Previously in “The Mom, The Myth, The Med Rep In Trauma With Julia Greenspan Part 1,” Julia Greenspan disproved the misconception of medical device reps in trauma sales and levels the playing field in orthopedic trauma. And while Julia dives deep into what it means to be a trauma rep. In this episode, she explains that while trauma is your problem, it is not your fault, so you should remind yourself and focus on that to handle a crisis situation. Her experience shows that trauma is a family business for her, and having someone to support her as a trauma rep makes a difference in hoeing the road for her. Tune in to this episode as Julia delves deeper into her experience as a mother and being a med rep in trauma simultaneously.
I am delighted to bring you part two with Julia Greenspan. This is fun. She gets into it. She gives it to us straight. She tells it how it is. I’m not going to spoil it. We’re going to jump right in. Thank you for reading. I sincerely hope you enjoy this interview.
When you have someone who’s in a growth phase as a rep, which I was in a growth phase, they’re more demanding. They’re like, “Show me your metrics and your data. Why do we do it this way?” They start to want to break out of their skillset. I couldn’t do that at Stryker. I thought, “What’s the choice? You have a non-compete. Is it that you stay in trauma and deal with all the politics of working under your non-compete?” I know that people out there will be like, “You live in California. What are you talking about? It’s not enforceable.”
That’s true. However, there are two pieces to a non-compete, “Do you go work in trauma and you call on the same people?” That’s naughty. That’s not allowed but also not enforceable, but the other side of it is non-solicitation. That means you’re reliable if anybody leaves Stryker and thinks it’s because you had something to do with it. I was the West area education director for over ten states. I know everyone. There’s large attrition happening at Stryker trauma in the West.
I didn’t want to have anything to do with that. It was like, “Nope.” For personal liability, if people are leaving Stryker and they still want to talk to me, I want to have my relationships solid and not have to worry about legal ramifications because I would rather keep my side of the street clean. What’s cool is you get to learn a new thing. If you’re twenty years in and you’re afraid of learning new stuff, you’ve got to reassess your life at that moment. It’s fun being the new kid.
You chose wound care. That’s what I’m curious about because there were so many places you can go. What about wound care said, “That’s where I need to be?”
It was so different. It’s like if I went to total joints, I know that game, that sales cycle, and those surgeons. I get it. I’ve been there. I got the t-shirt. Once you’ve done trauma, all it is at that point would be learning new products. It wouldn’t be some product that goes with different types of clinical skills. I was also a scrub tech. Remember, I’ve done almost every specialty in the operating room as a scrub tech.
It’s not like I was a medical device rep that had only seen trauma ever. It was like, “What about GYN?” I scrubbed that. I know what that is. It became, “What’s going to give me the most bang for my buck and teach me?” I was like, “I’m going to do something I’ve never done before,” which is DME sales. I have no idea what that looks like. I have no clue what that sales process is like. I’m going in like, “What is happening?” That’s beautiful because that means I’m in my stretch zone.
Everyone has a comfort zone, a stretch zone, and discomfort. I wasn’t stretched. That’s great. I wanted to live in a stretch. I felt every other option at my fingertips because I got reached out to, as you usually do when you leave and people know you’re a free agent. It’s like, “Foot and ankle? I know what that looks like. I already know what that is.” Is it interesting? Sure.
I want to use 2022 as a stretch year. Whether I stay or go, we will see what happens at the end of my year. Do I fall in love with wound care and never want to leave? It’s possible. There’s some cool stuff that 3M does that I’m for sure going to take them up on. Their internal training is bananas. It’s fantastic stuff. There are further growth opportunities at 3M, but that was a conscious choice of mine to say, “Why would I rat hole myself into one specialty?”
You’re in wound care. You love that career. I want to jump into what you do outside of wound care. Before we get into that, because of some of our readers, tell us a little bit about what the day in the life of a trauma rep looks like just so they can make the comparison between your job now and what you used to do.
