Drug and Medical Device Reps Help Leverage Your Practice


November 22, 2022

Drug and Device reps often drop into medical officesusually uninvited. And they seem to always to be there at the most inopportune times. Most annoying is when they camp out in the back waiting for you. It's no wonder that many physicians have disdain for Drug and Device reps.

If this is your attitude, you're missing out on a great (free) opportunity to grow your practice.

In this episode, I chat with Omar Khateeb who helps med tech companies grow sales and drive product adoption using social media.  Omar is an interesting guy. His dad is a vascular surgeon and Omar went to med school before becoming a device rep. Omar ultimately transitioned to marketing and teaching reps how to interact with physicians.

Drug and device reps can help you grow your practice in multiple ways. They can:

  • help you assess your draw area
  • give you insight into your competition and  community in general
  • help market you
  • do research for youabout reimbursement, new procedures, demographics
  • help you recruit new physicians
  • help you determine where to open a satellite clinic
  • help you with social media posts
  • help you with social media content including testimonials, videos of procedures

Key point: Make the rep part of your team rather than view them as a nuisance. 

Here's some suggestions for how to make the rep part of your team:

  • Set parameters for when you are available to meet with them
  • Be explicit in what your needs and wants are
  • Understand they may not have dollars to spend but they have time
  • Empower them to help you
  • Be nice. Get to know them.
  • Give them something back. Sure they want you to use their product more. But aside from thata LinkedIn pat on the back, a written or verbal compliment to their manager, inviting them for a cup of coffee. All of these things are either free or low cost to you and high value to them.

I know that all of this may seem counter-intuitive and burdensome. That's exactly why you need to listen to this episode. I don't want you to miss out on this opportunity to grow your practice!

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00:00:00 Hi, it's Dr. Weitz. Thanks so much for joining me for this episode of the Private Medical Practice Academy. Today, I'm so lucky to have Omar with me. We're gonna have a wonderful discussion about how you can actually integrate a Med tech rep into your practice and help leverage it to grow your practice. So Omar helps med tech companies grow sales and drive product adoption using social media.

00:00:28 But actually one of the things that I love about Omar is his extensive experience actually being a med tech rep. So, Omar, so glad to have you here today. Let me have you tell my listeners a little bit about yourself. Absolutely. Dr. Weiss, it's such a pleasure to be back on and, you know, I feel like we were long overdue for this reunion.

00:00:49 We've had a lot of great podcast episodes in the past and other shows, and so it's an honor to be on your show. I know that you don't just have anybody on for the, for the hell of it. So I'm, I'm very honored to be here and help out your listeners. But yeah, a quick, quick background on me on,

00:01:03 in terms of what I do. So you are absolutely correct. So what I do today is I work with med tech companies to essentially grow sales and drive product adopts and using social media. And the reason why that is because I feel that, aside from the fact that this is what scales, it's what's persuasive, but more importantly, it's what's best for the provider.

00:01:24 Right? My background, I, I grew up with a, a physician in my household. My father was a surgeon, had a private practice. So I was very much attuned to seeing reps come in and everything myself. I, I went to medical school down in Texas for a few years before deciding to leave and pursue a career in medical technology.

00:01:43 And for the last 10 years I spent it starting off, as they say, carrying the bags. I was a sales rep at a robotics company for a couple years. Then I moved over into marketing and I did real marketing. Most marketing and med device companies is actually just product management. They don't think about product adoption too much. I mean, they do,

00:02:01 but not, not the way that I do. And so I think about marketing as sales at scale. So I did that for the last 10 years. And then just recently I started my own company called Cati Co. And there are two entities that I have as a part of it. One is the state of MedTech, which we have to have you on as a guest.

00:02:19 That's my media company. We have CES that are unlocked VR partners at C mfi. So we do live webinars, we do podcasts on a lot of things in business and medicine. And the other side is my program called Medical Sales Network Effects Program, which essentially trains CEOs, sales reps, VPs on how do you sell digitally. So that in a,

00:02:40 in a nutshell is, is, is is what I do Well. But Omar, I really want to have a conversation today more about the reps who come to our offices. I mean, I, I think, yeah, most physicians would love it if there were only interaction was via social media with pharmaceutical reps and, and device reps. But in reality,

00:03:07 the thing that I think most stocks are missing is that those reps can actually help you grow your practice. And so, you know, I know from personal experience, I know from talking to lots of docs that people think, oh my God, they come in the middle of the clinic, they demand to be there, they just walk to the back.

00:03:28 They never ask my staff can they come in? They don't really show me anything that's new or different that, that is helpful. They hand me a paper from their company that's basically propaganda and they're wasting my time. Yeah. And so, you know, I think that's where a lot of docs come from. But I can tell you from personal experience,

00:03:48 they can be very useful in growing your practice, either in terms of helping provide great customer service or if in the case of a pharmaceutical rep helping you figure out how to get free drugs for their patients, for your patients, et cetera. So what I thought we, you and I could talk about today is really how to empower the physician who's listening to this podcast to get the most out of that rep because they want you to use their product because obviously that's how they make money,

00:04:24 but you need to get something out of them from that relationship. And so how, how do we help the doc talk to that rep? So that's a great question. So I'm gonna start with, with your, your average physician who may not be, let's say, very active on social media and then give some tips as to what they can do,

00:04:46 right? To really leverage the rep. So let's, let's start with the, the first thing. What the hell is the rep trying to accomplish by showing up to the office? Which by the way, most reps don't understand. Like, if I got interrupted once or twice a day by someone physically showing up to my door to sell me something, I,

00:05:04 I, I might murder somebody By the end of the week, physicians on average get anywhere from 14 to 16 people showing up at the office, accounting, legal services, et cetera, right? And so it's a real pain. So the first thing, and again, I have to compliment you because you teach people the business medicine and you, you mention this actually on a show that we were on together a while back,

