Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gaining the trust of scientists - Your Job Description is an Entry Point

Do you like your job Mr. Antibody Sales Guy that just rolled by my bench with your 2 for 1 fliers and doughnuts?  Did you know that just sharing that job information might be enough to get you a sale?

A constant theme of this blog is that you the salesperson needs to lend a helping hand to your customers the scientists.  By doing so, you will become a trusted advisor and are much more likely to get sales. 

Laboratory scientists are struggling with larger questions than why their PCR reaction isn't working such as "what am I doing this for?", "is research worth it?", and importantly "what am I going to do when I leave the hallowed halls of academia?" 

For the person in life science sales this is an entry point to gain the trust of a scientist.  On several occasions I have asked sales people passing through the lab how they got their jobs.  I'm especially interested in those that were former bench scientists.  On occasion I hear great stories from individuals that clearly love their job in sales.  Most of the time though my question put them on the defensive and, they begin to back peddle and try to find the lab manager.  (I believe this stems from the massive peer pressure that PIs put on their underlings to follow in their footsteps, which causes those that do leave academia to feel of less worth.)

What they didn't realize was that I was crying out for help!  I am leaving academia.  I don't know what I want to do.  I want to know if selling antibodies to scientists is a good job. 

Now you're asking, "Rusty, how in the world does describing my job to a scientist get me more sales?"

My answer is become the trusted advisor.  That is your opportunity to get to know your potential client in an extremely intimate way.  If you can do that, they will lead you to the decision makers, they will suggest your company's products to their peers when a need arises, and they will say good things about your brand to other scientists.  All those things equal more sales.

Here's today's challenge - Come up with a 30 second elevator pitch to get a scientist talking to you about your job.  Practice it in the mirror, run it by some scientists in your company, and then try it out on some random scientists.  I bet it works like a charm.

Im going back to my Western blot for the third time this week. Wish I had some quality antibodies!

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