Change or Die…How does a Surgical Device Sales Rep go from Hero to Zero?


9. face doc.

Shopify Surgical Device Sales Career

If there was a dictionary where you could look up the term “surgical sales professional,” you would see Jack’s picture.  Jack was one of the best surgical sales professionals I ever met.  He personified motivation in that he awoke at 4:00am every day to read journals, study product literature, and educate himself about the surgical specialty to which he sold.  He would then hit the gym for an hour or so and arrive at his first hospital account before 7:00am.

When I walked through the hospital with Jack I felt like I was with the CEO.  He greeted everyone by name and everyone knew his name as well.  Even the elderly Candy Stripers (hospital volunteers) knew Jack and they would stop what they were doing to hug him or shake his hand.  Jack had a relationship with everyone who worked in the cafeteria, the patient transporters, as well as housekeeping personnel and others.  As I met Jack’s customers, they acted as if he was not only a sales rep, but also a de facto staff member.

Even the stodgy, smug, and generally unfriendly Director of Purchasing yelled from her office, “If that’s Jack’s voice I hear, he better come in here and say hello.”  And when Jack did, the supposedly difficult and salesperson-hating purchasing director smiled and thanked Jack for helping her to understand a complex pricing agreement, which she explained, was not by her request, but by Jack’s insistence to make sure she understood the document.

When I walked through the surgeon’s lounge with Jack, not only did Jack know every surgeon passing through, but more importantly, each of them knew Jack.  This was surprising because Jack sold implants and instruments for Ophthalmology, yet he knew all of the cardiovascular guys, all of the general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, ob-gyns…everybody! [Read more…]

Ten Ways to Increase a Surgical Device Sales Rep’s Productivity

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The job of a surgical sales manager is a challenging one. One of the biggest challenges that they face is how to keep a team of sellers motivated and producing quality results.

Some of the best ways to make surgical sales reps more productive doesn’t include spending a fortune or sending them through another training class. A few of the best ideas are ones that help to reduce administrative burdens and increase time in the field or on the phones.


The following are the top 10 best ways to increase surgical sales rep’s productivity:

1) Technology
No, you don’t have to equip surgical sales reps with the newest iPhone or iPad, but what surgical sales managers do need to do is to give them the tools to do their job effectively and efficiently. If they are working on sub-par technology that’s outdated, or doesn’t run the programs they need to use, it can end up being something that distracts them from selling, and keeps them on the phone with tech support more than with prospective clients.

Two items, seen time and time again contributing to the productivity of sellers that are in the field, are 4G iPads and the use of personal WiFi hot spots. This keeps the surgical sales reps connected to internal systems and the Internet, which can be used for a number of things while out of the office.

Each year it’s good to take a technology inventory to see what new productivity tools and technology is available and what might best help to make surgical sales reps more efficient.


2) No More TPS Reports
The movie “Office Space” had a continuous joke throughout the movie that had to do with the “TPS  Report” that the employee’s managers kept asking the main character for and focusing on. Surgical salespeople are on the front line and if they are bogged down with administrative duties that keep them from selling, productivity will suffer. Hire an administrative assistant to work with several of the surgical salespeople so that the focus can be on selling and not pushing paper… unless it’s surgical sales orders.

3) Get Out of Their Way
This tip is similar to tips 1 and 2 in that it entails the overarching concept of removing any obstacles that might be distracting surgical sales reps from making appointments, seeing prospects, and closing business. It doesn’t matter what the obstacles are, as a surgical sales manager you need to be constantly looking out for obstacles and finding ways to overcome them.


4) Remote Surgical sales Meetings
If you are like some surgical sales managers and like to meet with the surgical sales team each week and give them an update on revenue numbers and hot prospects, it’s a good practice every once in a while to cancel the in-person surgical sales meeting and arrange for a teleconference, or just send a quick note to the team with plenty of advance notice that the surgical sales meeting is cancelled. In some organizations this might be seen as instability, but if it’s clearly communicated that the intent is to create more time to focus on new business or closing prospects it can be seen as a positive step.

5) Training 
Even though training is typically something that keeps sellers away from selling it’s sometimes what they need to increase productivity and to focus on selling. Maybe the training isn’t standard surgical sales training but having an expert discuss how certain technology (like smartphones) can make a surgical salesperson more productive.

