As a medical sales professional, building trust with your clients is one of the best ways to ensure long-term success. Sure, it’s great to make a sale to a new client, but the only way to build a loyal customer base is to establish trust and open communication to ensure that they continue to order from you for years to come. But as with most things in this fast-paced profession, building and sustaining a good relationship with a client is often easier said than done.
Why Trust is Important
Once you’ve mastered your pitch and built a client base, the next challenge is keeping those clients. As this industry is so competitive, your customers will often have many different representatives vying for their attention. And if you’re not careful, those other sales reps might be able to convince them to make the switch.
The primary benefit of establishing trust with your clients is that when a client knows you have their best interests at heart, they will be much less likely to entertain a pitch from a competitor. To help, we’ve researched the five best ways to build trust with your clients as a medical sales representative.
1. Be Reliable
The first and arguably most important way to begin building trust is to be reliable. For sales reps, this means being available for your clients when they need you. While you don’t have to answer calls and emails at every hour of the day, you should at least be available to your clients during typical working hours.
If you don’t already, set aside a specific time and day of the week or month to visit your clients and educate them about any new products or changes to existing products. Face-to-face contact is invaluable, and it helps clients feel as if they know you better. If this isn’t possible, you can always set up a recurring video call with them.
Another aspect of reliability is knowledge. Your clients should be able to depend on you to be able to answer any question they may have about your product. If you ever find yourself struggling to come up with an answer, know that it’s completely acceptable and professional to tell them the truth. In fact, a client may appreciate your willingness to double-check that the information you’re giving them is correct.
2. Be Honest
Honesty is the basis of any healthy relationship, and a sales rep’s relationship with their client is no different. It can be tempting to tell a client that your products are better than the ones they already have, even if you don’t know that to be completely true. Sure, you may think the product is better. But if you want to keep your clients happy, you have to make sure everything you tell them is 100% factual.
The importance of also honesty goes beyond product information. For example, if you tell a client that you will follow up with them, set a reminder on your phone to make sure you do. This will not only show that you mean what you say, but putting in the extra effort will show your client that their business is important to you.
3. Prioritize the Client’s Needs
This step to building trust can be difficult, but it’s necessary if you want to earn a client’s trust. Of course, your job is to sell your products, and many sales reps fall into the temptation of selling anything to anyone, no matter what.
But selling a product to someone who wouldn’t truly benefit from it is risky. Sure, they may never think twice about the money they spent. If they do, though, they may not trust your recommendations in the future. Once you lose a client’s trust, it can be very difficult–maybe even impossible–to get it back.
4. Be Relateable
Every salesperson should do their best to be relatable to their clients. When someone feels as if they have something in common with you, they’re more likely to feel connected to you, and by proxy, trust you.
This is based on the principle of in-group bias, also known as group favoritism. While this bias can be negative at times, as a salesperson, you can turn it positive. For example, say a client mentions that their son plays baseball. If you have a child who also plays baseball, make sure you mention that to your client. These small commonalities will not only form a connection with your client, but they will also humanize you and help the client see you as more than just someone trying to sell to them.
5. Be Approachable
As a sales rep, you’re most likely a people person. Many sales reps choose this profession because of all the different people they have the opportunity to meet. But it’s important to remember that not everyone views social situations in the same way.
This is especially important in medical sales, as you often speak to medical professionals, many of whom are more right-brained or analytical. If you are someone who loves to socialize, you may be pushing more introverted types away without realizing it.
We’ve all been in situations where we’re forced to make small talk or socialize with someone when we’d rather be doing anything else. To avoid being this person for your clients, try to match the way your clients approach you. If they want to skip the small talk and get right to business, oblige, and make a note of this for the next time you see them. This will make your clients more comfortable with you, and it can be vital to your long-term success.