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How To Be A Successful Medical Sales Representative With Rick Barnett

Posted on November 17, 2021

MSP 66 | Medical Sales Representative


Do you want to become a successful medical sales representative? The two main crucial characteristics you need to have are care and resilience. Samuel Gbadebo’s guest in this episode is Rick Barnett, the founder & President of Rep-Lite® that provides management solutions to reduce cost and increase productivity. Rick talks with Samuel about how you need to have genuine care and concern for your patients. Be relentless in follow-ups and learn from difficult situations. If you want more tips on how to become a successful medical sales representative, this episode’s for you. Tune in!

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How To Be A Successful Medical Sales Representative With Rick Barnett

We’re going to jump right into it with part two with Rick Barnett. He is the Founder of Rep-Lite. It is a contract sales company in the medical sales space. They have a contract sales force. They bring people on and then they contract with medical manufacturers to use that contract sales force to sell their products and services. Thank you for reading and I do hope you enjoy this interview.

I don’t know what your last Uber ride was like. I don’t know if I adopt that or not.

How did candidates normally find you and how do clients normally find you?

We go out. In the US, there are 384 jobs. When I say job boards, I’m including social media channels too. Everything out there, Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, we go out to all of them. Typically, a candidate will find us on one of those job boards. As for our clients, a lot of our clients are through referrals. Someone at XYZ company has contracted with Rep-Lite.

Make sure you work with people of integrity who have a moral compass. Share on X

We’ve had success, they’re talking to a colleague and they come to us. We also get a fair amount of clients that come to us through social media, through LinkedIn. We see a lot of folks come to us that are things in the startup arena. The reason is there is a tough spot when you start to commercialize a product, whatever the product is.

In my mind, you’ve got three choices. You can go out and find distribution and there are a lot of distributors that are awesome, but you never know what you’re going to get. You can get distributors that grab dirt and never selling things, or you can go out and hire a direct sales force, expensive, full risk, or you can do a hybrid approach and call it to apply. We get a lot of startups that go, “I want to put ten reps in these ten cities, and then we’ll go put distributors everywhere else around the country. In that way, we get the best of both worlds.” Mostly through referrals and social media is where we find our clients.

You guys are only in the medical device sales space?

Medical device, pharma, biotech. If it’s got medical in it, we work in.

Are you a family man, Rick?

One hundred percent.

We have to know how you’re able to have this stellar career, go through the military, create this company in light of still having a family. Tell us, wife and kids, what’s the story?

We rank things in threes right here. I believe in God, family and work. That is just my deal. I’ve got a bride and she’s amazing. I traveled for many years and I tell people she’s an angel that was sent to me because to be married to me and to get through this craziness, it takes an angel. We’ve got three lovely children. We live in Atlanta. My wife and I have genuine, deep faith and we care for each other. My job is to be a servant leader for her, our family and our employees. Keeping it all together, being an entrepreneur, being a steward of this business. It seems like that we, the kids and our employees make it.

When we get a client, we sign a contract and we hire people for them. For that first hour-long, they’re working with Rep-Lite we care about them and love all of them. Our job is to make sure that they’re in a position to thrive. It’s not, “We hire you and good luck.” It’s, “We hire you and how can we help you throughout our time with you?” For the Barnett’s household, we have a true list of priorities. If you would ask me the secret sauce, that’s what I would tell you. It’s seriously a God, family and Rep-Lite. The kids and my wife knows that. That’s what we know.

How do you make it? How do you sustain yourself? What’s your routine? Do you have some practices or some specific things that you do that keep you in line?

I’m an early riser. I’m up typically between 4:30 and 5:00. I’ll spend quiet time in prayer and thought. I’ll work out and I’m at the office by 7:00. Sometimes I work late, but there are a few things that I found in my life. When I get home, I’m never walking into the house with a cell phone. It’s against the rules. You don’t do it. From 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, I don’t take calls. It’s a practice that we developed early on. Back in the day, the kids were little.

We’d be having dinner, my cell phone rings, and maybe it’s a potential deal. I’d be on the phone and it doesn’t show that you’re spending quality time. My routine is that every day. Up early, little quiet time, little exercise, work, trying to serve our clients and our people, go home and spend some time with family. I spent many years traveling. The time with the family’s pretty precious to me.

I want to switch gears a little bit. I want to find out how hiring changed and what have you seen from your perspective? Think back to when you were building teams of Stryker and through your growth with Rep-Lite. 2020 happened and the pandemic hit everybody, blindsided everyone and social media has become much more important. Different things have happened, different dynamics. From your perspective, what would you say have been some of the most significant changes since you started with Stryker up until now?

March of 2020, when Zoom instantly became wildly popular, we’ve been using Zoom for years. For us, it was not a big deal. At Stryker, we sat down in front of people 1, 2, 3 times in a hotel lobby, in a restaurant and put them through the process that was radically changed. 90% to 95% of it is still Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Medical Sales Representative: Our job is to make sure that our employees are in a position to thrive.


