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Top tips for building and maintaining a professional network as a medical sales representative

In the world of medical sales, the power of building a solid network cannot be understated. A study found that sales reps who surpassed their quotas by more than 25 per cent found that trust between buyers and sellers was the single most important aspect in closing a sale. Although the idea of selling yourself at events can be daunting, networking is crucial to career progression as a medical sales representative.

Despite some of its potential undesirable connotations, networking is all about forming long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. It involves building a web of connections who you can help, and who can potentially assist you in return. In the healthcare industry, networking is everything to successful sales reps, and here, we’ve listed the top tips for building and maintaining a professional network.

Identify the right network targets

It goes without saying, but identifying appropriate clientele is the key to building a successful and efficient network in pharmaceutical sales. Although it may seem contradictory, it’s beneficial to adopt a quality over quantity approach. A broad network of connections that are not relevant to your field will yield little reward, therefore it’s vital that you focus on attaining higher quality connections.

Conduct detailed research and invest time in finding people you’re certain will be interested in your medical products. Prioritise finding people who are directly related to the goals that you are trying to achieve and reach out to them with a concise message about why a collaboration would benefit both parties.

Attend medical networking events

Attending events is a brilliant way to find contacts, however, networking events you attend should be appropriate to your professional role. Research the chosen event in advance and ask your colleagues for some feedback if they have been to the event before.

Try to find out who is going to be attending the event, as this can provide an indication as to whether it is relevant to you. If the attendees have similar job roles or interests to you, then it’s likely that the event will have some great network candidates.

Get used to introducing yourself

Over the past 18 months, most of the networking events have been virtual and many will remain that way, adding a new dynamic to relationship building. However, whether you’re meeting a connection face-to-face or via virtual means, one of the key aspects of building a productive network is introducing yourself and making a good first impression.

The more you introduce yourself, the more confidence you should gain in approaching people, starting conversations, and building relationships. Before you attend an event, try setting yourself a goal of introducing yourself to five new people.

To introduce yourself effectively, prepare a short series of points about who you are, your medical field, key details about what you do and a few important skills. Once you perfect your introductions, you’ll find it easier to add quality connections to your network and advance your medical sales career.

Give something back

One-sided networking is never a good tactic, and not many people will appreciate being used solely for someone else’s benefit. Even though you’re trying to connect with people to get help or boost your chances of a sale, it’s important for you to be prepared to give back too. This will make for stronger and more productive professional relationships, while your good reputation will allow for smoother connections in the future.

Remember to reconnect

Building rapport is one of the top skills of a medical sales rep and professional relationships can strengthen over time if you take the right measures; so make sure you stay in touch with your network. Maintaining relationships is a critical component of networking, so it’s a good idea to make time to stay in touch with your close contacts.

For example, put a reminder on your calendar every few weeks to catch up with your top networks and find out what they are currently working on. Connect on social networks to congratulate contacts on achievements, life milestones and to wish them a happy birthday. Making a habit of communicating in a genuine way will be beneficial for your relationships in the future.

Start a medical sales career with IQVIA

At IQVIA, we want to improve the healthcare industry by finding the best candidates for jobs. In all of our available roles, you will play a crucial role in the development of healthcare.

If a medical sales job is right for you, we’ll give you everything you need to find your perfect role. Browse our latest medical sales rep jobs and help us on our mission to develop the healthcare sector.

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