Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

By 2030 the U.S will face a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians, according to a newly released report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

“This year’s analysis reinforces the serious threat posed by a real and significant doctor shortage,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD in an April press release. “With the additional demand from a population that will not only continue to grow but also age considerably over the next 12 years, we must start training more doctors now to meet the needs of our patients in the future.”

For medical sales professionals who have the same goals and passion for meeting patients’ needs, this is an unnerving prediction. Unfortunately, the physicians left picking up the slack will face increased demands, larger time crunches, and even greater burnout than before.

To accomplish the goal of meeting the needs of patients in the future, as Dr. Kirch put it, healthcare professionals will need to know first-hand about medical care changes and cutting-edge advancements. However, this shortage will leave doctors with a stunningly low amount of time to meet with medical sales reps.

This may already be happening for members on your team. The challenges associated with getting on doctors’ calendars — and staying there — leave your team discouraged and below sales goal numbers.

That’s where you come into the picture.

As their fearless leader, it’s your job to educate medical sales reps on new, innovative ways to approach overworked and overburdened doctors. Here’s what you can do to empower your team as doctors become less and less available:

1.Utilize telecommunications

Technology is forever changing how doctors interact with patients. Today, they’re embracing communication tech that allows them to do their job outside of a traditional doctors office. While these telecommunications prevent them from meeting patients face-to-face, they’re able to meet with more people in a day.

As medical sales professionals, your team needs to always look for doctors’ preferred methods of communications. It’s important that you look for these outside of how they’re connecting with your reps. By looking at how doctors prefer to contact patients, like telecommunications, you’ll see the most effective way to reach out and sell.

Encourage your team to use various forms of telecommunications to educate doctors about their products. For example, record short webinars that allow multiple doctors to learn about a product in a place and time that works best for them. Then, sales team members can follow-up and answer any questions to ensure they’re continuing to make that one-on-one connection.

2. Teach gatekeeper respect

Relationships with doctors will only be as successful as the relationships your reps have with the staff in the office. By this, I mean treating ‘gatekeepers’ with kindness and respect will get your team further than if they solely reach out to doctors.

Nurses and office staff are not the decision makers, but as the name implies, they do hold the key to the magical gate — a doctor’s schedule. Ensure your team is showing respect to these individuals and even sharing product information with them directly. Show your team the difference between ‘wooing’ a person, say with lunches and gifts, and being genuinely interested in their jobs, interests, and personal lives.

By taking the time to build these relationships, medical sales reps will create a solid foundation within the doctor’s practice, overall. As a result, doctors will hear your team’s name and information will be passed along quicker as those newfound allies pass along positive notes.

3. Encourage relaxed meetings

Sadly, 60 percent of physicians feel burnt out, according to a 2017 Medscape Lifestyle report. You’ve likely heard about this from your team as they come into the office telling tales of pointless meetings due to doctors who are unable to concentrate or are short-fused and impatient.

It’s important to let your team know these attitudes aren’t directed at them — but they are easy targets. As doctors’ schedules are overflowing, the last thing they want is to sit down in their office and have a formal one-on-one meeting about new healthcare products.

Have your medical sales team acknowledge the hard work doctors are putting in by offering relaxing elements to their meetings. If meeting at a hospital or office with an outdoor seating area, bring lunch and offer to get fresh air outside with the doctor. Or, consider a walking meeting to clear their minds, if time allows. No matter what each rep chooses, be sure they’re considering what’s best for each doctor.

How do you help your team reach seemingly unreachable doctors? Let us know!

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