Are you on the cusp of transitioning to a career in medical device sales but uncertain about the steps to take? This episode could inspire you to finally embark on that transformative journey. Samuel Adeyinka sits down with Aaron Kopfinger, who shares his remarkable journey from pharma to a thriving career in medical device sales. A graduate of the Medical Sales Career Builder Program, Aaron unveils the challenges he faced, the pivotal moments that led him to pursue a change, and the impactful role of mentorship in his success. If you’re aspiring to break into the medical sales space or contemplating a career shift, Aaron’s story is a beacon of inspiration and practical insights. Tune in for a candid discussion that may just be the catalyst for your own career evolution.
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Pharma To Med Device Sales Transition With The Medical Sales Career Builder Program With Aaron Kopfinger
In this episode, we have with us another special guest and he goes by the name of Aaron Kopfinger. What makes Aaron special? Aaron was someone who was in a medical sales position but he wanted to be in a different space. When he found our team and worked with our coaches, he was able to get himself into a position that changed his life. This is something that if you are trying to get in, you have to read this episode because he’s someone who had a vision, found a resource, and took full advantage. Here he is. As always, thank you for reading the show. I do help you enjoy this interview.
Aaron, how are we doing?
I’m doing great, Samuel. How are you doing?
Fantastic. No complaints. Aaron, before we get started, I have to talk with everyone. This is another special episode. Aaron found us from the current position he was in. I’m proud to say but I’m not going to ruin it. Aaron, tell us. Please, take us back to what job you had before you found Evolve Your Success.
I was working in pharma, a pretty small company selling cough cold allergy medicine, and then made the transition.
First of all, tell us a little bit more. You were doing pharmaceuticals. What type of product were you selling? What kind of customers were you calling on? Was it inside or outside? What was the position?
It was all outside sales. It was like the door-to-door of med sales. I stop in and talk to urgent care, family practice, dermatology here and there, and a pretty wide range of clinics. It was all mostly upper respiratory symptomatic treatment and things like that. It’s your common cough cold allergy-type symptoms. I was working with that. We had some things where we worked in the dermatology space. It was a pretty wide range of stuff.
Talk to us about why you want to change and what is happening in your life and career where you were like, “I want to explore something different.”
We have to go a little bit further back. A little bit more about my background, I graduated in biochemistry, pre-med. I was on that med track and decided that I wanted to do med sales for a plethora of reasons. What I did know is that I loved being in the OR. I loved being involved in surgeries. I liked having some patient-type ownership where I had some form of responsibility in getting a patient where they needed or wanted to be. It was always my intention from the very beginning to get to where I am.
On top of that, my big issue was I had the medical side down and was good with that. I did well in school and things like that but I didn’t have real sales experience. Unless they can see your fireworks with a sales experience, there’s not a whole lot to go on there. I got into the pharma space. It was the first job that I could relate to med sales or device sales. I did that for a while. My goal there was to be the top rep, do as well as I could, and then transition into the device space.
How did you find us? How did that happen?
I was on Spotify one day. At the time I was living in New Orleans and working down in South Louisiana. I was cruising and was like, “There’s got to be a medical sales podcast.” All these people listen to podcasts. I was like, “I’m going to be a podcast guy.” I ended up searching medical sales podcast and you popped up. I tuned into my first episode. I wish I could remember the episode but that was my first dose. I heard the Evolve Your Success at the end of the episode and I was like, “Let me take a look at this and see what’s going on.”
Where were you in the stage of wanting to make the transition that made you even say, “I should listen to a podcast?”
It’s tough. I was in pharma doing well but I didn’t have the fulfillment part that I wanted. I’m doing well but if it’s not making me feel good about what I’m doing, then what’s the point? That was my perspective on it. That was the moment where I was like, “Maybe there’s something else out there that is going to tie that knot and make me feel good about what I’m doing.”
That’s when you decide to listen to a podcast. You ultimately talked to us. What helped you to make a decision to join the Medical Sales Career Builder program?
I had talked to some people in med sales prior to joining the program. Their advice to me was, “Do everything you can. If you’re going to come out of pharma and try to get a med device, you’ve got to be the top rep and do whatever.” I spent so much time working the job I had. My only goal was to be at the top of the leaderboards. While I was successful in doing that, I was still having issues. I had done some interviews here and there before but I wasn’t getting anywhere.
