Many self-proclaimed gurus and experts will sell you all kinds of tools, fancy words, and ideas that amount to bupkis. As a medical device sales rep, you know how to determine a good value proposition from a swindle, so how can you transform this savvy into leadership? As ProSellus approaches a huge milestone, our team began to ponder: “How do you go about becoming a thought leader in medical device sales?” Is it all about following the “right people” on LinkedIn and sharing, linking, or reposting things? Is it solely about letting your work speak for itself? As with most things, the ProSellus team found that it’s somewhere in between those extremes.
First Step: Have Patience & Fortitude
Everyone expects the first step to be some huge declaration of philosophy or self, but that’s not the secret sauce guys. Just take a look at a very brief snapshot of how Bill Facteau transformed Acclarent:
“Under Bill’s leadership, Acclarent went from concept to acquisition in 5 ½ years, raised over $100M, created jobs for approximately 400 employees, grew revenues to $100M and became profitable.”
It took 5 and a half years yes, but look at all of those results. Folks, it takes time! Develop your business identity and hone in on what goals matter most to you. Diluting your vision is the biggest misstep you can make on your journey to becoming a thought leader in any industry. You might also want to list thought leaders you admire or want to emulate, as well as an action plan with long and short term goals.
There are many people who’ve been in an industry for years and think they “know” it all, but the reality is, unless you go further than your peers, you’re not really learning more right? I don’t mean further as in, “being promoted,” or “climbing the corporate ladder.” I literally mean you need to learn more about your business than everyone else.
Instead of knowing about your business, learn how other businesses impact your business and vice versa. If you have an innate knowledge of the flow of business and how yours will be impacted, you have tremendous insight most others don’t even know to look for. NOW you can speak at an entirely different level than your peers.
Now, THEY begin to look at YOU as a thought leader because you understand the business in much greater detail.
Next Step: Focus on The Message
Developing a consistent and resonating brand and message is tricky enough without the added stress of trying to become a thought leader. One unfortunate aspect of this journey: sometimes, you’re just not meant to do it. We can’t all be Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Steve Jobs once asserted that the most important thing he created was the company Apple – not the iPad or the original Macintosh. A true thought leader doesn’t concern themselves with the product or service their company represents. A true thought leader knows that the message is what matters and how that message interacts with and impacts others.
Of all places to expect advice on how to develop powerful messages, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (literally….NACCHO) offers great, straight-forward advice we just can’t ignore:
- “Communicate clearly to the audience”
- “Specify your request”
- “Provide a reward that your audience cares about”
- “Make the reward believable by providing evidence to back it up”
- “Use vivid and appropriate images”
- “Choose the right moment”
- “Choose the right messenger”
– NACCHO Media Outreach
How do these platitudes apply to the medical device sales industry? GREAT question. Your audience is obviously your clients – WRONG. Your audience is your fellow salespeople and other medical device sales experts. For certain messages, your audience may even be the medical device companies themselves. Be sure to check back next month when we further explore this list and how it applies to medical device sales thought leadership techniques!
Final Step: Rethink, Not Repeat
The final step (which you do repeat often) is not about repackaging a message using synonyms and new graphics. It’s about approaching your message from an entirely different angle. By seeing how this might affect a different audience or how a different audience might view the message, you gain more understanding. Then, you can communicate the message more effectively to a wider variety of people, thus expanding your market.
Want to know more? Email me at Scottwalle@prosellus.com and let’s talk thought leadership, sales acceleration, and all things medical sales. What can the ProSellus Growth Engineers do for you?