00:05:24 which is find ways to schedule a specific time of the week that reps are able to show up. It's like, hey, this is the, this is the time. Like, we are welcoming you. You don't have to guess. This is the time. Don't come outside of these times. So that's, that's, that's step number one. Now let's talk about the reps who actually come to the office and who are,

00:05:42 let's say, doing business with you. How do you leverage them? The first thing that I would say is let them know what you are interested in, right? And that's why I encourage physicians to use things such as social media, specifically LinkedIn. The reason why I say LinkedIn is LinkedIn is a lot more academic than the other other platforms. It's a lot more positive and authoritative,

00:06:05 right? It's not full of garbage. Every time I get on LinkedIn, no matter what I read, it's value adding. Like my career gets better. You know? And so as a physician, if you go on LinkedIn and let's say post even some articles or engage with content that you're interested in, at least the people in my program, what they're being taught is go and find out what the physician's interested in and learn about that and go and help them with that for free.

00:06:30 For example, could be marketing, could be revenue cycle management could be something, right? So the first thing I would say is the reps who are coming to you, let's say, let's say you're, you're an orthopedic surgeon and you, you're using some new, new technology and those reps are coming tell the reps, Hey, you know, we're we,

00:06:52 we wanna get better about patient marketing and we wanna do patient events, but we've just never done 'em well in the past, can you please do some research and figure out where the hospital catchment areas are? Where's a good location for us to do this? At what time? Et cetera. Like give them assignments, right? Because these reps, right?

00:07:14 I'm gonna just tell you right now, and I'm gonna get, I'm notorious for saying things that piss off MedTech companies because I have a believe it not my customers are MedTech companies, but the people who I really like serving the most are physicians. You know, these companies don't think, Hey, let's spend money to take our reps and make them world class customer service.

00:07:36 They don't, they don't spend a lot of time thinking about that, right? So you as a doctor have to think, how do I leverage these people, give them an assignment and have them go research and figure stuff out and then report back to you, right? That's, that's the first thing I would say. And let me, let me stop there cuz I,

00:07:51 I can, I can kind of ramble off on these topics, so please interrupt me. I'm, I'm smiling because I think that most of the reps that I have interacted with don't have that knowledge base themselves. Yeah, you're right. And the thing that always, the thing that always amazes me is they actually can get reports from their companies how it,

00:08:15 because what I think most stocks don't think about is those companies are tracking everything. You know, let, let's talk about drug companies. They know exactly how many scripts you write of a certain class of drug, of not only their drug, but of other drugs. They know the prescribing history of everybody in the community, right? They know, they know which stocks are busy.

00:08:40 They know who of your competitors are busy, okay? And, but those reports tend to be proprietary. And the average rep who comes to your door may or may not have access to that and or be willing to share it unless you specifically ask them for it. Abs that's the, that's so true. And, and what I would say is pharma and med device,

00:09:06 the difference I like to tell people is that pharma is like med device on steroids because they just have, they have more money than God. Like they just have a lot of money. And with med device companies, I mean, you're right, these companies have access to these certain reports. There's certain databases like H one or Definitive Healthcare. So let's say you're a surgeon,

00:09:25 tell your rep, Hey, I don't care how you find out, go talk to your company. Go see what databases you have. Probably marketing, marketing has access to these databases. I want you to find out which primary care physician in my area sees the most of this kind of patient or does this kind of procedure. Like I want a list to know who's doing what,

00:09:44 who do I have to go and develop a relationship with? And then you're gonna help me figure out what that physician's into so that they can, you know, have a good reason to refer me more business. If you don't tell the reps directly to do this, they're not gonna do it. Well. So I, I have a follow up to that because,

00:10:01 you know, I'll give you my own example with implanting spinal cord stimulators. You, you say to the rep, okay, can you tell me how many patients are out there who have diabetes? Because one of the indications is a diabetic neuropathy, I'd like to go out and target the endocrinologist and you know, depending on which company you use, and I'll be blunt,

00:10:28 I ended up using only Boston Scientific because the level of customer service, both to me, the client, but also the patient, the client, and, and understand that the, that, especially with things like implanted devices, you really have two customers, right? You have the, the physician and then you have the patient. But be that as it may,

00:10:50 you know, they were able to actually get that information, tell us which endocrinologist had the busiest practice in town so we could then go target them. My follow up question though is, okay, so they come back with this information, can the physician actually get that rep to help them to market? Can the rep go to an office that is not in their quote unquote territory?

00:11:16 Because for example, you know, if I'm a pain specialist and you're selling a device that gets, that a pain specialist would use, can you go to, let's say another specialty that's not gonna use your device, but will refer to me and help me market to them? Yeah. And, and here's Yeah, absolutely. And here's, here's why I say yes,

00:11:39 it's because at the end of the day, these reps, you know, their, you know, their ability to drive product adoption determines whether their family's going to eat that month, right? And so if they have to do do it, they're gonna find a way to do it. Now, their company might say, oh, we don't like you to do it and everything,

00:11:57 but you don't, not to screw the company because at the end of the day, the company isn't going to help you. Like the thing that drives me crazy, and actually there's an orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeons are really funny on Instagram. I gotta tell you, there's one who posted this funny Instagram reel of him getting a call from the reps.

00:12:14 And he was like, Hey man, like I totally get it. You're trying to hit your number in q4, but I can't just like magically make more procedures appear out of thin air, right? Cause that's, that's the call that a surgeon gets. The rep will say, Hey, I need to hit my number. Can we do some more procedures?

00:12:28 Perfectly fine. Guess what you should do as a rep? You should say, all right, there is this, you know, city or metropolitan area that's like 30 miles away. Who can I go figure out what offices are there? Maybe they can refer, like the rep needs to go and do these things. You want those cases? Okay, go get them.

