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How to Network Your Way Into Medical Sales | Interview with a Sales Representative

4 min read

How to Network Your Way Into Medical Sales | Interview with a Sales Representative

In today's episode Wade interviews Zach, who is one of our career coaches at Breaking Into Device. He's going to discuss with us fanatical networking for medical sales and how we're able to set up our students to network the best possible way before the interview even begins.

What was the key to your networking success in landing a role in medical sales?

For me, it was making sure that I reached out to the right people. I needed to discover what the role was, what industry I wanted to get into, and then what division within the company I was applying to. Those are the easy parts. Research and read the job posts to find out the details behind the role. From there, reach out cold to people on LinkedIn who work in the same geography or who may have gone to the same school. That builds up rapport and expresses interest on a mutual level.

When you find someone who has common experience (eg: going to the same school or located in the same geography), you can build on that and express your interest in the position. From there, you need to sell yourself. Consider the interview process starting right then and there, even though a recruiter hasn't even reached out.

Is it better to reach more people or to have better quality connections when you network?

I still have great connections within the industry on LinkedIn, especially within my geography. Efficiency: I'll speak to that first. I've probably have over 100 medical device sales connections within my small little region. I’m in rural Iowa; it's not a dense market. It's a small world.

You want to connect with sales people in your region because when it comes time to apply, you never know when that connection might come in handy. If you already have that connection established, you can reach out to that person via LinkedIn (or phone) more efficiently and less superficially.

When you do connect with folks, zero in your sites and refine what you're looking to do with that connection. If there's a position you want to apply for, focus on the quality of that relationship. You want to hyper focus on a handful of connections that work for that company. At this point, they don't even have to be in the same geography. They could be in the same region. You could even connect with people who are not in sales; they could be in a sales support function or a marketing function. Make sure you nurture these relationships and express your interest. Make sure that they know what your motive is: to secure the position.

At what point does persistent networking turn into annoying networking?

Short Answer: as long as you don't receive a no then keep going. It's sales. You're always selling yourself. I know that's cliche to say but it really is true. No matter what you're doing: if you're applying for a job, you're selling yourself.

Unless he or she explicitly says “stop reaching out”, you reserve the right to keep messaging, calling, knocking on the door, and emailing. Do whatever you have to do until someone says stop. And if he or she says stop, then stop.

It’s important to understand that being ignored does not mean no. Medical sales representatives are very busy. That doesn't mean blow them up with emails four times in the same day; be tactful and drip your responses over a period of time. Eventually most people will see your motive, see why you're reaching out to them, and get back to you. You have to catch them at the right time. If you reach out and he or she doesn't get back to you, odds are you probably just sent the message during the wrong time of day for him or her to respond.

Up that volume to a persistent level. Reach out once a day a day through two different channels, such as LinkedIn and email. By doing so, you increase the chances of catching them during a time when they do have a quick two minutes to read what you're saying and and shoot a quick response back. 

Anything else in terms of medium or any specific way you like to go about networking with your students?

I wouldn’t under estimate the power of LinkedIn. I know Breaking Into Device has content out there on how to capitalize on this tool.

Secondly, make sure to brush up on what division you're applying for and what kind of products you plan to sell. Make sure that you have a competent level of understanding of anatomy for that specialty. You have to understand the anatomy of your chosen specialty before you can even understand the product. Do your research. The sales representatives that you network with can help point you in the right direction of what you should study.

You don't have to be an expert but usually organizations websites have just a plethora of data available that you can brush up on. The Breaking Into Device All-In course has it laid out. Even as short as 30 minutes that at least show the people you're networking that you care.

What are some other big no-nos that turn you off when people try to connect with you?

Short Answer: Not doing any research. Another pet peeve is letting go of your level of professionalism and treating the conversation as a “friendly” conversation. If I'm going to recommend someone to a Hiring Manager, I want to be confident that:

  1. They're going to give it their all, and
  2. They're not going to embarrass me

A good good rule of thumb is try to mirror the person that you're talking to and then take it up one notch. Always try to be more professional with the way that you're presenting yourself on the phone. Try not to use slang words.

State your motive. Make sure that they know what you want to do and make sure you close them. 


For more a more in-depth strategy on how to map out the medical sales networking process, book 1-on-1 coaching with Zach through our coaching sessions page here.

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