Dr. Kent Picklesimer returns for more! Alongside host Samuel Gbadebo, we get a look at how to get better medical sales. Dr. Picklesimer examines how relationships and connections are an important part of the sales process. Building trust, your work ethic and other integral parts of the process are also given a deep dive. Learn to use your client insights and knowledge to maximize sales. Take Dr. Picklesimer’s valuable insights to forge your way to medical sales success
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What You Need To Be Better At Medical Sales: A Discussion With Dr. Kent Picklesimer
We continue with Dr. Kent Picklesimer as he continues to share his experience of transitioning from being a provider to being a medical sales rep. In the rest of this interview, we get into what difference that makes and the breadth of knowledge that he has that he brings to his accounts. We get into the income level and the time that’s actually spent. We get into the weeds a bit, so you are going to enjoy this. If you are someone that wants to get into the industry, you should read this. If you are someone that’s in the industry, you are going to get some pearls here. If you are someone that’s leading the way, there’s also some value. As always, thank you for reading. I do hope you enjoy part two of this interview.
If I’m in the operating room or discussing surgery or techniques, my background plays to my benefit simply in the extent that I can speak globally about what is happening with the surgery and the pathologies that we are looking at on a global scale. In which case, rather than being specific about the surgery that is taking place, I can speak to the whole situation at hand. This is 100% particular to me. I feel pretty comfortable walking into the operating room to the extent that if something happens or something goes wrong, it will happen or will go wrong.
What I mean by that is if you are a rep and you cover enough cases, something is going to go wrong. It doesn’t matter how good the providers you are working with. With my background, I feel pretty comfortable that regardless of what happens or what goes wrong, I should be able to help get the provider out of that situation. That’s another benefit.
You can go as far as to say you have already anticipated things that can go wrong because of your experience, so you know how to navigate a lot of the situations. You have been in this role for three years. The same colleagues who said, “What are you doing,” now see that you thrive and live your life. What are they saying now?
They recognize that this is my new position. They have given up on the notion of, “When are you coming back into practice? When are you going to start seeing patients again?” They recognize that this is my new role. It’s surprising how many of my previous colleagues confided in me and said, “If I had the chance to join, I would take that chance.” It’s sad to hear that some of these people don’t feel like they can for whatever reason. They are so engrossed in their practices. Maybe they owe money for school or loans on their practice or equipment. They don’t feel like they can step away from patient care.Medicine is a business. Whether it's a provider, surgery center or hospital, nobody is there to lose money or care for people for free. Click To Tweet
Let’s talk about that a little bit. One would assume that you make more money as a provider than as a sales rep. I know that to not necessarily be true because I know sales reps who make more than some providers they see. Speak to that. What has it been like for you? If any providers out there are even reading this and thinking to themselves, “He actually did it,” what can they anticipate and expect as far as being able to cover whatever finances they think they can or cannot cover?
Medicine is a business. Whether it’s a provider, surgery center or hospital, nobody is there to lose money or care for people for free. Arguably, the Hippocratic oath states that providers are there to do the best for their patients, but they also have to pay the bills at the end of the day. To your note, with what I know now, I can say confidently that medical sales offer a platform where you can be very financially secure and stable to the extent that you may outweigh financially what some of the providers are making. They are in practice. What I have seen personally, I’m not too proud or ashamed, whichever direction you might take to admit this. Financially, I do equally as well as a medical sales rep as I did as a provider.
The next question is your lifestyle now. I would like you to compare it. We understand a little bit about your lifestyle when you were a provider, how busy you were, the long hours you worked and not being able to see your kids for 3 or 4 days. Give us your lifestyle now and what it looks like.
I don’t want to paint a picture of living in the lap of luxury by any means. It’s not uncommon for a provider to have a 7:00 case or 7:15 case. In which case, I try to get out the door by 5:30 or 5:45 in the morning. There were some evenings when I didn’t get home until 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00. There is still the paperwork associated with sales and administrative work. I don’t want to paint a picture of ease and comfort by any means. On the whole, I have a lot more autonomy on a day-to-day basis. My schedule before was dictated by patients and emergencies. Now, my schedule is dictated by surgeries and providers, but I can plan my day around those things.
I have a lot more autonomy and freedom such that if my kids have a Christmas choir concert or my son has a basketball game after school, I can plan to go to that. It’s the little things, as silly as it sounds, that I could never do before. Most of my days are thankfully centered around covering surgical cases, whether it be 1, 2 or 3 surgical cases going on during the day. When I’m not in the operating room, it’s planning for upcoming surgical cases, delivering trays, talking to the administration, engaging other providers about our products and using our equipment. The big difference between where I came from and where I’m at now is the flexibility and autonomy that this role has that my prior role did not.