00:12:48 Because otherwise the doctors doesn't have a number to hit. Right? Well, But, but I think a lot of physicians end up feeling pressured and compromised because they do get that call. And you know, if you are an ethical physician who's only doing things that are medically necessary, yeah, okay. I can't make cases that that don't exist. Exactly.

00:13:14 Right. And I'm, and I'm, and I'm not going to, you know, operate on somebody or implant somebody just because I need to hit a number, whether it's my number or, or the reps number. Exactly. No, no, you're, you're absolutely correct. And no physician should, so what I would do is if I was, if I was the physician,

00:13:31 I would say, Hey, I would, and this is the way I like to always frame things around the benefit of helping more patients. So I'm like, Hey, I'd love to hit your number. Your, your device is great. Let's help more patients. Where can we find more patients? That's, that's, that's what I, what I would,

00:13:51 I would put it back on the rep. You know, So do those reps, I'm gonna ask you a loaded question. Do those reps actually have money for marketing on my behalf? Can you know, in today's day and age, physicians don't necessarily have money to market. You know, can they sponsor a talk and or can they, you know,

00:14:15 what can they do in terms of helping to market on my behalf? Yeah, they, a lot of times they don't because the way the company ends up saying, sorry, I'm just, I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna share how the sausage is made. The, the, the way these companies talk, and I, and I totally understand they'll agree,

00:14:35 is that if we give marketing dollars to XYZ doctor, other doctors are gonna want it. We can't afford it. We're gonna piss people off. I totally get that. However, what the rep does have is their own time. So when I was, so my doctors loved me actually, when I, when I went into marketing, one doctor in particular,

00:14:53 one surgeon was his, his, his practice was really pissed off because I did a good job. The reason why is that I was at a startup. We didn't have marketing dollars, but anything I can do extra, that was pretty much determined on me. I did it. For example, I helped them set up their Facebook page. I printed out some flyers and I was like,

00:15:17 I'm gonna go all over town and drop these off at referring practices. I'm gonna post these in the, you know, back then, like coffee shops, they had a little hallway with, with a little bulletin board. It's like, Hey, if you experience XYZ pain schedule free consult with Dr. So-and-so, like, no one's gonna stop me from doing that.

00:15:37 So I went ahead and did it. Right? And what, and what I would say is that the reps, reps are extremely resourceful. These are very smart, hardworking people. Medical sales. It doesn't get any harder than that. I don't care what you're selling doesn't get any harder than that. So if they're motivated, and if they're, if they're encouraged by the physician,

00:15:55 they'll do it. Another great example is, and again, I'm trying to teach people how to do this in my course, which this is not difficult to do. The surgeon can be like, okay, why don't you come and with your iPhone, you're gonna shoot a video of me. I'm gonna explain this new procedure. You're gonna take that video,

00:16:14 you go figure out how to edit it, and I want you to send that right to every referring practice here. Here's another one. There's a program called Vidyard, V I D Y A R D. Okay? The physician can tell the rep, Hey, this thing, this video thing costs like 15, 20 bucks a month. Start an account,

00:16:35 let's make a presentation together, okay? We make a presentation about my practice and everything. This presentation's five minutes. I want you the rep to record a presentation. And let's say there's 10 referring practices. Every referring practice, you're gonna record a new presentation. Hey, Dr. John Smith, my name is Omar Cat, I'm, I work with Dr.

00:16:56 So and so. I wanted to give you this quick presentation to educate you about this one thing we're seeing with this patient population. And share with you how Dr. Sos, who is using this technology to make things better, goes through the presentation. If you have any patients who would be a fit for this consult, please send them to, you know,

00:17:12 [email protected], right? And I want you to send that to like 10 different surgeons or referring practices. So now the rep is creating personalized videos that are going out to other referring practices, educating them about the pathology, the diagnosis, et cetera. What you look for and hey, send them our way. And now you can start tracking things. Now you're teaching the rep to think for themselves and actually do stuff for the practice without the company being involved.

00:17:39 Does that make sense? Okay. Yes, Omar. But I think that there are a couple of follow ups to that. Number one, when you were doing this with this orthopedic surgeon, how many other orthopedic surgeons were you also covering? Because one of the things that I've heard a lot is, oh, they're your competition. So the, you know,

00:18:03 the rep tends to walk this fine line between marketing for you and marketing for everybody else. Because there are, you know, multiple other orthopedists in town and you know, they want, maybe you are not the biggest practice, maybe your one doc and the ortho group down the street is 20 docs. You want to get that rep to work for you,

00:18:29 but they're looking at the big dollars down the road, Right? Yeah, that's, that's a great, that's a great point. So, so what I would, what I would say is, as a physician, leverage yourself and just say, Hey look, you know, I have a lot of room for growth here. You know, this other practice isn't gonna give you that kind of love,

00:18:51 right? I'll, I'll, I'll get more, more exclusive with you, but you need to help me. Like, everything's a negotiation, right? I'm Middle Eastern. And so we have a saying, everything's negotiable. And so, you know, as a surgeon, you know, again, I keep using surgeons. I know that, you know,

00:19:08 a lot of primary care, but we'll use surgery just as, as a surgeon, you can, you can say you can things, one negotiating chip that I love to use is whatever's free to me, but valuable to somebody else, I'm going to use it. So as a surgeon, say, Hey, look, go and do this for me.

00:19:27 I know that you don't, you know, you have other surgeons that you cover, but if you do this for me and you do a really good job at the end of the quarter, regardless of whether we get more patients or not, I'll go on your LinkedIn, I'm gonna write a glowing recommendation for you. Oh, and by the way, I'm gonna take a photo with you and the techno,

00:19:47 cause every rep wants this kind of BS content. I'm gonna take a picture with you, with my arm around you holding you like you're my, you're my, you're my second child and we'll be with the technology and, and I'll write this post on LinkedIn. I'll tag you, I'll tag the company and be like, this, this is one of the best reps that I have.

