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Medical Sales Reps With These 3 Traits Will Excel In the OR

Medical sales reps working in the OR earn an incredible 11 percent more than other reps in their industry, according to our 2019 9th Annual Medical Sales Salary Report

Unfortunately, these earnings could drop dramatically if rumors of medical sales reps being kicked out of the OR come to fruition. Many of the reasons behind these predictions are out of your control. However, a great deal of power still lies with your sales reps. Their ability to be welcomed into the OR and become experts doctors rely on cultivates this success. 

In order to maintain an impactful team in this sensitive market, you must start by hiring medical sales candidates you know will succeed in the OR. This means they’ll have the ability to acclimate in this setting. And, of course, they have to understand the rules of being in the OR. 

Beyond that, they need the personality to connect with doctors — to go beyond the skepticism that they’re only there to pad their paycheck. Most importantly, they must prove their intentions are genuine. Their greatest interest must be to improve the conditions of the patients, ultimately advising what is best for them at all cost. 

It takes unique medical sales reps to prove all of this in a short period of time. Here are the four traits you need to look for in candidates who will excel in the OR: 

1. Communicative

Some health leaders fear the presence of medical sales reps in the OR. Their fear revolves around the patients’ safety and recommended products. Georgetown University medical doctor, Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman told Health Leaders Media she’s worried medical device sales reps aren’t pushing the most proven products. Instead, they’re pushing products that will boost their commission checks. 

Additionally, hospitals are taking a microscope to the bottom line. They are questioning whether your devices are worth the cost. You need to find medical sales reps who can effectively communicate their products are worth it because they’re, in fact, the best solution for patients. 

Assess candidates communication skills during the interview process. This is a high-pressure, stressful setting, similar to the OR. Look for their ability to speak calmly while effectively proving that they’re worth hiring. 

During final round interviews, ask candidates to perform a mock sale. Top reps will be able to create a meaningful connection. They’ll show the true value of the product and how it’s the best option for the patient in question. 

2. Confidential

Confidentiality in any healthcare environment is critical. Even accidentally violating patient privacy is a serious offense. When you’re sending reps into the OR where they’ll meet the patient firsthand and see them vulnerable, trust and confidentiality are essential. 

Surgeons will never trust sales reps if they’re not convinced they can keep their patients’ information confidential. Without this trust, reps may not even make it into the OR. 

Quiz candidates on updated HIPAA information. Ask situational questions that allow them to disclose if an act is a violation of patient privacy or not. For example, “You’re discussing your workday with friends and divulge that the patient in the OR was male. Is this a HIPAA violation?”

3. Fast-thinking

Medical sales reps who excel in the OR aren’t just selling a product — they’re the official experts in the room. This means if an issue arises during installation, they must think of an effective solution and fast. 

There is a critical difference between being quick to respond and actually responding with accurate information. Find candidates who are open to constantly learning and take product information seriously. 

Ask candidates what they do if they’re presented with a question and don’t know the answer. Then, find out what their preferred managerial and learning styles are to ensure they align with your company’s offerings and culture. 

Upon hiring, this helps you know they’ll quickly catch on to new learning materials in the way they’re presented. The faster they understand the product, the faster they’ll be able to think under pressure in the OR. 


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