Never underestimate the importance of your vendor salespeople. They are part of your team and can be one of your most important assets.
Why Work With Vendor Salespeople?
The key to good relations is to begin thinking of salespeople as part of your team Salespeople can keep you apprized of new technologies and product improvements. They can assist with telephone troubleshooting, user training, expedited repair part delivery and a myriad of services to support your efforts. They can introduce you to key people at their home office who can make things happen for you. Sometimes you might only be as good as the support they give you. Your efforts to keep them involved and make them feel part of your program can pay big dividends.
Treat Salespeople Courteously – Even When You Don’t Like Them
Some departments view salespeople as the enemy. Do not fall into this trap! Successful salespeople are skilled at maintaining contact with the same people you want to influence; clinical department heads, medical staff, medical chiefs and administrators. They are in a strong position to influence how others perceive you.
Salespeople Will Make Things Happen – With or Without Your Help
They know how to make inroads into your hospital and they will manage to get to the key decision makers whether or not you help them. They know that surgeons decide which surgical robot to buy. They know that the Chief of Radiology will decide which MRI to buy. They may have lunch, dinner and even play golf together. If they see you as an impediment to their efforts, they will do anything to avoid you when they are introducing new equipment to your hospital.
If a hospital department wants an equipment demonstration, it will happen regardless of your feelings. You can either fight it, or find ways to expedite the process. If you choose to fight it, the department head and the salesperson will view you as someone that they should avoid in the future.
A Better Way to Fight This Battle
Instead of adopting rules that may impede vendors, develop a list of services that you can offer them. Let department heads know that you are anxious to facilitate the demonstration process. Some of the services you might provide include the following:
When salespeople realize that you are making an effort to be an asset and not an impediment, they will not only work with you, but will see you as a key person in the process and instead of avoiding you, they will take time call on you whenever they come to your hospital.
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