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6) Appointment Setters 
Instead of having your top paid surgical salespeople “dialing for dollars” you can find some outbound marketing companies offering “Appointment Setting” as a service.  Appointment setters do just that… they arrange for appointments from a list of qualified prospects during times that the surgical salesperson(s) has available. This keeps the surgical salesperson involved in meetings with prospects and closing more business as they can focus more on the bottom of the surgical sales funnel.

7) Introspection 
Most surgical sales managers have a few good people on their surgical sales team, a few great ones and also a few not so great. As a Surgical sales Manager, understanding what makes the top performers perform, and what inhibits the bottom performers from making their goals, is crucial to the success of the surgical sales organization. Without singling out anyone specifically, pointing out the best practices within a surgical sales team and learning from the surgical sales team’s experience is a great way to increase productivity and build on successes.

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8) Walk in Their Shoes 
Ask surgical sales reps regularly what challenges they are seeing in the marketplace and what objections they are getting. If not enough insight is gained by simply asking the surgical sales team, take some time and shadow or accompany them on a few appointments. This will truly provide insight into what they are experiencing so that it can be determined how best to support them.

9) Start an Inbound Marketing Program 
One of the biggest challenges that surgical sales managers face is keeping their surgical sales teams’ calendars filled with appointments and keeping them in the field following up on leads.  Generating leads through the use of blogging, social media (LinkedIn and Twitter primarily) and email marketing can increase productivity as well as revenues.

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10) Keep Them Motivated 
Every surgical sales rep isn’t motivated by the same things. Unfortunately, not all of them are motivated by closing more surgical sales and making more money. A good surgical sales manager keeps their finger on the pulse of the surgical sales team and knows when to push and when to encourage. Finding what motivates each specific seller can go a long way in making sure the entire surgical sales team is motivated. What works for seller A might not work for seller B and knowing that can make the difference in how motivated they are.

Following these 10 steps for increasing productivity of your surgical sales reps won’t guarantee that surgical sales forecasts will be met or exceeded. However, it will insure that proactive steps towards improving productivity are in place, and should help set up your surgical sales organization for long-term revenue growth.

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10 Ways Surgical Sales Reps Handle Objections Effectively

Knowing how to handle objections from surgeons begins with anticipating their concerns.  Your attitude at the start will directly affect your surgical sales at the end of the day.

Be enthusiastic.  Know how your product or service can add  value to your surgeons by either saving him time and money, by eliminating stress and waste, or by enhancing relationships and leisure hours.  Keep your surgeons happy by learning how to handle objections like these.


  1. I’m not interested.  Create interest by telling a short anecdote of how someone else benefited her home/work/play by using your product.
  2. I don’t  have enough money.  Quickly recount how using this product saves money in the long run by improving the surgeon’s health, saving his time, or increasing his influence.  State dollar examples of savings gained.
  3. I don’t need it.  Be alert to the needs of the surgeon.  Don’t try to push more on the surgeon than she needs.  Does she need more space, more time, better methods, or just the basics?
  4.  It’s too much hassle to set it up (such as a new laser, brain mapping equipment). Offer to set it up for him, according to your company’s regulations.
  5. My old one is good enough.  Make sure your surgeon has product knowledge. Teach her the new features as you promote the latest device or service.  Discount it.
  6. Another company has a better offer.  Don’t say “no” to the surgeons.   Give people what they want.
  7. I can’t decide.  How to handle objections involves eliminating excess information.  Narrow down the decision to two or three options and focus on the bestselling point of each.  Offer your personal preference, if the surgeon asks.
  8. I’ll think about it.  Don’t let the client leave without providing specific facts and figures with which he can compare.  Tell him what day and time you will personally be available to discuss it again.
  9. It’s not exactly what I want. If you are going to make a sale, you must know how to handle objections like this one. If it is not in stock, order the closest approximation to your surgeon’s need.
  10. It’s just not for me. Show proof that having your product gives your surgeons greater advantage, potential, and possibilities than not having it.  Be honest, but do what it takes in devising how to handle objections.  Let your surgeon know that you will make it happen for her.


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ULTIMATE WARFARE: Surgical Device Sales vs Pharma Sales

There are many similarities and differences between pharmaceutical sales and surgical device sales, including questions you should ask yourself if you want to make a transition from pharmaceutical sales to surgical device sales.

Pharma Sales v. Device Sales

The Similarities

There are several similarities between pharmaceutical sales and surgical device sales. In both professions, we are trying to educate doctors and other surgical staff that the features and benefits of the products that we represent are better than that of our competitors. Both types of sales representatives provide lunches, samples, marketing leave behinds and other forms of entertainment.

