Featured On The Job Sales Tips

3 Ways Medical Equipment Sales Reps Earn Their Place In The OR

Entrance into the OR is the golden ticket for medical equipment sales reps. This is where they plant themselves as the experts of their products. As a result, trust with doctors and other medical professionals in the room grows and evolves into meaningful relationships. 

These opportunities to connect are likely why medical equipment sales reps who spend the majority of their time in the OR reported the highest average incomes over those in other market segments, according to our 2019 Medical Equipment Sales Salary Report. In fact, medical equipment sales reps spending time in the OR earn an average total compensation of $210,455, compared to those working in hospitals who earn an average total income of $181,714.

While it’s obvious medical equipment sales reps who spend time in the OR have a total earnings advantage, our report found just one in four respondents currently work in the OR. Unfortunately, we recently discovered that sales reps may be wearing out their welcome in the OR for various reasons

Some healthcare professionals worry doctors base their medical equipment purchases off of relationships with reps and not what’s best for their patients. Others know the average commission reps make from products and feel money is constantly top of mind. 

Hesitations and common stereotypes are making it harder for medical equipment sales reps to make their way into the OR. So, you must intentionally earn your way in to offer your expertise and continue building those critical connections. 

Here are three ways you can earn your way into the OR: 

1. Meet with doctors outside of the OR

Before you can solidify relationships in the OR, you must build a foundation in the office. Doctors need to know you’re not showing up in the OR to push your product. Instead, you’re there before the process begins to ensure the patient will receive the best care. 

Set appointments prior to surgeries with doctors. Show them the key function of your product and train them on using or installing it before they even enter the OR. 

Regardless of whether this is a standard protocol, it’s critical that they see you investing time in their patients. Additionally, doctors appreciate you putting in the effort to ensure they’re ultimately successful throughout the surgery. 

2. Keep the upselling out of the OR 

According to Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, a Georgetown University medical doctor, upselling sometimes occurs in the OR. Of course, upselling in the OR is frowned upon because the focus should remain on the patient. But her argument goes beyond focus.

Dr. Fugh-Berman believes doctors are incapable of fully researching new technology when reps upsell in the OR. Patients are then left in the hands of reps, rather than their doctors. Even if you know certain doctors who would agree to an upsell on the spot, keep it out of the OR. 

If you believe a newer product is right for their patients, discuss it during an office visit. Give them the opportunity to research and ask questions to help you maintain a trustworthy reputation. 

It’s important to remember that this isn’t just improving your reputation with doctors. Those in the C-suite making budgeting and other major decisions also need to trust you’re being compliant in the OR. 

3. Be confident in your expertise

You’re a valuable expert. That’s the ultimate reason doctors invite you into the OR. Whether it’s learning how to use new equipment when operating with it for the first time or you’re guiding them through the intricacies of using the right screwdriver for installing a device, you must be confident. 

Study your products until you feel you could install or use them yourself. Practice explaining how to use the device or naming the tools in the correct progression with a colleague. Additionally, allow them to practice on you. Being able to catch someone else’s mistake and correcting them will build your confidence when it comes time to assist in the OR. 


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