Physician Relations: What THEY Need to Do… and ME Too?
By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA
[quote style=”boxed”]“If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?” The Book of Questions, Gregory Stock, PhD.[/quote]
One of the things I love most about my job is the chance to work with so many excellent field staff and leaders on their journey to enhance the physician relations role. Of recent, I have been taking stock of the response to a question I often ask when we start a training session. “Where do you want us to spend time in helping you improve your skill set?” Very often, the participants pass over the need to call out personal liabilities or needs. Instead, the replies offer suggestions they have for everyone else in the organization or their sphere of influence.
Is it because they are fed up with others? Or is it a human nature thing that we feel more equipped to recognize the ineffectiveness of others rather than consider our own personal development needs? I include myself in the collective “we.” I suspect you already sense that this blog is more about questions than answers.
Why is it easier to be preoccupied in the issues of others than to consider those personal skill areas that I could or should improve? No answers here; just thoughts and questions that move the thinking along.
What’s the Reason?
- Is it that we feel like until everyone else improves, my effort to change will not have any real impact anyway?
- Perhaps, it is a shortage of time. I might have areas I could improve, but I simply don’t have time.
- Maybe it is because as sales people, the very attribute that makes us call on physicians is a bit of ego that prevents us from calling the elements of needed improvement to anyone’s attention.
- Sometimes I feel like field staffs work independently so the meter of how it should be done is centered on how we are doing it rather than how others might implement the role.
Perhaps you have other ideas. The reality is that while we help along change in others, we also need to make sure that we are measuring up to an imaginary super field rep person.
I have led lots of sales training sessions for advanced and new field teams. Even with all that exposure to technique, each time I train I am reminded of areas where I personally slip away from best practices. Don’t get me wrong, over time the process does relax a bit and the amount of time to prep, script and create sales plans is less detailed and less intense. However, that rigor of working on better questions, really doing a pre-call plan, or being more creative in how to advance the sales process can reach new heights. Who is accountable for each of us staying on top of our game?
Field sales staff do not benefit from the same level of observation and coaching that is hardwired in most sales roles. That should mean that we desire more support, right? And we need to ensure more time is personally allocated to staying fresh and current.
- What skills are your best?
- Are there patterns or barriers that you find a challenge in field work?
- How do you push yourself to try new approaches for your practices? Or, do you need to?
- What’s your personal plan for improving your skill set?”
As leaders look to their field staff to deliver more messages and engage in more complicated discussions, what do we need to do to ensure we are the team that will get the thumbs up?
[box]Do you agree with Kriss? Share your thoughts and insights on what is working to stay at the top of your game in the comments.[/box]