I love trauma. Trauma is super fun. Trauma gets a bad rap. People think it’s stressful, which it is, but it’s all in how you manage that stress. There’s a reason why I’m like, “There’s non-compete stuff on October 15th. Why am I looking at the calendar?” It’s because love it. I miss it. It is something where if you make it part of your lifestyle, it’s not nearly as intimidating. If you try to rat hole it, “A normal job is 9:00 to 5:00,” then you’re going to be disappointed. You’re going to be let down. If you say trauma is a lifestyle and you build it into your daily routine that there will be unpredictability, then it’s a lot easier to handle.People think trauma is stressful. It is, but it's all in how you manage that stress. Click To Tweet
What does that look like? Give us a little bit more.
When you’re a trauma rep, it’s normally the day before or the night before. I was on a team of six. I led a team of six. When you lead a trauma team, it’s important to coordinate appropriately. You have to make sure you triage the right way. The night before, you say, “What cases do we have on deck tomorrow? Who’s doing what?” You have to make sure the right rep is at the right case at the right facility.
You don’t want to put the associate with the high-level trauma surgeon who is difficult to be in a plateau. You’re not going to send in the newbie to that. That’s ridiculous and unfair. However, if you look at the cases and there’s headcount free, then I would go do the difficult to be in a plateau with the associate and make sure they get their training. A critical piece is triaging correctly for cases the next day.
Let’s say we have seven cases the next day. Those are what we would call our anchor appointments in trauma because cases have to come first. They don’t go uncovered. That’s one of the big differences between trauma and some other ones, like joints too. They can’t go uncovered. It’s very rare to have them not have a rep there. You have to make sure those are a priority.
Outside of that, you have your weekly goals. What are the weekly goals? We want to hit this particular office or maybe this particular target. We have done our research and analyzed the data. We say, “This would be a great target for this product.” Somewhere in the week, one of the senior reps might do an initial call and say, “Can we get something on the books?”
Depending on the target and if it’s appropriate and where the associate is in their training, maybe you say, “This is a great practice for you.” It’s all communicated. Everyone in the family knows what’s happening and knows the plan. That’s how it goes because when you get to the actual day, you had your plan, “These are the seven cases,” we have all the staffing figured out.
We think we might have room for a couple of sales calls in the evening or afternoon, but then you get to the day of. Traumas pop up, cases cancel, and patients eat. There are equipment issues or whatever it might be. You have to pivot around that. If anything, trauma teaches you to be flexible. One of the biggest things that helped me out was this little mantra I always told my associates, “It’s my problem, but it’s not my fault.” You have to focus on that.
You’re having to handle a crisis situation. It’s your problem, but it’s not your fault. You didn’t put anybody in this situation, hopefully. It’s not your issue that they put the patient to sleep and didn’t call you. You go do it. Things like that keep you on the beam, but it’s a very busy life. In your head, it’s twelve hours a day. A pretty average day is twelve. I used to scrub twelves. I was used to that. There are going to be days where you get home and fall asleep, and then your phone rings. You’re out.
I’ve got a question that when people know a little bit more about you, they’re going to want to know too. You have two little ones.
They’re two boys.
You’ve been in trauma while you had children. They have grown. You’re married. How did you manage this with this flexible schedule that you’re describing? Here’s the thing. There’s trauma, which a lot of people do have misconceptions about. There are women in trauma, which there are even more misconceptions about. There are mothers and trauma, which is a whole new layer.
You’ve managed to tackle all of them to the point where you can say, “This job is fun. I can do it. I was able to raise a family and kids. Look at me.” You’ve got to let us know. How did you make that work with the trauma schedule, the flexibility that’s required, and the responsibilities you still had to exercise with your family?
I get a lot of reach-outs on LinkedIn, which I love. I’m not one of those people who are like, “Don’t bother me.” I like it when people have the balls to reach out to someone in the business. That’s great. I’m happy to talk any time if anyone out there is like, “What do I do?” We talk about it a lot. It comes down to man or woman. It comes down to family support. That’s it. Trauma is a family business. Everyone is in on the project. What you can’t do that is unhealthy is to silo your work off to the side and then have your family “protected” in a little bubble, “I’m not going to tell them what I do and why I’m leaving.”
There’s nothing more traumatizing for a kid than seeing a parent leave but not knowing why. I’m honest with my children, “I’ve got to go. Someone broke their leg. It’s open, which means the bone is sticking out, which means it’s important that we get that thing back in and wash it out.” We will talk about it. I’m big on teaching. I was known for doing a lot of saw bone labs and cadaver labs. My kids would help me set it up, “Do you want a quarter? Help mama set up a lab.” They could come.