00:20:04 Here's, here's why this person's great and I won't mention the things you do extra. I'm just gonna mention that you do great customer service. Cause now you're giving something that is incentivizing the rep. And they're like, yeah, nobody else gets that. And you know what, this quarter has not been good for me. But if my boss sees something like that,

00:20:21 they're not gonna fire me. You know? So that's, you have to think what's valuable to the rep. You know, When they're probably not gonna get that from the big a group that has 20 docs, right? Totally not. Yeah. So let let me put a different spin on that and, and ask, you know, well, I,

00:20:43 I know the answer to the question one of does just simply being nice to the rep get you that? Or do you really specifically have to ask them for stuff? Because I think people would be willing to be nice. I think asking the rep for something would feel like you're trading, and I understand the concept of negotiation, but can we put a less overt spin on that?

00:21:10 We can definitely put a, yeah, we can put a less overt spin on it. But as, as you as, and again, this is why I'm a big fan of your content, a big fan of your show, medicine is a business. The sooner the, that you come to terms with that and understand like, hey, whether you like the rules of the game or not is not the point.

00:21:30 You have to learn how to play these rules. This is how this, this is how the world works. And so you're right, maybe putting a less overt spin on it, but just like in a relationship. So like, I joke with my wife, like the other night, she, she mentioned something about me doing something specific for her. I said,

00:21:49 listen, you can, you can hint at these things, but my mind is all over the place. I'm thinking about so many different things at once. Sometimes I'm not gonna put one on one together. I need you to literally tell me, Hey, I need you to do this. And so as a physician, you're only gonna frustrate yourself if you think,

00:22:09 oh, you know what? I'm gonna be really nice to the rep. I'm gonna do this and that. And then magically with all these things they're worried about, they're gonna magically think of me. And then somehow come to this conclusion. You have, you have to be very direct. So maybe a less overt spin on this would be like, Hey,

00:22:26 help, help, help me with this at the end of the quarter. I would love to have a great reason to maybe, you know, do a nice post about this. You know, however, and, and you can say this however I can help you. Here's the other thing. This is a negotiation. This is a sales tactic. Never guess.

00:22:44 Like, I love persuasion. I can't read buys. When you're talking to the rep, ask 'em to say, Hey listen, I wanna also understand what's important to you. Obviously you want me to do more cases. I get that outside of that. You, Jessica, you John, what, what are two or three really important things that if I did them for you,

00:23:05 it would make you like really, really happy and, and forget about doing more cases. Just you selfishly, what would it be? Right? Could they might say, yeah, you know, I've been trying to get into this other territory across the state. I don't know anybody there. Do you know anybody? You're like, yeah, I think I do actually.

00:23:23 I can make a call that was free for you. Very. That gives you a lot of leverage with the rep, right? Absolutely. And you know, the reason I said let's overt is because I wholeheartedly agree. You have to ask for what you want. They're not going to, simply nobody for that matter is simply going to do it because you're nice to them and they're mind readers and,

00:23:47 and interpret being nice as, oh, you know, I need something from you. They'll just think either you are nice or more importantly, they'll think they're doing a great job. Even they're, even though they're doing a crappy job. Absolutely. And, and I gotta, I got a special tactic. This is like, cause I, I, I spent time reviewing things before I come on your show.

00:24:09 Cause this is, this is a, this is a no BS show. So I had to come with some good stuff here. Here's a million dollar idea for your listeners, okay? To get that. You know, as we mentioned before, not all companies will spend marketing dollars, but everything's negotiable, right? Here's what I recommend to your listeners,

00:24:26 definitely be on LinkedIn. Again, Instagram, Twitter, all these are important. But the business and a of medicine, it really lives on LinkedIn. Start developing some content. Just, you know, develop some kind of following. Let's say again, surgeon, talk to the rep and say, Hey, while I'm doing surgery, and of course make it HIPAA compliant,

00:24:48 et cetera, can you take, you know, take my cell, take some photos of me, take some video, right? And, and develop some content. Post that content, start developing some traction. Because then if you grow your following on LinkedIn, and let's say the orthopedic surgeons do a great job of this, they'll take a picture of an x-ray or some case and say,

00:25:10 here's the case, just like in medical school, here's the case. Here's the, here's the how, how, how it presented, you know, what we did, et cetera, what would you do? And then other surgeons will comment, you do that for a few weeks and the company starts saying, oh, Dr. Janet has got a good following of surgeons on LinkedIn.

00:25:29 Then when you go and say, Hey, go talk to your company about sponsoring my next like, patient event. And they'll say, you know, we can't do, you know, specific things for a doctor, then you can say, well, you know, but look, look at all these surgeons who follow me and when we do that patient event,

00:25:46 I'll be able to post about it. So all these other surgeons are gonna be learning more about your company. That gives you more leverage, that gives you a much better shot. You know, it's not enough just to be doing a lot of cases. Like, it's just not, you know. Well, and I think that that's where people kind of misunderstand because they think,

00:26:04 well, I'm doing cases. I'm, you know, first of all, as an individual physician, you may or may not have any sense of where you fall in the pecking order of number of cases or number of scripts, or number of anything relative to your peers, unless somebody tells you. I I will tell you that even when I was a small practice of two docs,

00:26:30 I was surprised one day to find out that we still did more than the big guy or the bigger guy down the street. So in your home, you know, in your office, you don't really have a sense of what else is happening in the community. So you may think, hey, either I'm a big fish or I'm a little fish. But you don't really have that data.

00:26:49 So simply to your point, simply doing cases, simply writing scripts is, is in and of itself not enough. And it's certainly not enough to get that persons that rep's attention. Okay? You know, you can have a conversation with them about the, the science behind the thing. A lot of times that leads to, oh wow, you're really actually knowledgeable and I'm learning something from you.