I’d get 2 or 3 interviews in and then dead end. It was the moment when I realized, “Maybe I’m not as good at talking about myself as I thought I was. Maybe I need some help.” That’s when we hopped on a phone call and we were talking about it. It allowed me to still pursue my goal of doing well and the job that I had but also working towards something else.
We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of it but what are some of the highlights you would say that served you that you experienced in the program, in your pursuit of getting in this position?
The number one thing was mentorship. Being connected to people who have had wild success in the industry. Some conduct interviews themselves or are involved in an interview process with their respective companies. They have a very wide range of perspectives. It’s not all about we’re looking for this one type of person to fill this role. Everyone has a unique identity. Working with them and helping to bring that out was what helped me.
You couldn’t have said it better. Take us to the moment you got the call that you got the job. What was that like?
When I got the job, it was weird. I had a moment where before I had gotten the job, it was after my third round of interviews. I had flown to and back from Dallas on the same day. I had got back to the airport. I was walking out to my car in the parking lot. I was so physically and emotionally tired. I already knew I was going to go to the next round. I got so emotional walking to my car like, “I might not ever see this airport again. This is crazy.” I had my moment before my actual moment but I was sitting at home at my desk. My parents live not far away so I got the call. I was super excited. I jumped in the car, drove straight there, talked to them, and broke it down to them. They know it was something I’d wanted for so long. It was a great family moment.
Let’s do it this way. We have some audience, people who were like you, Aaron, that were thinking about being in medical sales or maybe want to go from pharma to medical device. The medical device is something else in the healthcare sales space. What would you tell them about why they should take the path that you didn’t do in this program to get that next opportunity?
It’s easy to analyze ourselves and feel like we’re good at something. If we don’t have that extra voice talking to us, then it’s hard to know what we’re good at and what we’re not good at, and where we shine and where we don’t. I don’t love talking about myself that much. I’m a pretty quiet guy but it’s having someone there to motivate me and say, “These parts of your life, all these things are important. They make you who you are. Let’s figure out a way to bring that to light.” For that crowd, this is the best possible way you could go. You have so many people surrounding you to motivate you. You have people who are in the same spot as you. If you’re on your 200th resume submission and you’re tired of it, I would give EYS a go.
Aaron, it was a pleasure working with you. You’re a fantastic individual and you’re destined for great things. I can’t wait to see all the amazing you do in the med sales space. Let’s not keep anybody in any further suspense. What is the actual job you have? How’s it going?
I’m working in the cranium maxillofacial space. We do custom implant plate equipment. We do a lot of trauma, jaw surgeries, and cranioplasties. We touch on a lot of different things. I got to cover my first rib case. We do some stuff in the thoracic space as well. It’s a pretty wide ballpark and I’m still learning all the ins and outs of it. It’s been great so far. I’ve seen some cool stuff.
We can assume what we think an experience will look like before we get there. Do this and that. I’m sure you had all kinds of wild ideas but you’ve done it and you’re in it. What are the things that strike you as different that you didn’t think would be what it is?
Being in the pharma space, I got to very much make my schedule. I was like, “I’ll go here this day.” You have to plan and be precise about it and smart about where you’re going. Now, it’s like you have these cases lined up and you have to be in this place. All of a sudden, you have a trauma case that shows up and you have to drive across town in the middle of 5:00 traffic. It’s the flexibility of it. People underestimate that every day is a different part of medical device sales. No day is alike.People underestimate that every day is a different part of medical device sales. Click To Tweet
What I want to know is so far, what do you love the most?
It varies from company to company. We’re involved in the patient planning process, the actual procedure, working with these virtual 3D models, making adjustments, going from there, and having everything contoured to each patient. Being involved in that process is cool, getting to be an impactful player in this patient’s future. Being in those meetings and then seeing it unfold in the actual surgery, you get the full life cycle and it feels good every single time.
We are excited for you, Aaron. That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that with us. I can’t wait to tell you the wonderful things you can do in that space. It’s the lightning round, Aaron. First question, what is the best book you’ve read?
I knew you were going to ask this question so I brought it with me. The Psychology of Influence has been my most recent book at the time of this conversation.
Where did you find out that you should be reading that book, Aaron?
With EYS, you get a reading list. Great books. I was about to start this book right before I got the call and the job. I was like, “Let me finish this book.” I wish I would’ve read this book first. It’s been a great experience.
Best TV show or movie you’ve seen?
