knew it was a means to an end because remember, growing up, a lot of kids were frustrated about school because they didn’t like what they were taking. If you teach them that it’s not about liking it so much right now, it’s about a means to get to where you want to go someday. You need those grades. You need them at a high level to reach the heights of that mountain where you want to go.

Did your wife stay at home or was she also working?

That’s a great question. We both met at the University of South Florida’s MBA school. We’ve got our MBAs together. She stayed on for the first couple of kids when my last one was born probably when he was about two years old, she resigned on her own. Her husband did not force her to stay home. She was a GTE executive and a bright lady. She decided to stay home. I’m sure that contributed greatly to how my kids turned out. I had two doctors. I have a third doctor to come, but the best thing about all three of them, they’re better people than they are in their profession. They’re better human beings than they are professional people.

Give us the name of your first and second books.

They came out together. One’s called EVERYDAY SALES WISDOM for Your Life and Career. You may mention something because of my premise about writing both of these books, everyone’s in sales and nobody believes that. People believe they’re in marketing if they’re an IT, a human resource, an entrepreneur that they’re not in sales. They’re in sales.

It’s like my orthopedic surgeon’s son is in sales. How do you think he’s going to get customers to come through that door? The whole premise was that everyone, no matter what you do in your career. That’s why my book was for our books or for anyone in any career to grab onto. One was EVERYDAY SALES WISDOM for Your Life and Career.

The second book is the how-to book. It’s getting into the meat and potatoes. It teaches you how to do it. It’s BIGGER THAN SALES: How Humility and Relationships Build Career Success. I’d tell you how to build relationships. I drive how humility plays the biggest part. What you’re going to do and what you need to do. I go through it step-by-step. Personal branding is part of the chapter. I didn’t know what branding was. I didn’t know I had to have a personal brand in my career. That’s how I tied my books together.

Chip, to wrap it all up, what’s your resounding message? What I liked that you said is you helped your kids and they became better people than their professions. I wanted to even take it into what defines a better person?

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I’ll tell you what it is, be humble and kind to people. Did you ever listen to Tim McGraw’s song, Humble and Kind? Look up Tim McGraw, Humble and Kind, and listen to his song, but treat people like they want to be treated. Don’t treat people like you want to be treated. That’s Chip-ism, as you’ll read my books. I believe you were saying, “Chip has these things I want you to remember.” Treat people with kindness and what I call soft skills. It’s not what you say to people. It’s how you say things to people. You can be a great leader and you’d still be humble and kind. You don’t have to slam your fist on the desk.

You can treat people with respect. Let people do their job. Care about people. Care more about them than you care about yourself. I believe that leadership from leading with humility and has that humble card. If I find you don’t have that humble card, I wouldn’t hire you. I wouldn’t want to work with you. I don’t think much of you if you don’t drive yourself to have that humility. I believe with my heart that it’s not what you say to someone, it’s how you say it to someone. If you have the right intent and the right heart, you’re going to be okay.

MSP 60 | Be Humble

BIGGER THAN SALES: How Humility And Relationships Build Career Success By Chip Helm

You may not get to where you’re going. You may not end up exactly being the president of the company or wherever you want to go. The good Lord may not want you to go there. In my many years in this industry, I’ve always done things with the right intent and heart. It doesn’t mean I still didn’t get in trouble. It didn’t mean that people did perceive me incorrectly. It didn’t mean that people still don’t try to screw you over. I believe in that.

The last thing is, there are two things that say every night when I go to bed and I put my head on my pillow. Number one, did I do everything I could now for the company that I worked for? Did I take care of people? Number two, did I not screw anyone over now? In many years, I’ve never screwed anybody over. Have I been screwed over? Most people will screw in their career many times over, but I would never do that to somebody. That’s not who I am.

Chip, that was a great closing statement right there. You’ve answered every question I had. Thank you so much for your time. For everybody reading, make sure you check out Chip’s books. Thank you again, Chip. It was great speaking with you.

Samuel, it was a pleasure. You’re unbelievable. I love that smile. You got some good teeth, as my father would say, “You got a great set of teeth.”

I’ll take it. Thanks again, Chip.

Thanks again, Samuel.

That was Chip Helm. Make sure you get his book BIGGER THAN SALES. Visit it from our website. Chip has so much experience, much value to offer and wants you to read so you can learn how to enhance your own career. Get his book. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking to yourself, “I want to get into the industry, in medical sales, pharmaceutical sales or medical device sales,” or somewhere in healthcare sales, then you need to make sure you visit EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Attain a Medical Sales Role. Fill out our application and allow us to connect with you and help you get there.

If you’re someone that wants to improve your sales performance, you’re in medical sales and saying, “I know things can be improved, and things can be better,” or maybe you’re someone that wants to brand yourself through social media and create your own professional brand, being an extension of your company, get your name out there and get more visibility with the right people. Visit EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Improve Sales Performance and select one of our programs. We have a LinkedIn Program and a Sales Performance Program that can help you get to where you want to go.

As always, thank you for reading. We do our best to bring you guests. We try to bring it to you every single week. We’ve had a little bit of a hiatus. Our organization is growing. We’re doing a lot of different things, but now we’re back, bringing you these episodes that you can read, learn from and give you the opportunity to develop your own careers. Make sure you tune in for another episode.

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About Chip Helm

From a Dental School drop-out to a National Sales Manager of a multi-billion-dollar medical device company, I have honed my sales skills from the ground up.

I’m a regular guest lecturer at business schools around Indiana, including Purdue, Ball State, Butler University, and Indiana University.

I’m also a bestselling author and have a BA in Biology, and MBA from the University of South Florida. But my favorite success is at home – a 27-year marriage, three adult children, and good health.



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