Throughout the years, numerous viral scares have hit the United States. Today, the coronavirus is the cause of panic. In December 2019, the disease gained worldwide attention when it rapidly spread from Wuhan City and throughout China.
With confirmed cases now in the U.S., hospitals, schools, and other crowded, high-risk facilities are protecting employees, customers, and patients with new policies. Some hospitals, for example, are mandating two-weeks leave for those who have recently left the country.
These policies, however, don’t account for many others who frequent healthcare facilities. As a medical sales rep, you must have a plan in place when the threat of a transmittable disease is high.
Here’s how you can stop the fear of coronavirus from negatively impacting your medical sales goals:
1. Stay informed with reliable sources
Topics regarding the coronavirus are everywhere. Friends share updates on their social media pages, co-workers discuss what they heard, and multiple articles hit your news feed each day.
The underlying issue with many of these sources is that they drive fear rather than knowledge. And fear leads to unnecessary and damaging panic. Unfortunately, it’s challenging in today’s technological world to recognize what’s real, what’s up-to-date, and what’s simply click-bait.
Be in control of your education to reduce fear and increase your awareness of how to handle situations. Look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the most accurate and current information regarding the coronavirus.
Both of these sites provide key insights into how to keep yourself safe, identifying symptoms, and risk assessments. Additionally, every Monday through Friday at noon, the CDC updates the confirmed cases in the U.S. here.
2. Take necessary precautions
The CDC has reported we can greatly decrease the spread of coronavirus by taking the same simple precautions as we do during flu season. Of course, as a medical sales rep, there are a few other steps you may want to take when entering and exiting healthcare facilities.
Keep in mind to always:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds (Singing Happy Birthday 2x will time you out pretty closely!)
- When supplementing with hand sanitizer, be sure it’s at least 60% alcohol, cover the surface of both hands, and rub until dry
- Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Rather than relying on drive-thrus when in a lunch rush, go inside and wash your hands before touching your food
- Respectfully decline handshakes with customers
- Keep sanitizing wipes in your vehicle to frequently wipe down surfaces, such as phones, tablets, briefcases, and your steering wheel
It’s also essential to keep communication open with customers. Check-in with them, for example, before attending a meeting to ask if there are newly confirmed cases of coronavirus at their facility. Or better yet, suggest a virtual meeting to keep business moving forward without putting anyone at risk.
3. Be work-from-home prepared
Many employers throughout the country reduce the spread of illnesses and decrease employees’ fears by offering work from home options. This precaution isn’t unique to coronavirus but is effective in keeping viruses at bay.
However, you’re likely not used to putting in full workdays at home. If you’re an inside sales rep, you have all the equipment and technology you need at the office. If you’re an on-the-go outside sales rep, you’re used to meeting with customers in face-to-face settings.
So, now is the time to prepare yourself in the event that remote working is mandated or highly-recommended by your employer. Discuss procedures with your employer:
- Do they have stipends set in place to help you set-up your temporary home office?
- Do they have corporate accounts with tech platforms you can use, such as video interviewing software?
- How will regular in-office meetings take place?
- If you’re an external sales rep, do they still expect you to meet with customers?
Once you discover the answers, decide where you’ll be most productive in your home and set your plan in motion.