How Puppy Smiles Can Change The World

My morning routine is pretty simple. Mental prep, workout, shower and get to work as fast as possible.

Talking to people at the gym only prolongs my workout and delays the start of the workday.

Some people call me anti-social. Others use stronger words.

As I’ve traveled and worked out at gyms across the country, I’ve noticed most early risers have a similar approach.

✓ Keep your head down.

✓ Avoid eye contact.

✓ Ear buds always in.

✓ On the off chance you catch eyes—give a halfhearted grin and mouth “hi”.

It’s universal early morning gym etiquette.

Not today…

From the minute I set foot in the gym this morning, something was different. People were living in the moment.  They weren’t rushing to start their day.

I saw the 300# power lifter giggling like a schoolgirl.

The professional bodybuilder took a break from admiring herself in the mirror to rack her weights.

The CrossFitters weren’t posting to Instagram.

Everyone was laughing and happy and talking.  Talking to each other.

What’s going on?

A quick glance at one of the 72 televisions hanging from the wall brought me to a dead stop.  Rather than showing the depressing morning news or Sports Center on repeat, someone tuned all the televisions in the gym to the Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl.

Puppy Power

I couldn’t help but stop what I was doing to watch the adorable fluff balls wrestle with each other.  It was freaking adorable!

What fascinated me was the overall mood of the gym remained upbeat long after the Puppy Bowl ended.

The puppies were the catalyst causing everyone to light up with smiles.   The smiles caused a chain reaction transforming the gym from a quiet dungeon to a lively weightlifting social hour.

The next time you’re having a rough day, remember the power a smile can have on others as well as yourself. 😃

Am I at the Right House?

This weeks guest post was written at my expense by fellow Healthcare Sales Professional and good friend, Mark Schwab.

You’re stuck in a third world jail and the jailer gives you one phone call – who would you call? For me, I don’t tick through a list of my friends because there’s simply one person at the top, John Crowley. Crowley would drop everything, pop some Cipro and get his ginger ass to whatever hell hole I’ve gotten stuck in.

John and I met about 9 years ago through our wives and kids. Our friendship has gone through births, deaths, sickness, joy, and more job changes than is reasonable. Several threads weave their way through our friendship: respect, honesty, trash-talking, practical jokes, and sales. We have a passion for sales and the sales process, so naturally we take moments from our lives and use them as analogies for sales.

John and I consistently screw with each other. We’ve created fake ads on Craigslist for a “free refrigerator” so the other person is bombarded with calls from strangers; changed license plates from a Yankees plate to a Red Sox plate; and put incredibly embarrassing bumper stickers on each other’s cars.

Three years ago, John decided he would chain an old toilet filled with flowers to my mailbox. I can just imagine it now. John giggling as he pulled the flower filled toilet out of the back of his truck; quietly setting it down in front of the mailbox; snaking chain around and locking it. Every little sound probably made him jerk his head up because he was so excited and didn’t want to get caught. He was sending pics to our friend Ray, both laughing hysterically.

Just one problem- he chained it to my neighbor’s mailbox.

So why am I writing about this now? Three years later? I’ve included the text thread:

For three years, one of the smartest guys I know thought he had gotten away with a pretty damn good practical joke. If this isn’t an analogy for what we do wrong in sales- I don’t know what is. I can’t count the times I’ve come up with a great plan, executed flawlessly, and waited for results that never come through. I’ve used sales language that didn’t work; I’ve invested time and money in the wrong customer; but when it comes down to it, I neglected details that had previously been successful.

John has been to my house hundreds of times. He had a plan, he executed the plan, and three years later, he realized he failed. In healthcare sales, we often forget who the decision makers are (it’s rarely the physician) and who we need to be selling. We don’t ask enough questions as simple as “am I at the right house?” We stick to our plans and wonder why they don’t work.

Today I realized two things. First, that I got to call my friend and tell him he was an idiot. But more importantly, all of the plans I’m making for my next professional role need to be analyzed, adjusted and/or scrapped. I need to ask more questions, thoroughly understand each process, research, and most importantly, make sure I’m at the right house.