Surgical devices span several different categories. There are disposables, capital equipment, surgical, non-invasive and diagnostic to name a few. Disposables surgical sales are similar to pharmaceutical sales in that there is a high likelihood of repeat business. For instance, if you represent a manufacturer of surgical latex gloves and the purchasing manager is convinced that you have the best product (whether it is based on product feature or price), then they will most likely re-order from you again. Similarly, a physician will continue to write your drug if he or she believes it has the fewest side effects in the class.

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Just as in pharmaceuticals, where you are concerned with formulary issues, many hospitals participate in buying groups. You need to check with the purchasing department to see if the hospital has pre-negotiated prices with a buying group such as Novation or Premier. In addition, MDR does an annual survey of surgical device manufactures. Only hospitals that have purchased equipment are asked to participate in the survey. The survey covers equipment price, quality of the equipment, and the level of service and support. Many hospitals have access to this information and if you are involved in a competitive bid situation, the MDR rating will be used in the purchasing decision. Government agencies have their own contract and pricing.

If you are not part of a purchasing group, you are “locked-out” of those accounts. Just like when a physician goes off formulary and needs to document a prior authorization, a department director will have to do the same if they decide to purchase equipment that is not part of the buying group. Such justification can reach over 300 pages, and many directors believe it is not worth the fight. As a surgical device representative, it is your job to differentiate your product enough with the decision makers so they will want to write the justification.

These are where similarities between pharma sales and device sales end.

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The Differences

The goal in pharmaceutical sales is to increase the number of prescriptions (“scripts”) written by physicians in your assigned geographical area. In surgical devices sales, the goal is get the purchase order. In pharmaceutical sales, the results of your efforts are rarely instantaneous; weeks may pass before you know if the lunch you provided increased the writing habits for your drug at that particular office. With surgical devices sales, you know at the end of the day if you did a good job, because you either got the purchase order or you didn’t. You don’t have to wait a month to see if your numbers go up.

Traditional salespeople that work in different industries will have more in common with surgical device representatives than their pharmaceutical counterparts. A software sales person will have similar skills that a surgical device representative will need. These selling skills include, but are not limited to prospecting, forecasting, negotiation and servicing.

Whereas pharmaceutical companies may provide their representatives with a targeted list of physicians, surgical device representatives will spend much of their time prospecting for new hospitals, surgical offices and clinics within their territory. With prospecting, there is a lot of cold calling. It is critical to network and ask for referrals in surgical devices sales. The sales cycle is usually longer, and device representatives have to work harder to maintain relationships. Once a purchase is completed, a hospital may go five or ten years before they need to replace the equipment. This is especially true of capital equipment purchases. In pharmaceutical sales you follow a routing schedule and see many of the same physicians again and again. In device sales, you will usually cover a larger territory, but the bigger the territory, the greater the opportunity.

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Forecasting is much more relevant in device sales and you have more power to influence your forecast. One of my best quarters when I was in pharmaceuticals sales was when I went away on vacation. It turned out that I was giving away too many samples, and when I was no longer there to provide free samples, physicians had to write my product and my numbers reflected this. As a surgical device representative, your numbers will suffer unless you actively go out and close deals.

When the surgical device that your represent is involved in a competitive bid situation, the department manager is not only looking at the features and benefits, but the price of each machine. If your equipment is not the least expensive, you will need to negotiate different areas of the contract to win the bid. One way to accomplish this is to monetize the value of the follow-up service and training. Back when I was carrying the bag in pharma sales, I was able to treat a physician to a round of golf or a nice dinner, but no more. With surgical equipment, there seems to be fewer restrictions, though this is certain to change in the near future. You can’t offer a perk for every script that a physician writes; however, as a surgical device representative, you are usually able to offer certain incentives to help close a deal. These incentives might include better payment terms, special financing, extra training or a bundled discount.


As a pharmaceutical sales representative the only follow-up that is absolutely required is to report any adverse events. As a device sales representative, your level of follow-up will depend on how good your company’s technical support team is. Fortunately, I did not a good technical support team – I say “fortunately” because I became the front-line support for hospitals in my territory. This allowed me to develop a closer bond with the hospital staff and it helped me learn my product inside and out.

Should you switch?

Both positions will have their pros and cons. Pharmaceutical sales is more stable and routine. Device sales have longer selling cycles and less stability; I find this exciting and challenging.

