Many clinics or practices have had a bad experience with a sales rep or two in the past. Be it a skincare, device or consumables supplier, there are some things you should look out for and some things that should be a warning bell for you to run for the hills.
The nine tips in this article will assist you to successfully navigate one of the larger capital purchases in your business.
Please note, point 9 is important!
As a specialist consultancy in the beauty and aesthetic industries we deal with most of the device companies that our clinics use and we also hear many stories, good and bad about their sales reps. We have collated our advice from our experience and we have also asked some of our clients for their recommendations in what to look for or ask for when working with a device company rep.
In our experience the reps who are doing well and are the most respected are those who are taking a longer term approach. They are not just in it to sell a device and collect their commission, they genuinely want their clients to succeed with their device. They also don't just sell a device, they handle most or all of the post sales care, not just in the first 6-12 months but ongoing.
What to look for in a sales rep from a device company:
- Quick response to your enquiry – once you have decided that your clinic needs a device, you don’t want to be waiting weeks to talk to a rep from one of the device companies. Warning - A slow response time will indicate that they’re likely to be slow to respond to post-sale requests for support.
- Flexibility with meeting times – do they work 9am-5pm week days, or are they available outside normal business hours to fit around your busy clinic or practice schedule?
- Genuine interest – are they genuinely interested in your business and your needs?
- They ask a lot of questions – sometimes the right device for your clinic is not the one you enquired about. Asking a lot of questions will allow them to advise on the best device for your current clinic and one that will handle growth. Warning – If they talk non-stop and fail to ask questions about what your needs are, they won't understand your business - it’s not a lecture about them, it should be a consultation about you.
- Product Experts – Do they have a comprehensive understanding of every device or product in their portfolio? They really must be the expert on their own devices, no question or detail should be too much. The really good reps will also be able to answer commercial questions on the best way to use and promote the device.
- Testimonials or Reference Sites – They should be happy to connect you with other clients who have purchased the suggested device(s), so that you can independently verify other clinic owners experience, both that device and the company and staff behind the device. Warning – If a rep is unable or unwilling to provide a reference site, or a clinic owner for you to talk to or visit in your city, this should ring an alarm bell. To talk to a fellow owner about not just the device but the experience post sale (service, training, consumables) is invaluable.
- Extensive Knowledge of the Process – Your rep should know the key regulations around your device, likely problems and all associated costs in the transaction. Warning - If your rep is evasive when pushed about detail about post-sale or ongoing costs such as consumables and service contracts you should be wary - many clinics, have been stung by huge increases in consumables costs post-sale.
- Focused on the Competition – reps should respect and expect that you will be comparing devices from competitors and doing your due diligence. They should not try to stop, confuse or compromise it. Warning – This should become a warning if they start to bad mouth other companies or their devices. This is a cheap “used car sales” technique that does not cut it in this sophisticated industry. If this is the case kindly ask that they focus on their own devices and you will do your due diligence on the competition.
- High Pressure Tactics – This is one of the areas we hear about the most. A device should stack up now and in the future, there should be no need to purchase the device on the spot. You need to be able to do your due diligence on a device before you make a significant capital investment.
Today there are so many devices available on the market, you should be meeting with at least three companies to get a good feeling for the different technologies and how these could fit into your sales mix in clinic.
We welcome your comments on this article. If any of these points or the warnings resonate with you please let us know in the comments.
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