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The value of listening: life as a Medical Sales Rep

Posted on: 31 May
Though the traditional image of a Salesperson is of a person who likes to talk, there is a lot of value to be gained by sitting down and lending your ear to a prospective client, or fellow co-worker. For Medical Sales- a highly-charged profession, where the products that you’re selling have a real effect on other people- this is doubly important.

In a market which is growing apace, with Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies alike vying for a market share and competing to supply those products to markets all over the world, Medical Sales Representatives need to up their game if they want to make those all-important sales. And though active listening might not be the most obvious skill to develop, it can pay massive dividends in making a client feel valued, understand and appreciated, thereby increasing customer loyalty in turn.

Indeed, given that more than 60% of all problems existing within businesses result from faulty communication, it’s vital that you do so. Whether you’re hoping to increase your Sales or simply improve your skillset, here are some tips for supercharging your listening skills.

Encourage silence


It’s very easy to do, but many Salespeople don’t wait for their clients to finish talking before jumping into a response. If you’re only leaving a split-second’s silence before replying, then you’re giving the impression that what the other person is saying isn’t very important; by contrast, allowing a few seconds’ silence to elapse before opening your mouth gives the other person the impression that you’ve considered what they’ve said, and are taking their views into account in your answer. Including a few seconds of quiet also motivates your client to share additional- and potentially valuable- information, which they might have felt too heckled to say otherwise.  

Lose your fear of silence. It’s a valuable tool.

Don’t interrupt 

It’s the golden rule: don’t interrupt a client when they’re speaking. Listen to them instead with an open mind, rather than waiting for the first opportunity to jump in. After all, 69% of buyers say that the best way to create a positive sales experience is by listening to the client’s needs. Giving the other person the space to breathe and talk means that they might even share information with you that will help you tailor your response and the product you’re selling to their needs; jumping in means you may miss out. Furthermore, jumping in will often damage your reputation with a potential customer; nobody wants to do business with a person they see as rude.

Ask questions

83% of business buyers say that it’s critical that they interact with a salesperson who is focussed on helping them achieve their company’s needs, and who isn’t just there to make a sale. 

The only way in which you can give them that level of service- beyond researching your client beforehand- is by asking questions. Don’t assume anything: most Sales representatives know that it’s vital you ask as many questions as possible, in order to narrow down just what is bothering the client, and find out how best to fix it. From using ‘tell me’ questions, which encourage the client to respond, to asking follow-up questions based on the information that they’ve already given you, you’ll be better able to understand what they want, and help them get to where they want to be. In the world of Medical Sales, where a potentially insignificant detail could have serious repercussions when overlooked, this is even more important. 

Personalise your response

How do you personalise a sales meeting? By making the effort to remember previous conversations that you’ve had with them. From anecdotes about previous meetings, to remembering little details they’ve divulged, like whether or not they have children, this can go a long way to showing that you’ve considered previous meetings important enough to remember, and makes a business relationship much more personal and friendly as a result.  

Put it in your own words

People like to know that they’re being listened to, and understood. It’s a huge part of relationship-building to know that somebody else is investing time in hearing what you have to say, and it’s vital if you want to forge close business ties as a Salesperson. In order to demonstrate this, try clarifying and paraphrasing what your client says at the end of a conversation, or a particular phase of the conversation. By putting what they’re saying into your own words, you’ll be ensuring that vital information doesn’t get lost in translation, and also demonstrating that you’re actively listening to what is being said.

Forge strong relationships with IQVIA.

At IQVIA, we pride ourselves on our excellent service, enabling Medical Sales Representatives to thrive in their careers, whether they work in medicine or Devices. Browse our articles for more insights into life in the Pharmaceutical industry, or find your dream job in our list of vacancies.