Before considering a switch to surgical devices sales, ask yourself a few simple questions:

Do you like cold calling?
Do you enjoy traveling a large territory?
Do you work well with long selling cycles?
Do you enjoy negotiating and closing deals?
Do you want to be in direct control of your success of failure?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, then think about working with a recruiter to enter the surgical device sales arena. There are some entry level device sales positions available, but they will require some work to find. Find time to practice your selling skills. Try getting a part-time job working at Nordstrom or other retail store. This will allow you to become more comfortable cold-calling and closing sales.

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Do Athletes make Better Surgical Device Sales Reps?

Do Athletes make better Surgical Device Sales Reps? I’m saying that we do. Many of the qualities you develop playing competitive sports transfer nicely into Surgical Device Sales.

Every day, spectators watch professional athletes in amazement as they play a game. These athletes consistently perform as they play a game. These athletes consistently perform and we watch them in awe. Professional athletes are well recognized as the finest individuals in their field. They are the best of the best. However, few think about what it takes to reach this level of greatness.

For instance, have you ever watch a sporting event and though about all of the off-season training that each athlete had to endure? Or have you looked at the individual driving by in the large luxury care and wondered about the hard work it took for them to earn it? In both cases it takes the same basic formula; preparation, devotion, hard work and precision execution.

Former collegiate athletes are often considered good candidates for surgical device sales. Obviously, having been involved in competitive athletics alone is not enough to qualify you for a sales role in our industry, but in combination with other relevant experience, it can contribute to the foundation of a solid career.

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Last year I helped hire one such candidate. He competed for the University of Northern Colorado in track and field and was an NCAA All-American in the decathlon. In addition to his athletic achievements, he was a four-time NCAA Academic All American and completed both and undergraduate and master’s degree in kinesiology. Below is an interview I had with him about how his background as a competitive athlete has proven relevant to his success as a surgical device rep.


Thanks for your time this morning. You were hired last year in part because of your persistence and track record of achievement (no pun intended). Of course, the fact that you have a master’s degree in kinesiology didn’t hurt either. By all reports, you’ve be quite successful so far.

What would you say to other competitive athletes like yourself about why they should consider a career in surgical device sales.

College Athlete

I believe surgical sales is a great opportunity for athletes because it provides you with that competitiveness that you have experienced your whole life in athletics. Many athletes get very down and depressed when their athletic careers come to a screeching end but working as a surgical device sales rep I have been able to accomplish the same feelings that I did when I was competing at the elite levels of athletics. It is a very competitive and rewarding opportunity just like athletics.

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How does your experience as a competitive athlete relate to your day-to-day experience as a rep?

College Athlete said…

Funny you should ask because there is a very strong correlation. As an elite athlete I got used to putting in many grueling hours every day to become the best athlete I could. I also had to work extremely hard at numerous techniques to mold myself into an athletic machine. The same thing goes for my job as a surgical sales rep. The more hours you put in, the more business you get and the more hard work and effort you put in to learn the products, techniques, and business aspect the more your business will grow.


Do you find that the surgeons you deal with are interested in your athletic background? Does it come up often?

College Athlete…

Definitely. For the majority, doctors love sports and athletics. I think it runs in their blood! Once they find out you were an athlete they will immediately open up and gain as much info as possible. After my track career I was contacted by a few NFL teams for some tryouts which obviously did not work because I’m talking to you all right now. But when one doc found out about this he stopped in the middle of a case for 5 min talking with me about the many experiences of being an athlete. From there on out I have been very close with this doc.

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Are many of the patients you observe in surgery athletes?

College Athlete…

I would say a fair amount of the patients are athletes. I see a lot of high school and college football and basketball players with torn rotator cuffs or acl’s. It is funny to see the treatment that pro athletes receive though. One of my facilities houses the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche team doctors and when they are working on one of these athletes the entire facility seems to be a little uneasy because the docs are so focused in hopes of doing a good job and the rest of the staff doesn’t want to make any mistakes either.


There is a physical aspect to being a surgical device sales rep that I’m not sure everyone realizes: lugging monitors around, setting up video carts, “running” from one case to the next. How important is it to be in good shape for this job?

College Athlete…

Well this is the perfect time to ask that because I have been doing evaluation with two towers back and forth at two different facilities by myself and it becomes very demanding hauling all that equipment all over the place. The other day I felt like a moving company because I had to make trip after trip to a hospital to set up two of these towers. As some of you probably know the tower carts are not very light so loading those in and out of my truck does take some strength. Like you said you are running around all day so there is a certain level of endurance that does help to keep you focused and keep you pushing forward at the end of the day.