00:27:13 And that's how ultimately you get asked to be a speaker for that company, okay? Because the rep goes, wait, I need to bring my manager back. And all of a sudden the regional manager comes and all of a sudden the guy above him comes. The other thing that I'd like us to touch on is the, the fact that recruiting physicians can be very difficult,

00:27:35 especially depending on, you know, depending on where your market and your specialty. The reps are extraordinarily good at helping you to find docs. And I think that that's an area that a lot of physicians don't really harness that. Because in training, you know, if, if, if in residency, in fellowship, if you're doing some procedure that requires a device or you are,

00:28:02 you know, in an academic center in writing a whole bunch of a certain drug and you're interacting with the drug reps who are coming, they will then say, oh, where are you moving? Or where do you wanna move? And they call the rep and the territory that you want to go to, or you as the doctor who owns the practices.

00:28:22 You know, we're looking to bring on another, in my case pain specialist, do you know, you know, can you put out the word and say we're looking for a pain specialist starting in July of, you know, 2023 for example. They have a database where they can send out, I mean, Boston Scientific did this for us almost every year,

00:28:45 send out an email to their database of reps saying, have a practice at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, looking for a pain specialist starting July, 2023. And that, that way, number one, I've had reps who've called and said, oh, this guy's gonna interview with you, but he's like a terrible, terrible proceduralist. Okay, thank you for the heads up.

00:29:12 We're not gonna hire that person. Or we've had, you know, somebody call my rep and say, whatever you do, pay this guy, you need to get this person to come here. You know, they, their program direct director because you know, you can call for a reference and the program director says, oh, they're great. Another form,

00:29:34 another form of propaganda, right? Another form of propaganda. Or, you know, somebody's working in a different practice, you call, call their colleagues and they go, oh yeah, they're wonderful. Only to find out that the reason that they're wonderful is they couldn't wait to get that person out of their practice. Right? Yeah, it happens. But the,

00:29:52 but the reps will tell you the truth because you know what? That rep wants your practice to get another doctor who's going to come and use their device or Yeah. To write more scripts or whatever. So, you know, yes, they want more volume, they don't, on some level, and maybe I'm wrong, they don't really care whether the volume is coming from you individually because they get you more referrals or because you bring in another doc who can do more cases and use their device.

00:30:20 Absolutely. And you know, what I would say is if you think about your, your average rep, your average rep for, you know, for a company, and again, I'm, I'm, I'm generalizing here, but usually they're anywhere from their twenties to their thirties. I know that there's some reps who are older than that, but just in general,

00:30:41 the 20 days or thirties, so a lot of them are young professionals. So they're looking to learn, you know, another kind of subtle way of getting what you want without overtly asking for it is, again, let's just say it's recruiting. Talk to the rep. If it's a rep that you could see that they have potential, they seem to have this like enthusiasm,

00:30:59 you know, like we all know the, that rep, right? They have a good enthusiasm, good energy. Like you, you, you know that if you tell 'em like, Hey, you know, x, something happened, can you go and help? Like, they'll do it. You can say, Hey, you know, we're, we're trying to get better by recruiting for the practice,

00:31:16 but the old way, like, you know, we might send out an email or anything, can you help me and just do a little research, you know, aside from finding a position to fill like this, what are some ways like to recruit, like, you know, these tech companies, how, how do they recruit, right? Without,

00:31:32 let's say using recruiter. Like what, what can we do? And so if it's a smart rep, they're gonna go do all this research, like leverage somebody else to, to use their time to figure stuff out for you and then, and report back. The one thing that doctors specifically, and I'm gonna pick on surgeons specifically for this, that they try and do is that because medicine is so hard and you get through medical school and training,

00:31:56 like nothing's harder than that. But when you do that, you think for some reason you can do anything. And maybe you could, but you don't have time to do everything. Leverage somebody else to go spend their time and figure this out, right? Because then, like, you know, the reps feeling feels really good because they're learning something, they're developing things,

00:32:16 they're developing skill set, you know, maybe they start coordinating with your office, they start teaching your office admin certain things. So now, like you just got something of value for free and everybody's happy with versus like the old way, which is like a surgeon or doctor's. Like, I'll go figure it out. Like, what are you gonna figure out?

00:32:35 Like the random 10, 15 minutes you have between cases, like just doesn't work very well. Well, but talking about giving things for free, talk about how do you brainwash people, one of the things that I learned early on is for that rep who's truly, you know, that up and coming star invite them to spend a day in clinic with you.

00:33:00 Oh, that's a good tip. You know? Yes. Obviously you need to ask your patients and say, Hey, I have Casey following me around today from Boston Scientific, would you mind if she comes into the exam room with me? But number one, they learn your style. They, they come away with an increased knowledge about sort of how do you communicate with patients?

00:33:25 What are you telling patients? Especially if it's a patient where it, they may potentially be getting the device that this rep sells. Okay, what, what does that kind of relationship with the patient? And ultimately, you know, they come away a, having learned some medicine B learning about you understanding, you know, wow, you're a great empathetic physician.

00:33:49 That way when they meet people in the community, they go, you know, I spent a day with Dr. Whites and I, you know, I saw blah, blah, blah, blah. And so it's a way to actually form a true relationship with these people and one where they want to then take that message of how you practice forward. Exactly.

00:34:09 No, that's, that's a hundred percent correct. And just like you, you gave me another, you remind me of another idea. You know, the rep, when they're there, especially like they're in a case, a lot of times they're just standing around, they're not doing anything. I can tell you right now that most of these reps, like if they're in your procedure,

00:34:25 they finish their part and they're just on their phone, it's on rare occasion, they're like doing something productive, right? What I would say is give them your phone, right? For those, I hear this all the time with surgeons, like, you know, I wanna be more active on LinkedIn. I just don't have time. You have the time.