Only because it’s the most recent at the time of this conversation, The Diplomat.
I’ve never heard of it. What’s The Diplomat?
It’s on Netflix. Multiple storylines are going on at the same time but it’s centered around a US embassy in the UK. There’s a lot of stuff going on and I don’t want to spoil anything.
People are going to be like, “What is he doing?” I get it but it’s worth a watch.
A hundred percent. It is a different style than what I’m used to but I love it.
Your favorite restaurant and meal?
I was living in New Orleans before I moved to Austin, Texas. The best place has got to be Commander’s Palace. I got to take my mom out there for dinner. I hit up the course sampling meal. You get 6 or 7 different things that come in all in pair drinks. In Louisiana, that’s what it’s all about.
Last but not least, what’s the best experience you’ve had?
It’s got to be getting the job. You work towards something for so long. For me, it was probably a six-month process where I was sending in applications and I felt like I was wasting my time for so long. Finally, something sticks and all the waves of emotion come through. There’s no better feeling than seeing your dreams come to reality. All the work that you put in and all the time and effort pay off so there’s nothing better.
We get to share it with you. That’s why we do this. We want to be able to share that blessing of taking life to a whole new level, which you’ve done. I’m so glad you were a graduate of our program. Aaron, keep doing the good things you’re doing. You’re going to do great things. We’ll be catching up with you. Thank you for your time on the show.
That was Aaron Kopfinger. This is what it’s all about. He’s a graduate that wanted to change his life. He found a resource and he did. Something that people don’t talk about enough is the hard work that goes into these resources. A program designed to help you get where you want to be only works if you work it. You have to be willing to take the advice that you’re given and consistently put out there all the necessary work.
Everyone gets excited by the prospect of something new. Everyone should get excited because that’s why they’re going after it in the first place. They see a vision. They want to be there. They want to be a medical sales rep and they say, “I’m going to make this happen.” They find the resource. They’re so excited and ready to go. Something happens that I’ve seen over the years. When they get into it and they start working at it, it’s going to get challenging and tough.
In some cases, it’s going to feel like nothing’s working. What I continue to see is when you stick it out consistently for at least 4 to 5 months or 3 to 4 months, it all clicks and the magic starts to happen. However, when you stop doing the work, maybe 1.5 months or 2 months in because you’re not seeing what you want to see and you check out, 2 months after that, nothing’s going to happen. What I like to make the analogy to with getting into this medical sales space and industry is it very much operates like sales.
When you are a medical sales rep, the reality is you’re going to have some rockstar quarters, average quarters, and poor quarters. What separates those who succeed from those who don’t are the ones who have those poor quarters or stalled quarters, for lack of a better phrase, is they do it anyway. They work through it and apply their best practices. If they realize that their best practices aren’t getting them where they need to be, they go out and find the best practices to make that happen.
I like to say that getting into medical sales in a lot of ways mirrors what you’re going to experience when you’re in medical sales. If you want to be in this space, you know what I’m going to say. You better go to EvolveYourSuccess.com because resources are there. More importantly, when you get a hold of that resource, and let me say it for anyone, you need to work that program, utilize the resources, and do what you’re supposed to do.
You need to do it consistently with relentless vigor no matter what is going on in your life and with anything around you or that’s connected to you because this is what you want and where you want to be. It truly is here for you. As always, we do our best to bring you guests who are doing things differently in the medical sales space. If you’re trying to get in, you know where to go, EvolveYoursuccess.com. Make sure you tune in next time for another episode.
About Aaron Kopfinger
As a Sales Representative at Poly Pharmaceuticals, Aaron has been building relationships with prescribers and staff through consultative sales methods and education. He has consistently exceeded his sales goals, achieving +6% YOY in Q4 2022, +53% YOY in Q1 2023, and +38% YOY in Q2 2023. Aaron has also received the Poly Award for Product Knowledge twice for his advanced market and product knowledge.
Aaron graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry, where he developed a strong foundation in the medical field. He has also gained valuable experience as a Medical Scribe at ProScribe and an EKG Technician at Southern Medical Corporation, where he was responsible for medical documentation and patient care. Additionally, he has participated in medical mission work in Manta, Ecuador, where he witnessed the impact of healthcare on underserved communities. While he was there, he was also able to participate in the surgeries via retraction, sterilization, and documentation. Aaron is a graduate of Evolve Your Success’ Medical Sales Career Builder Program.
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