Surgery Eyes


Oh, that’s funny, a moving company. Well, I won’t keep you any longer from your very busy day. Thanks so much for your time. Your comments express so much better than I ever could why surgical device sales can be a rewarding career choice for athletes, reasons that really go above and beyond money. Maybe personal fulfillment would be a good way to describe it.

Have a great day!

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The Surgical Device Sales Job Interview

Best Practices for Surgical Device Sales Interviewing

When you get your opportunity to interview for a surgical device sales position, you really have to make it count. In previous posts, we already covered some key points for the interview but the following are some other notable points to remember when interviewing with your potential surgical device employer.

An interview is your first chance to sell in the surgical device industry. However, instead of selling a surgical device product, you are selling yourself as their surgical device salesperson. Consequently, you have to be confident in what you are saying. A good way to ensure your confidence is to practice your sales pitch. Rehearsal is the only way that you are going to optimize your performance in your interview and it is unquestionably time well spent.

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Look at yourself, your experience, and your capabilities objectively and critically. If you do this exercise properly, you should be able to anticipate their objections before they even open their mouths. No mater how big or small, write each objection down on a piece of paper.

Not that you have a list of probable objections, you need to think about answers to overcome each one of their reservations. No matter if it is lack of experience, a gap in employment or anything else, you need to have your strategy down before walking into the interview. Come up with a sound answer for each objection and practice your response until it feels convincing and natural.

Next, find a way to put yourself in their shoes. Think about what is important to them and what they are looking for in a surgical device sales applicant. Then find a way to be that applicant.

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The fact is that employers have many candidates to choose from these days. With so many choices, they are trying to find ways to eliminate some applicants and bring their options down to a manageable number. Don’t let yourself be eliminated by lack of preparation. Do the up front preparation and then execute your strategy with precision to ensure that you are the last person standing.

Another thing to remember is a differentiation technique. Have you ever been to a seminar or meeting where at the end everything and everyone just blurred together. You may have spent hours there but nothing really stood out and captured a place in your memory. The same thing happens during the interview process; interviewees and answers tend to blend together and candidates start to look the same. You need to find ways to differentiate yourself to make a lasting impression.

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Besides being the most prepared surgical sales candidate, perhaps you will be the most energetic. Or perhaps you will share the most intriguing success story. Or maybe you are the most polished candidate of the group. Or perhaps you left your future employer with the most impressive accomplishment packet or had the most impressive award list.

You have to remember that you are not the only person interviewing so consider how you will make a lasting impression. The better the impression, the better your chances of reaching your goal.

18. cash in medical

Finally, remember the courtesy follow-up after the interview. The hiring managers from these companies took time out of their busy day to interview you and it is important (and expected) to thank them for their time. A nice benefit is at the same time you can also remind them of your accomplishments and why you think you are the perfect fit for the job.

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Athletes are very Attractive to Surgical Device Sales Jobs

The truth is that there are many different types of people in medical sales who enjoy success. There are introverts and extroverts, there are tall people and short people. The only limitation is how hard you are willing to work and how hungry you are.  Certainly I have observed certain companies which have developed profiles to identify sales talent and I’ll tell you what they typically look for.

Two things jump to the front of mind when thinking about successful attributes:

Athletics and B2B Sales

First collegiate or professional athletes are a big appeal to medical companies. Why? Because they know what it takes to be good at something. They know that time in the gym equates to a strong performance and they are typically driven to win.

Second, B2B sales because surgical sales is essentially that. You are selling products to resellers. The surgeons resell the products to their patients, hospitals and insurance companies. This type of sale deals with ROI (Return on Investment) and other Value Proposition Sales. Selling direct to consumer is not close to surgical sales and thus some people take a while to get the hang of it, and others never quite cut it.

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Appearance Matters…For Surgical Device Sales Jobs

Appearance matters when you are looking to get into Surgical Device Sales. You will be the face of your company and most surgical device companies prefer a conservative look.

As you know, sales preparation is crucial in your career search. If you truly want to enter the surgical device sales field, you have to make several investments. One of these investments is in you. It is well known that your appearance is a key element in this journey.

While all of these lessons are important, looking the part is a very crucial element in landing a job in the surgical device industry. You have to realize that surgical device companies tend to put a strong emphasis on appearance. Surgical device companies hire sales people that they think are going to represent their product well. In many ways, sales people are the outward symbol of the company. Like it or not, how you look can make or break your chances.

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Did you know that over 75% of your first impression will come from your appearance? It’s true that vanity is important but the good news is that how you look and present yourself are more in your control than you probably think.