You made it a family affair.
You have to. Kids are bright and smart. They know when you’re holding something back and when you’re not being genuine. They’re the best sales trainers on the planet because they know. They can smell it. You have to be like, “I want to be here for this thing that we’re doing. I want to have dinner with you, but the fact of the matter is that someone got badly hurt and they need my help. Do you think I should go?” “You should go.”
They give me a high-five and I’m out. That means that I also have to have a supportive spouse. One of the biggest downfalls of a trauma rep is if their spouse is not on board. I’ve seen coworkers say their wife, girlfriend, or significant other is like, “You’re leaving again.” That emotional hit to your relationship every single time you have to go takes an emotional toll on the rep in a way that might be terminal.
If you constantly have people pulling on you at home, yanking on your ears, and saying, “You belong here,” when your surgeon customers say, “I need you like,” that’s impossible. Unless the whole family is in on it, it’s a pretty tough row to hoe. I’m very lucky that I have a supportive spouse who’s a drummer and a surfer. He’s got a completely different lifestyle, which is great.
He’s easygoing. He’s like, “We’re riding the waves.”
If the kids are out at school and I’m out working, it’s awesome because he’s like, “I’ll go drum for five hours and not even notice that you’re gone.” It’s great because you have to have that independent thing. You can’t be in a relationship where it’s like, “Where are you all the time?” It’s not in trauma. When I was single, not a lot of people passed that test a month in, “Why are you still working?” I was like, “Why are you even asking? This was on the label of the packaging. You knew what this was. If you get needy now, it’s not going to work out.”Trauma is a family business. Everyone's in on the project. It is unhealthy if you silo your work off to the side and then have your family protected in a little bubble. Click To Tweet
Every trauma rep should get a sticker and say, “If you get needy now, it’s not going to work out.”
I have these little workbooks I always use if anybody isn’t a nerd. I caught one guy going through mine when I was a rep. He was like, “I couldn’t believe that you worked all those hours.” I was like, “We need to talk about a thing called boundaries. That’s not kosher.”
In that vein, before we wrap up, I want to get into something that everybody needs to know about. It falls right into the topic we’re addressing on breaking down the misconceptions about life and trauma. Tell us a little bit about what you’re a part of outside of 3M that you’re able to do on your time.
You’re talking about the company. It was started by my friend, Emily. Women in orthopedics and medical device in general, depending on your division, can be rare, especially in ortho trauma. There are not a lot of women and even if there are, that’s nice that they hire more women now, but you’ve got to watch out for the retention rates. Is it a success if they leave in under two years? I look at that. You’re looking for the old ladies. How many ladies stuck around past five years? How many leaders stick around past fifteen years? It gets infinitesimally smaller, as you were alluding to.
Emily started this thing for women in the medical device but men too. It’s not just for women, but it started as more support for women. Women can come and have a network of women in medical device outside of their company. The idea is to be company-neutral and to be gender-neutral. For example, I leave their office hours every Saturday. Every Saturday at 7:00 AM, I hop on Zoom. People can come on, be anonymous, and turn their cameras off or on to their comfort level. They talk about their week.
Sometimes I have reps that want to vent if they had a crappy case or bad interaction and want to almost therapist through it like a peer counselor. I’m happy to do that. Usually, I can give them some perspective, “This isn’t as bad as you think it is. Here’s why,” or help them move if they want some coaching on how to move forward. I lead them through that thinking process, “How can we improve your situation?” Other times, there are more sensitive topics.
Sometimes there’s harassment. They are afraid of going to HR or their manager. Sometimes they need someone to talk to and suss through those situations because they’re real. They happen every day. Some managers quite frankly don’t know what to do with that situation or handle it in the right way. There’s the policy way of reporting to HR and going through a formal issue, but then there’s the human way, “What does the person need at that moment?” Oftentimes they aren’t getting it, so they call us.
What’s the best way to get in touch with people at the SaleVice site?
SaleVice Society is on an app called Mighty Network. There’s also the LinkedIn page. Emily is super vocal on Instagram. If you’re on the gram, you can always find her there. I’m a little bit of an old lady with it. I’m like, “Insta is scary.” She’s way more media-savvy than I am. That’s why we’re a good pair because she’s able to do more of that media outreach. I’m the old lady with my coffee cup, “Tell me all your problems, kid.” It’s such an interesting partnership.