00:34:39 You just have to think of your time differently. Give your phone to the rep, okay? And they're gonna mess up a few times, but that's okay. Give your phone to the rep and while you're in the procedure, if there's a picture you want them to take, have them take the picture, right? Or a video and then dictate to them,

00:34:55 okay, open my LinkedIn. Go on there. You're gonna say, you know, the three most important things that every surgeon needs to know about this procedure, and you're gonna write down these things, add these hashtags, add this photo, okay, posted. Great, thank you. Like, you can do that two, three times a week and start building a following on LinkedIn.

00:35:12 And here's the other thing, you're not only nurturing your, your peer group, you're also potentially connecting, you know, connect with fellows and everything so that you're helping your recruiting, you know, so people who are in fellowship, like I have a few more friends of mine who are at a medical school or they're finishing fellowship, they're getting more on LinkedIn because that's where you go for jobs,

00:35:32 right? They'll start seeing your content. And a fellow might be like, yeah, I was thinking about working at Big C I wanna go work for this, this lady down, you know, down here. I really like the way she runs her practice, right? And it's a signaling event where not just the company that whose product you use, but other companies,

00:35:49 let's say a startup, they start seeing more of your content and be like, oh, Dr. Janet down in Louisiana, she's, she's puts out this amazing content. She's really good. Why don't we approach her to see if she wants to use our device? Maybe she'll consult with us. Maybe we should give her equity what I want at the end of the day for physicians,

00:36:07 I want them to have options. Do you have to go consult for industry? No. Do you have to do advisory stuff? No, you don't. But you know what? I would love nothing more than physicians to say, Hey, I started using LinkedIn more, I started leveraging my reps, and at any time I want, I open my inbox,

00:36:23 I have all these opportunities I could say yes or no to. That's the best thing that can happen. See, I, I'm not even worried about what other opportunities I'm, I'm more concerned with on a day-to-day basis in a private practice. How do we take that rep and make them bring value to the practice so that when I take time out to interact with them,

00:36:50 I, I feel like it's a value add to me, not only that I'm doing something for them. You know, I I think just coming back to let's say being in the or Okay. And, and having surgeons a lot of times, especially if it's a good rep, they have been in a lot of ORs with a lot of docs and they see many different styles.

00:37:15 And we would all love to think that every case goes perfectly. Okay. That is not the truth, right? We all get to a hiccup at some point in some case. Okay. And you know, as, as you said, you know, in, I'm married to a surgeon, surgeons in particular have this attitude of, I trained for so long,

00:37:37 I know all this stuff, and so I'm supposed to know everything, so I'm never gonna ask for help. Yeah. Terrible idea. Terrible idea. Because a lot of times that rep saw Dr. Smith last week get into the same pickle that you are in right now. Exactly. They have a device that's slightly smaller that will fit better or maybe they have an introducer that will help you thread that catheter.

00:38:05 Or maybe they have some trick. But if you come at them with the attitude of I'm the doctor, I'm God, and I'm not going to ask your advice, your only purpose in this operating room is to provide the device. And then that's it. You've lost an op, you've lost a huge opportunity, A huge one. You know, but,

00:38:27 but even for my non-surgeons, it's the same thing with drugs. If, you know, if you have a new drug and all of a sudden you see that, you know, people are getting, you have a disproportionate number of patients who now have edema in their leg, but you've done the research and it's not in any of the, you know,

00:38:47 reports online, you can't find it. It's not in the journals. And you mention it to the drug rep and they go, oh yeah, we've seen a whole bunch of that lately. You know, the drug just came out. It isn't in the literature yet, but yeah, we ha you know, people are taking people off. Doctors are taking patients off this drug because it causes,

00:39:07 you know, hiccups or it causes edema, it causes whatever. Right? Absolutely. But if you are not communicating, and you kind of, you know, I think that doctors sometimes treat reps as feeble idiots, which is the opposite of, you know, what you're saying, which is they're really very smart, you know, motivated people. And that's been my experience is that they're very smart and motivated.
00:39:34 If you harness them, if you treat them like people. Exactly. If you treat them like feeble idiots, they behave like feeble Idiots. Exactly. And you know what I would say persuasion is very interesting because a lot of times when you're like in negotiation, there's a few books back here behind me on negotiations for that, that an FBI agent wrote,

00:39:58 right? And one of the things is that if you tell people who you want them to be, they magically become that person. So when you're negotiating, if you say, you know, I know you're a very, you're very fair and reasonable person, they become fair and reasonable. If you tell a rep like, Hey, can you go and figure this out?

00:40:13 Look, I know you're very, like, you're a sharp and clever person. You'll figure this out. They'll become that person. Are a lot of reps, feeble, idiots, just absolutely waste of space. Yeah. Yeah. There are, however, anybody can be turned around because if you, if you, if you encourage that person and you give them that idea that they're capable people with the right coaching and encouragement,

00:40:41 they can become that, right? Not every rep is like this. The other thing I'll tell you, and again, the, I think the theme of this show is like dirty secrets of the industry. You know, you mentioned the surgeon who, who is a know-it-all. I'll tell you, Dr. Weitz, I've been doing this for a, for a long time.

