There are various traits associated with success in medical sales. Outstanding communication skills, empathy, and passion are just a few of the more common qualities we hear about.
However, there’s one overarching trait that sales reps need in addition to all other personality traits and skills — resilience. In fact, according to a 2018 study by Tanium, 96 percent of business decision makers believe business resilience should be a core element of their company’s overall business strategy.
This key trait is defined as one’s capability to recover quickly from difficulties. And in medical sales, there are bound to be many bumps along the road.
Here are 10 important reasons you need resilience in medical sales:
To accept your own failures
Resilience is all about bouncing back — even if you’re the one who messed up. In medical sales, you can’t spend time wallowing in your own self-pity when a sale falls through or you lose a big account.
You must pick yourself up and proceed on to the next challenge. Learn from your failures and use them to become a better sales rep.
To adopt a growth mindset
Once you’ve accepted your shortcomings, resilience can also empower you to grow. Take stock of what you need to work on and look for opportunities to sharpen your skills, whenever you can.
Taking the initiative to keep up with industry trends, take skill-based courses, or find a mentor, are all ways to enable your own growth.
To improvise on the spot
People with resilience are able to think quickly on their feet. If a customer hits them with a tough question or brings up a mistake from the past, these people don’t get nervous and clam up. Instead, they stay confident in their ability to do their job and do it well.
Use your skills and industry knowledge to improvise when you encounter such situations.
To see the reality of a ‘no’
Medical sales reps hear plenty of ‘nos’ in their career. Resilient people are able to see the reality behind those answers, accept them, and move on to the next client.
For example, don’t take a lost sale personally. Instead, consider it the wrong timing for that particular client. Perhaps that client had business reasons on their end that made them decline the sale, such as budgetary issues.
Whatever the case, don’t let a ‘no’ stop you from pursuing your next goal; let it motivate you.
To let go of what you can’t control
While you might be able to see the reality of a ‘no’ and avoid taking it personally, you may still obsess over or stress over those issues you cannot control.
It can be tempting to look for ways to negotiate to get around whatever is holding a client back, but if you can’t let go of things beyond your control it could be detrimental. You could wind up making poor choices, like a promise you can’t keep, which will either make the company look bad or lose the trust of your client.
Focus instead on what is within your control, and go from there, in order to find success.
To prepare yourself for the next rejection
Being resilient doesn’t mean you just bounce back from unexpected circumstances. It also means you can prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for rejection.
For example, learn how to read people. Be able to pinpoint if ‘no’ really does mean ‘no’ or knowing if the client just needs a little more from you to close the deal, whether it’s more information, more time, or a stronger relationship.
Of course, as a medical sales rep, you don’t ever want to give up too early, but being able to walk away from a meeting with your head held high, no matter the outcome, is important.
To keep sight of your strengths
While it’s important to accept rejection or your own shortcomings, being resilient means you can do so without losing sight of your own value. Be able to look back on your sales meetings and recount the things you did that worked!
Just as you don’t want to repeat your same mistakes, you also don’t want to lose track of your strengths.
One way to do this is to literally keep a list of strategies and tactics that worked well, and more importantly, why they worked. Writing them down will reinforce them in your mind, and help you to identify trends overtime as to why certain things work for you. With this list as a tool, you can continue to get better and better at your job.
To recognize resilience in others
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” says motivational speaker Jim Rohn.
While medical sales can be lonely in the field, is not a lone soldier career. You have a team. At the end of the day, a large part of the job is about the relationships you build in the field.
All of those people in your network also exhibit resilience and strength in their own lives, and you call pull from them when you need it, if you know how to recognize it.
Don’t forget: resilience is one’s capability to recover quickly from difficulties. Take note of when you see those around you exhibit resilience, and use it as motivation when you encounter your own challenges.
To see life as meaningful
Everything has a reason for people who are resilient. They see the meaning behind their product, behind their companies, and even behind their failures.
Even if they have the ultimate communication and negotiation skills, without resilience it’ll be challenging to fully convey the meaning and purpose of a product.