Spend a little time in the surgical device world and you will find that most of the people are well put together. They are usually fit, very well groomed, well dressed and have a very successful look about them. Some will read this post and think of themselves as attractive, but as I stated earlier, a good deal of your appearance is in your control.

You have to realize that very few people on this earth roll out of bed looking like a million bucks. It takes some work, it takes some knowledge and it takes some common sense. You can drastically influence your appearance if you just make time to invest in yourself and think about the impression you make on the outside world.

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Since everyone is different, there is not an exact recipe that can be replicated time and time again. However, there are some universal tips that I can share with you that will help you get where you are going.

I can’t emphasize enough how important the look is for these companies. You need to make a solid investment here if you are serious about entering into the industry. While you may not agree with this theory of judging a person by appearance, your appearance absolutely matters as you are ultimately the external representation of the company and the one that the customer will associate with the company. Rest assured that you don’t have to be a Ralph Lauren model, but you need to have a nice, professional, and well put together look.

1. Confident Woman Surgeon

8 Tips for a great appearance:

  1. Work out and eat right; It is rare to see notably overweight people in surgical device sales. Generally speaking, the surgical device sales people have an athletic appearance and are the proper weight for their height and frame. The best way to do this is through proper nutrition, regular aerobic activity, and mild weight resistance training.
  2. Grooming: Proper grooming is necessary for many corporate positions but this is especially important in surgical device sales.  Women are usually in tune with grooming more than men so I am mainly speaking to the men on this point. You want to have a clean and professional appearance. Generally speaking, facial hair needs to be replaced with a clean shave, long hair needs to be cut and well groomed, your nails need to be trimmed, moisturized your face and pluck your eyebrows. A clean-cut appearance is what you are after.
  3. Jewelry: You are not in the business of selling jewelry so you should use it extremely sparingly. Men should never wear earrings or have any other visible piercings. You will want to be extremely conservative and keep the jewelry to an absolute minimum (wedding ring and watch). Women also need to be conservative in the amount and type of jewelry you wear. Be careful not to over accessorize.
  4. Any tattoos that you may have should be fully covered at all times. Again, a clean conservative look is what surgical device companies are after.
  5. Make-up: Ladies, don’t go overboard with a lot of make-up. You wan to look your best but you also want to look natural. A good habit is to choose lighter shads of lipstick, nail polish and eyeliner that accentuate your appearance.
  6. Perfume/Cologne: So many people go overboard with perfume/cologne and have no idea that they are doing it. If you ever went shopping for a cologne or perfume, you probably picked up quite a few bottles and put them right back down because you didn’t like the smell. Well guess what; due to personal preferences, there is a very good chance that the person sitting across the table form you might not like the scent that you prefer. Scent preference are so specific that you are taking a gamble on the one that you wear. In the professional world it is best to keep the top on the perfume bottle or if you must put it on, apply very lightly.
  7. Dress for the Part: Surgical device companies assume that they way you look for an interview is the way you will look in front of their customers so appearance counts. The standard attire for surgical device sales people are suits, ties (for men) and professional skirts or suits for women. For men, your suit needs to appear of decent quality, your shirt needs to be perfectly pressed (and clean), your tie needs to be conservative and your shoes need to be in good shape and shined. For women, be conservative in your appearance. A dark colored shirt or suit pants and a pressed dress shirt with moderate dress shoes is generally acceptable. Again, error on the side of being conservative.
  8. Projecting Confidence: Looking the part means that you dress like a winner but you carry yourself like one too. This means standing up straight, holding your head up and projecting a sense that you are a winner that deserves the job. Walk, talk, and look confident.

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You want your future employer to think that you are the perfect person to represent their surgical product and they would be foolish if they didn’t hire you. After all, they wouldn’t want to lose such a great person to another company.

The key point is that you don’t have to be the best looking person in the world but you need to do all the things to make the best impression possible. All of this is well within your control but it does mean an investment on your part.

It isn’t always going to be easy to go to the gym or pass on the dessert or wear clothes that aren’t always the most comfortable. However, these things are a part of your package and this package is being closely inspected when you venture into the interview process for a new surgical device sales job.

Surgical Sales Rep Smiling

You may be tasked with selling millions of dollars worth of surgical systems and so you need to look like you are worthy and capable of carrying such a responsibility. After all, there is a lot on the line for these companies and you need to inspire confidence in them so that they are comfortable with you.

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Where are All the Surgical Device Sales Jobs?