I’m not endorsing any particular platform. From a hiring perspective, there are some nuances in how you work canvas through electronic interviews versus face to face. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s different. Now that electronically, they fill out an interview, someone 7 or 8 times. The process seems to be linked and out.

If it takes you that long you’re missing something. It takes you that many touches. I feel like there is something you’re missing. When we get the opportunity to speak with a candidate, we’re going to look to make sure that they’re full of integrity and they have a moral compass. That’s the first thing because that fits in our culture at Rep-Lite.

We’re going to make sure they have energy. If you don’t have energy, you’re not going to be a good salesperson because you got to have energy and then we’ll look for bandwidth. Can you learn? Can you take information and learn it and can you hustle? Those three things are common things, but I think how you get to those things, the questions that you ask are different than sitting across from someone and seeing their body language.

I don’t think it’s bad. If we’re honest with each other, electronic interviewing can be more efficient and a lot less expensive. I used to fly from Atlanta to LA, have a day of interviews and fly back. I can do that sitting right here in the office and never get an airport. Not that there is much good that came out of COVID-19, but there are some things in the changes that I think have created some efficiencies.

From your vantage point, were you anticipating things going in this direction?

No, but for our model, because we covered the US and some US activity and many different companies, my team couldn’t physically get to those people. Electronic was our only option. I’ve probably been to nine cities in one day. I couldn’t have done that.

You weren’t anticipating it, but you wanted it to be able to increase your bandwidth and it fell right into the direction of everything was ready going it.

If you had tried to do what I did now, back when I was a Stryker, it would’ve cost you $8,000 and you wouldn’t have enough time in the day.

With that being said, now you’re an entrepreneur and a business owner, anticipation is very much a part of what you have to do to stay in business, keep things going. Where do you see things going now, maybe five years out with the way with COVID making things happen even faster? What do you see the environment looking like with the hiring process in the healthcare sales space, maybe five years from now or more?

I think everything happens for a reason. I’m not sure why COVID happened, but it taught us. I’m a big believer in learning from difficulty in the obstacles. March 2020 happened and everyone was going crazy and then, all of a sudden, the world stopped. I think it taught us some things. I get calls daily saying, “We need to have more flexibility, but we need to be more efficient. We hadn’t needed to have less risk in case COVID-22 comes along.” How do we stay nimble? We’ve got this huge company, a lot of products, a lot of clients. We feel fortunate that a lot of companies that call us go, “You’re our answer because you keep us nimble. If we contract with you, we can go up and down as needed.”

In the medical space, I don’t think we’re going to depart from the care aspect. That’s going to be there, but how we sell and how we commercialize, I know it’s changing. I shared with you earlier during COVID, we had our biggest year, and I don’t know of a lot of companies other than hand sanitizer that can say that. Companies were saying, “We still need to get to the customers, but we don’t want the risk of hiring twenty people and then having to let them go or whatever it is.” I think this model and companies being able to do things more efficiently are probably here to stay. It’s a lesson learned from the pandemic.

One question I want to ask before we close up pretty soon, Rick is your core philosophy. You laid it out there. You said God, family, Rep-Lite. We have people in our audience that want to get into the industry, we have people that are sales reps in the industry, and then we have decision-makers that are leading the industry. From your vantage point, experiences, what you do day in day out, what would you like to share with everybody reading?

Let’s start with the folks who are trying to get an industry. One is, prepare yourself. Be prepared before you start to get into this. I think Los Angeles is doing an amazing program. They could certainly help you prepare with Evolve Your Success. As a candidate, be different. Be relentless in your follow-up. I would tell you that if you’re not relentless in your follow-up, a hiring manager is not going to see you being relentless on the sales cycle.

Don’t be obnoxious, don’t be rude, but be relentless and follow up on every aspect. As far as the sales reps, they’re currently in the space. You know what it takes to be successful. You are successful. Pivot when you need to, but don’t waiver on the fundamentals. You got to care about the patients and you got to be resilient. Those two things are never going to go away in my mind.

Learn from difficult obstacles. Share on X

I put out a post a while back about the definition of insanity is continually doing the same thing in the same way and expecting different results. Partnering with a company that will get behind you and beside you, especially when it comes to the most important thing in your business, which is people, always. There’s no business that doesn’t have that. If you need to grow or scale, get with a company that you can partner with, that you trust. Certainly, you can call us at Rep-Lite. We’d love to serve you and help you in any capacity we can.

Change is going to happen. We know that’s a constant. How open are you to the shoot, move, communicate and changing a pivot? It’s important. I did a podcast back right when COVID hit and it talked about the pivot. We all have to analyze. We have to know the business and want to help companies to be able to pivot and do it efficiently and effectively, hopefully, with fewer risks. Those are the three buckets that you ask, I think.

How can people find you at Rep-Lite?