Is there a hotline or a number you can give right here that people can contact?
I don’t care if my personal number is out there. You can always find me on LinkedIn, Julia Greenspan. I’ll throw my cell phone out. It’s (510) 316-1475. Text first because if I’m with a patient, I’m not answering my phone.
You will be called.
I’m all good about that. There’s no downside to a generous mentorship. I always find that people who call me need to. I’ve never had somebody call me in a situation where I put my number out there and I’ve been like, “Why did you even reach out?” Half the time, it’s like, “We can work through this.” The other half, I’m like, “What a devastating situation. I don’t know if I can help, but I can talk to you.” I’ve never had anybody abuse that yet. We will see what happens, but you can feel free.
I can’t wait to hear what happens after you’ve generously put your number out there. As we wrap up, I’m going to ask you a few questions. You have about ten seconds or less to answer. Give it your best shot. It’s lightning-round. Here we go. Number one, what’s the best book you’ve read?
It’s The Seven Daughters of Eve. It’s about genetics and how we can be traced back to only seven women. The entire human race can be traced to seven women.
I’m going to have to read that. What’s the best movie?
It’s Split. I know I came late to the party, but I finally saw Split. It was amazing.
They should have gotten an Academy Award for that one. What’s the best meal?
Anything that I didn’t make is always appreciated.
Finally, what’s the best experience?Nothing is more traumatizing for a kid than seeing you leave without them knowing why. Click To Tweet
I had a patient send me a thank-you note. It was touching and sweet. She said, “There needs to be more people in the world like you.” I went, “Holy crap.” One thing you don’t get in trauma is a patient or a sweet little old lady beautifully handwriting you a letter and sending it to you.
With that being said, is there one last thing you want to share with the audience as we sign off?
Be kind to each other. If there’s anything I can tell you from someone who has been in medical device for a very long time, it’s to be careful how you treat your competition. They will either be working for you, with you, under you or over you at some point in your career. For all the young ones who might be a little bit aggressive about their business, be aggressive but be a person first. Be human first. Be kind. Always help each other because it comes back to you tenfold.
Trust me. I’ve had it happen to me more often than I would like to count where there are boomerangs that come back. Thank God I was cool. Thank God I was nice. The same thing goes for products. When you’re talking about your product, don’t trash someone else’s. That surgeon might be emotionally invested in the product that you’re trying to go up against. Be a cool and calm cucumber or a nice island of calm and Zen for your surgeons. You will be fine.
Julia, thank you so much for spending time with us.
Anytime. Thanks for having me, Samuel.
Be the cool cucumber and the calm for your providers. Isn’t that fantastic? I love when Julia joined us because she had a very refreshing perspective. What she’s doing for women in this space is fantastic. To have an opportunity for any woman that’s going through something that men do not experience on a regular basis is a beautiful thing. I champion it 100%. Julia has taken time on Saturdays to spend time and wait for people to call and tell her whatever they need to.
Services like that bring true innovation to medical sales because by having that platform, everyone gets to feel heard. When you get to feel heard, you get empowered. When you feel empowered, you can do your job, handle situations, and manage interpersonal relationships that much more effectively. That’s what they’re doing there. Make sure you check it out and see if there’s something that you want to share on that platform. There’s so much good stuff here.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I liked what she talked about when she was in trauma. I liked the fact that she works in wound care. I’m curious,” or you don’t know where you want to be, but you know you want to be in medical sales, visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Attain Medical Sales Role, follow the prompt, submit some information, schedule some time, and have a conversation with us.
If you’re in the industry and you’re truly trying to make some waves in your space with your territory and drive business, then visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance, follow the prompts, submit some information, schedule some time with us, and let us help get you on your way. As always, we do our best to bring you innovative guests that are doing amazing things in the medical sales space like Julia Greenspan. Make sure you tune in for another episode.
Julia Greenspan has 23 years of operating room experience, and over 15 years in medical device. Specializing in Ortho Trauma has given her experiences as a sales rep, senior sales rep leading trauma teams, training and managing successful associates, spearheading medical education programs for surgeons, and more.
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