Where are all the Surgical Device Sales Jobs?

When I was embarking on the same journey that you may be pursuing, I had no idea where I should turn to find surgical device sales opportunities. I had no idea where I should turn to find job opportunities. I found that most of these jobs aren’t posted in the paper or even major job boards. However, the jobs are out there if you know where to look.

Besides using your network, the next place to search is the most obvious. If you have a particular company that you would like to pursue, go directly to their website. All of the job openings should be posted and you can apply on the website.

10. job search

However, many candidates don’t necessarily have a particular company in mind but instead just want a job in the surgical device industry with a company that is willing to take a chance on them. What insiders know is that many companies that you have never heard of before are looking to hire people all across the world. These companies aren’t necessarily household names but they need people and make hiring decisions daily. Thus, you need to know where to look to connect with them.

So where do surgical device sales people turn when they are looking for a job? There are two good places to source these jobs. The first surgical specific employment websites and the second are surgical specific headhunters.

You may have already looked to the internet for a job. Besides the obvious websites, there are several lesser know websites that are gold mines for surgical device sales job postings. One of the best websites for surgical device jobs is  If you haven’t searched this website, I suggest you sign up for their service to search for surgical device jobs that you would probably never hear of from any other source. There are many companies out there that you may have or may not have familiarity with that are looking for surgical device sales reps. The jobs cross many different medical specialties and usually post compensation and experience levels.

6. job computer

Another key source for these types of jobs are the surgical device headhunters or executive recruiters. Many surgical device companies turn to independent recruiter to find candidates for them. These individuals are essentially sub contractors hired by a company that attempts to identify the right person for an open position. Ultimately, it is their job to connect the hiring company with a good candidate (or group of good candidates). If they are successful in doing so, they financially benefit from you being hired (via the hiring company).

If you can locate and convince the surgical device headhunter that you are worthy of placement, you have yet another avenue to pursue the industry. Another great reason to use these individuals is that they sometimes know of opportunities before they are posted anywhere else. They are truly a great resource for those that know how to use them.

7. job fishing

Finding a surgical executive recruiter can be accomplished through a quick Internet search. Once you identify a person or company, you want to sell your case and try to get them to recommend you for the opportunities that they may have opportunities that they may encounter down the road.


Have you ever submitted your application and never heard another word from the company that you applied to? The reality is that most applications disappear into what is commonly referred to as the “Black Hole”. What you need to do to circumvent this phenomenon is find a more effective approach to get your resume into the hands of the decision makers at the hiring companies.

If previous posts we discussed that value of surgical recruiters or “Headhunters”. As you recall, these are people that are specifically hired on the behalf of companies to find talented employment candidates. Finding a surgical device recruiter is the easy part. What you need to do next is know how to properly work with them for optimum results.

8. dream job

Recruiters act as your agent and yet another person helping you to obtain the position you desire. If should go without saying that you need to sell yourself to the recruiter so that they feel that you are worthy of their time. Once you have engaged a recruiter, there are a few things that you should do and a few things to avoid to help you achieve your desired result.

First, never tell a surgical recruiter that you don’t want to talk with them but instead you only want to talk directly with the company that is hiring. This is a good way to have yourself immediately excluded from consideration. These people are key gateways into some of these companies so you need to treat them as you would a direct employer. Remember, they are just as anxious to work with a well positioned candidate as you are to work with them. When you win, they win as your employment is their payday.

Second, never tell a recruiter that you don’t really care what type of surgical device job you get and that you will take anything. This perceived sense of desperation shows that you may be insincere about a surgical device job. It also demonstrates a lack of passion and poor judgment.

3. job pic

You need to be a little more specific in your desires. However, it is till acceptable and even advantageous to be a little vague. For instance, say that you want to work for a company in the surgical device industry that has a good product and cares about its reputation. Or you want to work for a company that values people and wants to grow. Pretty much every company fits that above criteria and your working is a much better reflection upon you.

Finally, never tell a recruiter that you don’t have any experience. Just like with an employer, you need to tailor whatever experience you have into transferable, enticing and applicable experience. If you feel that whatever experience you have is inadequate, gain some sales experience as discussed previously, prior to speaking with the recruiters.

Recruiters can be one of the keys to your success but you must ensure that your interactions with them are positive. You need to be certain that you convince them that you are worth their time and investment so they work their best to help you.

Land a Job in Surgical Device Sales – Book

Land a Surgical Device Sales Package




How to Gain Experience for a Surgical Device Sales Job

Surgical Device Sales Experience Counts when it comes to advancing your career.