It’s Rep-Lite.com, Info@Rep-Lite.com. Come see us even if it’s not to talk about a deal, to talk about what we’re doing and how maybe you could adopt some of the same principles. We appreciate all the interactions. Whether they turn into dollars or not, interactions are important for all of us to thrive in the business.

Rick, thank you for the time you spent with us. We can’t wait to hear and see more of what Rep-Lite does.

Thanks for having me, Samuel.

That was Rick with Rep-Lite. If you’re a decision-maker and you want to find top talent for your organization, you’re looking and you’re saying, “What’s a way that we can find the best people that can work for us,” and you even want some leeway to see how they perform within your organization before you take them on, then you need to reach out to Rick with Rep-Lite.

We always talk about our guests on this show, and we’re always doing what we can to find guests that bring a different perspective to their industry and to this space, a light to see what’s going on from a different set of lenses. One guest that’s been on our show before that I want to remind you of is Chris Larsen. He began his career in medical sales at 25 years of age. He was in the OR space for about eighteen years. He decided to hang it up because he wanted to be more of a family man and be the best father he could be.

During that eighteen-year period, he was able to generate a lot of income. He was making around $300,000 per year, but he invested it into true passion, which is financial freedom and helping other people grow their finances, and that’s exactly what he does now. His main goal now is to help others reach the financial freedom that he is living.

If you’d like to learn about his secrets and how you can become financially independent, then you need to get a free copy of his book at NextLevelIncome.com/book. He is the real deal. He’s no joke. Think about that. To be able to walk away from a $300,000 a year position and throw yourself into entrepreneurship, then you know that you’re doing something right.

He’s living the life of true financial freedom and who doesn’t want to be a part of that. Many of us talk about this as a goal that we have in our lives. Here’s a guy that’s doing it. He’s creating a pathway and an avenue for people to do the exact same thing and everyone is on board. Doctors, medical sales executives, I’m on board and now it’s time for you to get on board.

If you have money to invest and you want to put it into action, this is the man to deal with. The book is Next-Level Income, and you can find it at NextLevelIncome.com/book. You’ve probably read this episode and you’re thinking about Rick with Rep-Lite and what he did in his career. Most of the people we have on this show have been in the medical sales field in some way, shape or form.

MSP 66 | Medical Sales Representative

Medical Sales Representative: As a sales representative candidate, be relentless in your follow-up.


We do have guests that have not, but a lot of them have, and you might be thinking, “I want to be in that field. How do I get into this position?” You’ve been interviewing and it’s not happening. You’re not making it past the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd round. You’re not getting that offer or you’ve been trying, and you haven’t even been able to get an interview. You’re saying to yourself, “What is the secret? How do you get into this position? What do I need? What do I need to do?”

That’s why I want you to visit EvolveYourSuccess.com. Go to our site, select Attain Medical Sales Role. You’re going to fill out an application. It’s a short application. You’re going to describe some things for us and you’re going to have a conversation with us here in Evolve Your Success. We’re going to talk to you about what’s getting in your way, how to get it out of the way and how we can help. Make sure you visit EvolveYourSuccess.com. We have a program for people like that. They can’t get the interview, or they’re not getting to that offer. They want to be in this industry and they know they want it.

If you’re someone that’s looking to brand yourself on the LinkedIn platform. Social media has become a platform that is almost essential for sales representatives, and because of what happened with COVID and access, everyone had to come up with more innovative ways to reach their customers. We figured something out specifically with the LinkedIn platform. We are now helping medical sales professionals do the same thing, and we want to help you.

If you’re someone that’s like, “I want to brand myself on that platform. I want to sell more to my territory on that platform. I want to be a thought leader in my space,” go to EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improved Sales Performance, and then select the LinkedIn Branding Programs, set up a call, have a conversation with us, and let’s talk about how we can help you. Thank you for reading and make sure you tune in for another episode.

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About Rick Barnett

MSP 65 | Contract SalesforceMr. Barnett has held many senior level executive positions within the medical device arena. Mr. Barnett is a performance-driven sales leadership executive with expertise in building client relationships, developing and executing winning sales strategies, and the selection and development of top talented teams. Mr. Barnett is recognized as a leader with a reputation for advancing successful business development campaigns, leveraging core strengths, and capitalizing on solid client relationships.

Mr. Barnett holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Hawaii. His background includes building businesses with companies like Stryker and Intuitive Surgical over the past 25 years. Mr. Barnett is a visionary who commonly recognizes “outside the box” opportunities while driving the current business to surpass established goals which has allowed him to function in a consulting capacity for several top industry leaders.

Mr. Barnett currently serves as Founder of Rep-Lite. He is responsible for spearheading a strategic development process that allows both manufacturers and facilities to experience maximized potential with limited resources. Mr. Barnett has initiated & instituted this process to allow several manufacturers to experience exponential growth within the divisions that it was applied. Mr. Barnett has a proven track record of over 30 years of achieving or surpassing planned goals in every position.