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

5 Ways to Avoid Career Crippling Mistakes on Social Media

Yesterday I received LinkedIn mail that hit me like a brick. A progressive young man, searching for his dream job with my organization, sent a message that spoke to all the traits I look for in the ideal Healthcare Sales Professional.  I thought – this is exactly the guy I want on my team.

A quick scan of his LinkedIn profile gave me very little insight to his experience or expertise. It was the standard online resume. STRIKE 1.

I clicked to his linked Twitter profile and his prolific use of expletives was impressive. I had never known someone to use cuss words as nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs and adjectives – in one sentence! STRIKE 2

At this point I just wanted to see what else he would be foolish enough to put online for the world to see. His Instagram account was full of seemingly innocent golfing and fishing pictures. Except – most were posted during prime selling hours. STRIKE 3

Facebook photos of shotgunned beers. Tell-all blog posts about a relationship gone bad. Inappropriate Instagram selfies. Twitter arguments. Lots of foul language…

Google’s web crawlers find our deepest darkest mistakes – instantaneously. There is no such thing as the disappearing Snap. What you put online lives…forever.

Customers are checking you out

Maybe you plan to stay with your current company until retirement and aren’t worried about potential employers seeing your party days. Not so fast!

A 2014 International Data Corporation survey showed that 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support their buying decisions. Your customers are checking you out.

A few inappropriate comments or photos could land you in some extremely hot water and even cost you some business.

Potential employer’s due-diligence

A 2016 Careerbuilder survey found that 60% of recruiters use social media to research job candidates before an interview. In sales, a whopping 65% of hiring managers use social media to screen candidates.

Your online rep will either help or hurt your chances of landing a new gig. Here’s the type of content employers have found during back-ground checks that prevented them from interviewing/hiring candidates:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or information – 46%
  • Information about candidate drinking or using drugs – 43%
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. – 33%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee – 31%
  • Poor communication skills – 29%

Did you just say…

“I don’t have any social media accounts.”

“All my social media accounts private.”

Here’s the problem – 41% of recruiters are less likely to interview candidates if they can’t find information about them online. At a minimum, you need a complete and active LinkedIn profile.

5 Ways to Avoid Career Crippling Mistakes on Social Media

Before you can create a killer online presence, you have to audit all of your entire digital footprint. Here are five steps to self-auditing your social media presence.

  1. Google yourself – The first step to a good social media audit is figuring out exactly where you show up online. If you have never cleaned up your old posts, be ready to bury your head in your hands at least once! Start by googling your name and city to determine what people see when they look you up. Make a list of all your social media accounts so you can start the audit.
  2. Review photos – Take your list of accounts and go through every photo! Audit your posts and remove anything unfavorable to a future employer. Sure, you should remove or hide obviously bad things, like shirtless gym selfies or a shot from a wild St. Patrick’s Day party in 2009. But don’t let sneaky posts get past you. Funny memes that reveal too much about your politics or extracurricular activities can put you at a disadvantage.
  3. Step into the viewer’s shoes – There are 2 types of people, funny people and those that think their funny. Your sarcastic wit may not translate in text or seriously miss the mark if taken out of context. Evaluate your content through the eyes of someone you’ve never met. If anything may turn off a hiring manager or customer, hide it or delete it.
  4. Check your friend’s list – Prospective employers and customers could be interested in who and what you interact with online. You should routinely unfollow or disconnect from people or pages with suggestive profile images or posts. If you’re working hard to develop a good reputation, you don’t want to ruin it by being associated with someone else’s bad decisions – thanks Travis Kalanick!
  5. When in doubt, delete – It can be difficult to keep up with all the social media platforms you want to use. If you haven’t touched an account in a few years, get rid of it altogether. The less you have to keep up with, the easier it is to keep your online reputation in good standing.  Myspace and CafePharma are still searchable.

Once you’ve cleaned up your old accounts, switch gears and focus on improving your online presence. Spend five minutes to upload professional profile photos, update your experience on LinkedIn (check out this post on how to create an All-Star profile) and make your personal Facebook and Instagram profiles private.