I know what you are thinking, how are you going to get experience in the surgical device industry if you aren’t give that first chance? The answer is simple, read surgical and medical sales books, follow surgical sales companies on Twitter, read surgical and medical sales blogs. You can also volunteer at hospitals, attend surgical device company’s conventions.

My phone is constantly ringing with surgical device companies that want to recruit me away form my current employer. Companies and recruiters love experience and prefer to turn to people that can hit the ground running. This concept shouldn’t be foreign to you as you probably do the same thing. For instance, when you hire someone to fix your house, do you hire a ten year old who has never touched a tool or a professional contractor? Or when you need to see the doctor, do you go to your friend who has no real knowledge or do you go to an MD? Even though we may not like to admit it, experience really does count. Consequently, the key is for you to find a way to get some sort of applicable experience on your resume.

16. women in surgery

Surgical device sales is similar to many other sales jobs but with another category of a product and typically a more complex selling environment. A really nice thing about the field of sales is that many sales skills are directly transferable to other jobs. And since sales jobs are plentiful, there are many opportunities for you to acquire some sales experience.

Many of my colleagues started out in professional careers far different from where they are today. So what you need to do in your journey is find a sales job of any sort so that you have at least some sales experience on your resume. Businesses to business jobs are best to start with. Some of the best surgical sales reps I’ve worked with come from copiers sales and payroll companies. While it is preferable to have surgical sales, this may not be possible when starting out. Just get solid sales experience selling insurance, paper, cars, copiers, etc. and do your very best to excel.

2. surgery with background

Once you have sales experience, you can find ways to parlay it into other sales jobs and start working towards the one you really want. I have seen this formula work many times over.

For example, just recently I coached a friend of mine and helped him move from selling copiers to insurance sales to surgical sales. He simply followed this advice and used his contacts and sales experience to land a job with a surgical device company. At the time he was hired by the surgical device company, he had absolutely no surgical device sales experience but did have a couple of sales experience but did have a couple positions on his resume to draw form which was enough to get his foot in the door.

The formula works but it takes an investment and persistence. After all, if getting these jobs were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Land a Job in Surgical Device Sales – Book

Land a Surgical Device Sales Package


Best Practices for Building Surgical Device Sales Industry Knowledge

Building Surgical Device Sales Industry Knowledge is vital in advancing your surgical device sales career.

Surgical device sales representatives are heavily paid partly because the people in the industry have developed a sound understanding of the complex procedures and treatments. If you have every worked in the surgical industry you probably have found that many of the terms used make it seem like a different language altogether. Consequently, you need to do a little homework before you enter into the interviews so that you look prepared and can speak intelligently.

3. surgery

This is not to say you have the understanding of a surgeon but you need to know the basics and a little beyond.  For instance, if you are interviewing for a dental sales position, research the company and product you will be representing. Understand why this product is used, frequent challenges, the market, competition, etc.  If you do this you will substantially increase your chances of having a successful interview and outcome. This is especially true since so many people go to interviews and just hope for the best. Preparing yourself will help you shape your destiny as opposed to just hoping it will occur.

While this preparation takes a little more work on your part, think of how much time and energy you invested to just get the interview. You have made it this far, you have to go the extra mile to do everything in your power to advance yourself down the hiring process.

20. cartoon surgery

Here is some additional motivation; If you get to the point where a company is taking the time to either sit down with you or have a conference call with you, then you are well within reach of getting the job. Companies don’t have the time or resources to arbitrarily interview candidates. They sift through the resumes and applicants and interview a select few. You cannot let several hours of preparation come in between you and your dream.

Here is a real life example. The last interview I conducted on behalf of my surgical device employer was with three candidates. All three were experienced in some form of sales, all three working in the industry in some capacity and all three seemed similar on paper. So our company decided to find ways to differentiate the three by asking them basic questions about the industry. Only one of the three candidates had taken any time at all to prepare for these types of questions. The other two looked confused, intimidated and unprepared. Which one do you thing we ultimately selected?

1. Surgery scene

In a competitive field like surgical device sales, knowing about the business industry is something that is expected by employers. However, it is surprising how many people skip this step.

By doing some industry research and preparation, you demonstrate motivation, a passion for the position and the surgical product, and even a courtesy to the people with whom you are meeting. After all, these companies have taken the time to learn about you, it is only fair that you tool the time to learn a little about them.

Land a Job in Surgical Device Sales – Book

Land a Surgical Device Sales Package