00:41:00 I've, I've interacted with a lot of surgeons, and I'm gonna use this term because I need it to hurt for whoever's listening, the biggest losers I've ever met who are, who are surgeons are the ones who just act like they know everything. And as a rep and as a marketing manager, when we go to a conference and that type of surgeons come into the booth,

00:41:22 like we all, we all, we all talk, talk about it, we joke about the person, like, oh, like look, here he comes, here comes, it's like, oh, hey Dr. So and so, like, yeah, it's good. Yeah, cool. You know, how's everything going? Like we, we, people talk,
00:41:33 work gets around and, and that is the biggest miss as a surgeon because when you act like a know-it-all, when you act like you're so smart, so guess what happens On average, a, a surgeon might have, let's say three to five reps for different things. These people are going all over the country, all over the state, interacting with me,

00:41:55 different groups, getting all this, they're like centers of data information. At the end of the day, in business, the people who have the best intel, they win. It's all about data. If you don't give them that sense of, Hey, you can come to me and tell me anything and everything I want to know, they're not going to,

00:42:12 you can get s you can get ahead of trends. You can hear from five different reps, Hey, you know what, I saw this happening. I saw this happening. And then you say, you know what? I think this is happening in the market, or this is what's going on. You know? And, and the only time that happens,

00:42:26 Dr. Whites is as a surgeon, again, you can't hint at it. You have to be a little bit overt sometimes and do things like, there's a doctor, oh God, he's outta Tyler, Texas. Dr. Crutchfield, he's a neurosurgeon, he's a gr. Dr. Crutchfield is, is listening. I hope you're doing well, sir.

00:42:44 I'll never forget this neurosurgeon. Very powerful, very well respected. In the middle of the case or at the end of the case, he looks at me and opens his hands, he's like, Hey Omar, thank you so much for covering this case. What, what can we do better? The team myself, is there something? And guess what I did?

00:43:01 I, I pulled out my, my laptop. I'm like, look, here are all the things that I made notes of. Here's what I'm seeing other people do. If you tell the reps, Hey, how can I get better? What can we do? Then not only do they do that, but things that you're not even thinking about. Cuz you become like an open door policy.

00:43:17 They'll come and say, Hey doctor, I don't know if you knew this, but I saw this other doctor doing this thing. Did you try that in your practice? No, I did it. The best organizations, best entrepreneurs, that's how they function. It's the same thing with surgeons. Well, I'm, I'm smiling because this is exactly how I interacted with reps and and to your point,

00:43:40 yeah, you find out all sorts of stuff that it, it, they, first of all, they make you technically better. Okay? I mean I, I learned so much from the, from my reps in terms of, Hey, you know, I saw so and so in Florida when I went to cover a case, do it this way,

00:44:01 and their leads don't move. Maybe you wanna consider this, I mean, little things, but to your point, trends that are coming, changes in reimbursement across the country because it comes in waves. But to, to put a point on what you're saying and I think will, will end there. One of my most humbling or increased in awareness experiences was one day at Starbucks in Baton Rouge,

00:44:30 Louisiana where there were five reps from five different companies, pharmaceutical companies, med tech companies sitting and having coffee and talking about the doctors in the community and who's a jerk and who's not a jerk. And what you realize is that it, that, that communication is not limited to within that one med tech company and its regions across the country, it's not limited to only med tech companies that are catering to,

00:45:11 let's say orthopedic surgeons. It's across all reps. Because you know what they have, they don't actually have an office. 99% of the time their office is Starbucks. Yep. And if, and if you go to Starbucks, you will see them with their laptops, right. Updating their reports, doing whatever. And they all know each other. Maybe this is,

00:45:34 I'm showing how small a town Baton Rouge actually is, but they all know each other. They all sit around together and, and they, and they all gossip. Yep. Right? And you want to be, you don't wanna be that doc because you know what, you may get a bad reputation with a referral source, not from your rep, but from your reps telling their rep for something that's completely unrelated to what you ever do,

00:46:04 that you are a jerk. Exactly. Exactly. And, and you know, I, I tell people this all the time. Like when somebody's trying to get new technology in a hospital, there are two groups, or I like to call 'em TRIBErs, that know everything about that surgeon. The nurses and the reps and the way they function is actually very similar.

00:46:26 And what you said about reps is very true. Cuz they don't have an office. They're on an island by themselves. And so tribally, they're going to gravitate with other people who, you know, engage with you other reps, pharma, et cetera. And this does happen. And again, I think, you know, not letting people guess, like,

00:46:46 you know, for you, when you teach people the business of medicine, and again, I I need to like point aside, your audience knows this, but it wasn't by accident that you had the success that you had with your practice, with the hospitals and clinics. You opened up and you exited. That didn't happen by accident. Part of it is because you're a savvy business person,

00:47:05 business person with a capital B, right? In terms of thinking, what can we do to improve, what other systems can we have? And, and then leveraging the people that are around you, right? So as a physician, what I would recommend is like, look at your practice, look at yourself and say, what can I, if I had a million dollars,

00:47:23 what would I do to improve? And it's like, okay, maybe I improve my professional brand, maybe our revenue cycle management isn't that great. Maybe our workflows can be better. Right? Make that list, send it out to your, to, you know, don't, don't do an e-blast, but send it to each rep individual and be like,

00:47:42 Hey, I just wanted to let you know, these are the things that I came up with that I'm trying to work on and improving the practice. If you have an interest in any of these things or you happen to know about it, I would, I would love, I would, I would welcome your help. If you do let me know.

00:47:59 And if, if some of them, one of them's like, yeah, you know what, I'm, I'm really good, or I've always wanted to learn about marketing, great. Take that off the list. Be like, I'm gonna sign that to you. You go figure that out. Let me know. We'll have a meeting at the end of the week and now you have four or five reps all looking into different things,

00:48:14 right? And you as a business owner, you're getting all this information, all these interesting insights. And it's very exciting because it, it literally takes one little lever to pull that you didn't know that was there and all of a sudden your business improves. You know, that's what it takes. But you can't do this by yourself, you know? Oh,

00:48:34 but I, I think that that is such an important point. Like that needs 20,000 exclamation marks because I think that a lot of, I think a lot of docs are petrified of sharing any information about their practice, particularly with a rep, because they're afraid the competition, they find out something about them. Okay, this is just ridiculous. It's so ridiculous.