If you’re not sure whether or not to post something, just remember this golden rule: information on the Internet lives FOREVER. Even if you delete it, there’s a good chance that it could be resurrected long after you have forgotten about it. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg

Thank You Thursday

Here are few things that I’ve found valuable this month and thought you may appreciate them too.

  • eLearning course I just finished:  You know that person who walks into a crowded room and others are instantly pulled toward them?  I’m not talking about the super-model or professional athlete effect, I mean the average Joe that magnetizes people with their presence.  The science behind this phenomenon is all about your body language.  It’s not a God given talent and can be learned.  I just completed the Body Language Tactics micro-learning course and have begun implementing the tactics in my sales pitches, negotiations and even the interactions with my kids.   The pre-launch course will only be available for purchase (you can take as long as you like to complete it) until tomorrow, Friday 4/6/17 at 11:59PM.  The course paid for itself  (a whopping $18) before I finished my first sales pitch!

  • Purchase I’m loving:  I was recently awarded a citation for “using my cell phone while driving”.  Despite my best effort to explain (not lie) that I was just using the GPS, the officer advised me to buy a phone holder.  I’ve used cell phone holders that clumsily clipped onto the vent and required 3 hands to secure the phone.  So, I was cautiously optimistic when I found this cell phone holder on amazon.  It uses a business card thin magnet affixed to the back of your phone to hold the phone to a discrete receiver end mounted to your car vent.  No more awards for me!
  • Something that made me LOL:  This sales video made me so happy.  “You have soft hands” – hahahahaha, idiot!

If you find my blog valuable, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with you counterparts, colleagues and customers.  Thanks!

Can Money Be Your Why?

The Crowley family is coming off an awesome spring break.  We spent some much needed down-time in the mountains of Asheville NC getting much closer as a family and just goofing off.

One of our outings was to the unbelievable Biltmore estate.

During the tour, my oldest daughter (Logan 11) informed me that HER mansion was going to have a gymnastics room and candy parlor.  Not JUST an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley the pauper George Vanderbilt built in his measly 178,926 square foot shack.

When asked how she was going to pay for it, she confidently said “I’m going to own a bakery – Daaaaad”.

In my face.

This got me thinking about us – Healthcare Sales Professionals.  When I was a kid, I never said “one day I’m gonna be a salesman.”

Has any kid ever said they wanted to be a salesperson?

To make matters worse

While contemplating this question, I ask some friends and family how they would describe salespeople.  Keep in mind, they know I am a sales guy.  What did they say?

“Slimey, conniving, conceded, narcissistic, deceitful, egotistical, liars.”

They said this to my face!

So, how did we end up in sales?

Who in their right mind would pursue a career with such a terrible reputation?  Landing a sales gig doesn’t equate to hitting the jackpot.

I’ve been ignored, yelled at, spit on, chased by protestors and cussed out.  I’ve slipped on ice and bruised my tailbone, pitted out a suit jacket in August and split my pants chasing down a doctor.  I’ve been called an overpaid caterer, an unreliable FedEx man, a glorified public relations rep and a legal drug dealer.  Ahhh, the glory.

Why did I decide on a career as a human punching bag?  Money.  I took all the abuse because I knew that if I kept fighting, I could make more money than the doctors I was calling on.

Growing up as a kid, we didn’t have much.  I vividly remember the rush of pride little husky-jean wearing Johnny felt opening his saving account register to see the “mountain” of money piling up from shoveling snow and mowing lawns.

As a college intern, I remember asking company executives which jobs made the most money.  They all said the same thing – Sales.

I was hooked.  Sales was my destiny!

Start with Why

The belief that money was my main motivation got me thinking about Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why.  His famous principle says the way to inspire people is by identifying and speaking to their “Why”.

Focusing on Why has been a game changer for me.  I remember selling a technology solution that empowered customers with data and analytics that improved their efficiency and profitability.  But, six-months after implementing my largest customer, I discovered no one at the practice was using the software.  It just sat there dormant while they paid me a hefty monthly service fee.

This was my fault.  I had demonstrated WHAT the technology did and HOW to use it.  But, I completely ignored WHY the software was important to the customer and WHY it was essential to patient care.

I went back to the customer with use cases (the Why).  Their utilization and profits skyrocketed.