It sounds like you can be much more intentional about some of the things you have always wanted to do outside of your profession. That’s the opportunity that you have been able to take advantage of. That’s a beautiful thing. You were a provider and you experienced sales reps. I’m sure as a provider, you said, “This is how I gauge an effective sales rep. They should be doing this and that. An ineffective sales rep that’s not doing everything they can to bring value to me and my practice is usually not doing these things.” Now that you have been on both sides, what would you say that you have noticed sales reps can do better to make them more effective and provide even more value to their providers?
One of the things that I would stress or talk about is that we are continually inundated by notions of speaking to a provider on a one-on-one basis making a sales call. There are so many books and different training courses out there about making sales calls. The thing that people should recognize is a provider on any given day. If they are in the office and they are seeing patients, they may be seeing a patient every 10, 15 or 20 minutes, whatever the case may be and however their schedule is.
In between seeing patients, they may be calling a lab to get lab reports. They may be calling in a prescription for a patient. They may be calling another provider. They may be trying to talk to an insurance company. On top of that, they are responsible for generating their patient notes during the day. It’s not unusual for some of these providers to finish their day and then sit down at their computer for two hours and finish all their charting. Where I’m going with this is on any given day, most providers are going 110%.
As a sales rep, you have to be very cognizant or conscientious of the fact that when you walk in their door and it’s not planned or you are walking in unannounced, that is a disturbance in their day, even if it’s for a minute. I’m guilty of it, too, being in this role now. I stop by a guy’s office and think, “I will run in and say hello to him. It will take a minute.” Having come from that, I recognize how disturbing that can be. You step out of a patient’s room and you have 100 things running through your head. They are standing at the end of the hall as a sales rep and the first thing that goes through your head is, “Come on. I don’t have time to talk right now. I don’t want to be rude or a jerk, but I can’t talk to this guy right now.”
Going back to your question, one of the biggest things in medical sales that you have to be cognizant of is respecting the provider’s time. That’s one of the things that I try to emulate. When I go into an office, immediately, I look at the waiting room. If they got fifteen people in the waiting room, I know right then and there this is not a good time. I approach the front office and say, “Is the provider available? Is it a busy time for him? If not, I’m happy to come back.” That’s my number one priority. I want to approach them when they are relaxed and they are not under duress from work because that’s when I’m going to be more effective in communicating what I have to offer them.If you work hard and you are diligent in what you do, you are going to be more successful. Staying true to your work ethic and striving to excel each day is going to pay off. Click To Tweet
When you say when they are relaxed and under duress at work, are you speaking to when you see an empty waiting room? Are you saying that because you were a provider, you know when those times typically are?
It’s different for every office and provider. You have to use a lot of those clues. When you make a sales call and approach providers, you use those clues to your advantage. You try to gauge that, where you recognize with the office staff if they are willing to give you that information, “Is this a good time? Does he have a few minutes?” A lot of people feel like they are being brushed off when you say, “He can’t talk to you right now.”
Some offices will do that, but they are there to protect the provider in a large percentage. What I mean by that is they want to help that provider move through the day as uneventfully as they can. They are not there to be your enemy. They are there to help their provider. I try to use all of that information again and present myself at what I think is an opportune time that they would want to speak to me.
You stated how long you have been in this role, and you said three years. That means you were in this role during the impacts of COVID when access was very challenging. Considering you were a provider, how did you manage that time? If you could share a little bit, what did you do differently that still allowed you to do your job well?
COVID has changed how everybody interacts, particularly in medical sales. Even to this date, there are still a lot of offices that will request that you will not come into the office. Traditionally, in medical sales, we will have different types of lunches, whether at the provider’s offices or at different educational venues for the providers. All of these things have been tamped down. It has forced medical sales into what everybody else is doing with social media platforms like Zoom, where we can educate and interact with our customers.
During COVID, in particular, I would physically mail information to providers to try to get information in front of them. I did that with the notion that I didn’t want to be overly bearing on their offices, particularly when they were trying to keep people out of their offices. I wanted to make them aware that we were still here and we were capable of servicing their needs as they needed us.
Let’s switch gears a little bit. I told you before that we have three types of people reading our show. We have people that want to get into the industry. We have professionals that are sales reps that are actively doing their thing. They want to rise through the ranks and perform at a higher level within the industry. We have sales executives and sales leaders in the industry. I will even add a fourth. Some providers read this show as well. Let’s start with those that want to get in. What advice would you give to them? I know your track is a little different. You came from the physician’s side. If there’s one nugget of advice that you would give to people that want to get into the industry, what would you share?