00:49:01 Nobody cares. Nobody cares about your practice. You know, even if it's a huge practice, nobody cares. Nobody cares. Okay? The only person you should ever be competing with is yourself. Right? A hundred percent. And if you, and if you never ask for help, if you keep everything within to, to your point, Omar, number one,

00:49:22 there are not enough hours in the day to do everything. Number two, you can't do everything well. Right? And the other thing is that when you are that closed in, people don't want to help you because they don't feel like they are part of a team. Alright? And if you can bring that group of reps into your team, you actually have much more,

00:49:50 you're much more to gain in terms of advocates for your practice than you're going to lose in terms of the perceived competition. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. And you know what I would say, I want to touch on two quick things. Like one is, let's talk about like the worst nightmare for any surgeon. The competition finds out or learns about how you'd like to do marketing.

00:50:13 Let's just say that happen. Like your, your your BS like online campaign or however you do patient events, like your secret sauce. Oh, the competition finds out about it. You know what the best part about that? Like, I love when anybody that I don't really even think about as competition, but if somebody does what I'm doing, it's a great day for me.

00:50:33 Cuz guess what? Now I have somebody trying the same thing I'm doing and, and a lot of times I look at him, I'm like, that's actually interesting. I never thought about doing that, doing it that way. I'm gonna do that. That's, that's, that's how you, you should think as a business person. It's like, oh,

00:50:49 they did that. Like perfect example. Don't, you know, don't take my advice. How about a, a one of the wealthiest families on planet earth, the Waltons, so Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, he was notorious for doing this. He would go to Kmart, he would go to Sears and he would do cr like competition would steal for him.

00:51:08 Then he would go and see what they're doing. Like he would measure the, the distance between the odds and be like, oh, this is actually really smart. And he would just steal stuff. You know? That's what you should do. And there is enough business for all of you. All you have to do is absolutely drive down the road.

00:51:24 And you will see that more often than not, CVS is across the street from Walgreens. Okay, Yeah, that's a great point. There's where there's a gas station on one corner and on the opposite corner and going in the opposite direction, right? It's because yes, there's enough business and the competition does not affect your business. And to your point,

00:51:48 if anything it helps draw attention. Oh wait, this is a good thing, you know, and we should do this too. Yeah. Anyway, and you, you, you said something, you had, you had a really lot of, lot of pearls of wisdom on, on, on this, on this. And that's why I always enjoy listening to your show.

00:52:05 You said something very interesting earlier, and I wanna point that out, which is making the rep feel part of the team, right? It's not enough just like having them in the or, but you know, ha have them help you reward them. You know, like, I'll never forget the best surgeons, something as little as like, you know,

00:52:25 maybe they'll take, they'll take me to lunch, maybe I can't remember who it was, but one of them actually bought me, bought me a book. I can't, why can't I, I should remember this. They bought me. Like little things like that really made me feel good as a rep. I'm like, wow. Like I'm, not only am I doing a good job,

00:52:40 but this person respects me. They like me and more of, and, and very often, whether the rep works for a really big company or a small one, the rep cannot help but have a stronger leg allegiance and loyalty to you than their own company. Cause even though their company pays them, you have the relationship and they'll come and tell you be like,

00:53:01 Hey, the company's getting ready to do this. I don't agree with it. You know, or, or, or, you know, they'll tell you these things, right? But, but you don't even have to buy a book or take somebody out to lunch. Those are very nice things and absolutely that's a plus. But know when their birthday is and wish them a happy birthday if you know they have a family.

00:53:22 Ask how, how are your kids? Absolutely. Be a real person and treat them like a real person, right? The the the the other things, the things like, you know, the, the lunch, they invite them to the, the practices, Christmas party, things like that are nice perks, but they don't make up for the day to day,

00:53:46 you know, just chattiness. And it's two seconds, It a hundred percent true. And especially when it's genuine. You mean it, it really means, you know, when I, when I was a kid, you know how I learned about medical sales reps? Like, cause I, if you're not in medicine, you have no idea that this whole thing exists.

00:54:05 I learned about it because I was shadowing my father in the hospital and there was a rep, I think from cdn and my dad said, you know, he introduced me, he's like, oh, this is my son. And I was like, maybe 13 or 14 years old. This is back in the day when there was no rep tracks. You can just walk in the hospital around and be like,

00:54:21 oh, my dad's doctor. So, so I'm gonna go watch a case. You know, my dad, my dad said, oh, this is so and so. He's a representative with Coln. This guy, this guy. He's one of the best, one of the best. Like my, my dad had this, a funny way of doing.

00:54:36 And the guy's like, oh, Dr. K. He's like, no, no, no. He's like this guy, he's the best. He really knows his stuff. We always have successful cases like and he just went on for like a solid minute just talking about this guy, like it was his own kid or something. And I could see like how,

00:54:50 how, how much it meant to that person. That took like a minute. How much more loyalty did he buy for that? No, absolutely. And he said, he said it to you, a 13 year old. Right? So the guy knew that he wasn't trying to blow smoke cuz he would, your dad would've no reason to tell a people on and on to tell a 13 year old.

00:55:13 Right. And so yeah, it's, it's that real emotion, that real interaction that buys that loyalty. Absolutely. On that note, Omar, cuz you and I could be here for the next three days having this conversation. I Know. That's why we have to have a reunion so much. Oh no, it's absolutely no, thank you. It was such,

00:55:31 such an honor. And again, like very grateful for somebody like you existing within the medical community. I wish there were more sandy whites out there, but you know, until that happens, I, I just hope you continue to reach more physicians and help them understand and leverage this whole idea of like the business of medicine to be better doctors, better business people.

00:55:50 So it's been a pleasure. It really has. Thank you. Thank you. Please be sure to sign up for my newsletter below. I'll be sending you tips on how to start a practice, grow a practice, and then add multiple services so that you can maximize your revenue.


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