I don’t think this is true for medical sales necessarily, but it’s true for any type of career. You hear it all the time. It’s often who you know and not what you know. What I mean by that is if you are outside of medical sales currently and you are interested in this field and a career in medical sales, it’s putting yourself in a position and interacting with people that are in the business or knowledgeable of the business.
For example, your group, in particular, helps with this process. There are multiple platforms of that nature where people outside the business can have some type of education or introduction into the business. It’s not just the education, but it’s putting yourself in front of people who can help you make that transition. That’s a hugely important factor in getting into this.
What about those that are currently in the industry? Sales reps want to ramp up their sales performance. They are trying to get ahead within their organizations. What would you say to them?From a leader's perspective, encouraging the sales force to develop relationships and trust is going to lead to greater sales and success. Click To Tweet
It’s not specific for medical sales, but it’s old verbiage, “Hard work yields great gains.” When you move into medical sales, you have a tremendous amount of autonomy. Also, with that, you are the person who will make yourself great to the extent that if you work hard and you are diligent in what you do, you will be more successful. Staying true to your work ethic and striving to excel each day is going to pay off.
You are a provider and sales rep. I’m sure you had talked a lot with sales leadership previously when you were a provider and you do now. As far as leadership goes, any pearls of wisdom you can give to any leaders out there that are trying to get their teams to do more?
In medical sales, the leaders need to recognize that the medical sales team is part of the team. The sale comes with developing that relationship. From a leader’s perspective, encouraging the sales force to develop those relationships and the trust is going to lead to greater sales and success.
Is it safe to say that your family is even happier now as you continue to thrive in this role?
Yes. My wife says, “We have a completely different family now.” She tells me on a daily basis how much it has impacted her and our kids. It’s reaffirming that I made the right choice and decided to do what I did.
Dr. Picklesimer, it was excellent spending time with you and learning more about how you have embraced this change and the transition and taken it to new heights within your role. You even made your colleagues second-guess their own decisions in remaining providers. That’s a beautiful thing to say. We will definitely keep tabs on you. Thank you for spending time with us.
Thank you so much, Sam. I enjoyed it.
That was Dr. Kent Picklesimer. What a fascinating story to go from physician to sales rep and all the things that come with that and some of the things that people didn’t expect. I can’t wait to talk to some of my provider friends and hear their take on this episode. You might be someone out there that’s reading this episode. You are thinking about getting into the industry and you are not sure what to do. You might not know where to start. You might have gotten your feet wet a little bit and maybe had an interview or two and it didn’t go the way you wanted. You might be deep in the interviewing process and you are not getting to that offer. You are not sure how to do it.
Maybe you are not communicating who you are and what you are about. Maybe you are not showcasing the skillsets that you do have into how they transfer into the role that you want. These are things that we help professionals like you figure out. We help you get clear and identify what role you want to be in. Do you want to be in pharmaceutical sales or maybe you want to be in a medical device sales role? Maybe you are more of a diagnostic sales or you have heard of medical sales and you are thinking, “I want to be attached to medicine. I know I have a good gift of developing relationships with people and I want to harness it.”
Maybe you don’t have the gift and want to develop it because if you can empathize with someone else and understand where someone is coming from, you know how to develop relationships. It becomes a matter of understanding how to communicate what you understand and invite them into your solutions. If you are reading and thinking, “I do want to get some traction. I want to get into this space,” then visit EvolveYourSuccess.com. Get in touch with someone from the website, follow the prompts in Attain A Medical Sales Role and schedule some time. Let us give you some insight into what can move your career forward.
If you are someone in the industry and you are reading this episode and thinking to yourself, “I want to level up my game. What can I do to show up differently this year?” Maybe you want to get into the winner’s circle. Maybe you are trying to set yourself up for a promotion. Maybe you want to do something different within the organization and offer more responsibilities and even more value to your company. You are thinking to yourself, “I don’t know how to get there.” Go to EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance and get in touch with one of us. Let us guide you into making it happen this year.
As always, we do our best to bring you guests that are going to showcase different things within the industry, things that you might not have heard of, things you might be a little bit familiar with but give you different perceptions of what is going on in the medical sales industry. It’s a vast space. You have devices, pharmaceuticals, biotech, diagnostic and dental. I can go on and on. We do our best to bring you different insights from different people so you can learn and take something into your day that’s going to add value to your career. I always appreciate my readers. Make sure you keep on reading. I look forward to sharing more with you on another episode of the show.
About Kent Picklesimer
After more than 15 years of experience and practice in the field of podiatric medicine in April of 2019 I transitioned away from clinical practice and joined Treace Medical Concepts. My decision was rooted in the drive and desire to have an impact in the foot and ankle industry with an innovative surgical instrumentation system that will revolutionize foot and ankle surgery; Lapiplasty.