Simon defines the “Why” in this famous Ted Talk.

Money is never the Why.  Really?  

Simon states the Why is never to make a profit.  Money is just a byproduct.  Money can be used to buy objects or create an emotion.   Those outputs are the Why.  Not the money.

Money may create the security that comes from not worrying about bills.  Money may foster the prestige from living in a mansion or driving a Bugotti.  Money may be an objective metric used to gauge progress for an over-achiever.

I understand Simon’s principle but I am struggling to see if it is true for sales people.

Money certainly creates security, fosters prestige and is a quantifiable metric.  But money does none of that for me.

There’s something about seeing an ever increasing commission statement that gives a great sense of accomplishment.  Is it the accomplishment that I seek?  No.  Because if I was the #1 rep in the company but didn’t make the money I desired, I wouldn’t be pleased.

Am I alone?  I’m seriously torn by this.  What do you think?

I would be honored if you would reply to this email and tell me if money is your Why.  If not, do you think money could be a Why – for someone else.  It may take me a few days but I will reply to every one of your emails.  I take your responses seriously.  

Podcast Peep Show – Smart Medical Sales Podcast with Saul Marquez

Since his first podcast, I was hooked on Saul Marquez’s interview style and the quick 30-minute format.  This week I was a guest on Saul’s Smart Medical Sales podcast where we talked about the keys to a successful, lucrative and rewarding Healthcare Sales career.

One of my go-to questions when meeting someone I’m trying to emulate is “what podcasts do you listen to?”  Here’s a peep into one of my favorite Healthcare Sales podcasts.  If you are a Medical Device Professional, you must subscribe to this podcast.

Smart Medical Podcast Interview Links

Podcast Interview Description

The Smart Medical Sales podcast is designed to provide listeners with the tips, tricks, and secrets to breaking into medical device sales. The medical device sales industry is a small niche of sales where you can make a very handsome living. By tuning into the show, you will be able to listen to helpful advice from Saul Marquez, a medical device sales professional who broke into medical device sales from the outside. The show will have theme based episodes as well as interviews so you can get on the fast track into medical device sales! Tune in to take your career and life to the next level!


Why PHI is 10 Times More Valuable Than a SSN on the Black Market

When you think of a hacker, you probably picture an un-showered, fat guy sitting in his parent’s basement trying to access your bank account.

But things have changed!

The days of the lone wolf bank account hacker are over. Yesterday’s bush league hackers have become today’s slick cyber criminals, and they are working together to wreak havoc on healthcare companies.

There are entire organizations devoted to running healthcare phishing, malware, and ransomware scams to get past cyber security systems and infiltrate personal health information (PHI). These groups have legit business models and they have the resources to determine if it’s worth the cost and time to access an organization’s data.

This model is working so well that cyber attacks in healthcare are on the rise in a major way. In 2016, 93 major cyberattacks hit healthcare organizations, up from 57 in 2015. A study by Redspin found that healthcare cyber attacks resulting in data breaches increased 320% from 2015 to 2016.

Why is Healthcare So Attractive to Hackers?

Well, turns out PHI is worth a pretty penny. In 2014, the FBI warned healthcare organizations that personal health data is worth 10 times the amount of personal credit card data on the black market. The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information.

People buy this information and use it to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold on the street. They also combine patient numbers with false provider numbers to file fake claims with insurers.

It can take providers or patients years to spot healthcare identity theft, giving criminals plenty of time to milk that information for as much cash as possible. In general, banks spot credit card fraud early on and freeze accounts, making credit card and financial data much less desirable.

On top of that, healthcare is – once again – behind the times when it comes to data safety. Most healthcare organizations use outdated computer systems that are easy to hack. Plus, new healthcare technology changes so quickly that security measures can’t keep up.

The cost of a data breach is not cheap. A 2016 study found that a data breach costs about $355 for every single stolen patient record. The average total cost of a data breach is about $4 million. That means it’s worth the upfront cost to invest in a security strategy that will keep data safe.

How Can Healthcare Organizations Keep Data Safe?

Cyber criminal rings run like a legit business. They take a look at the ROI before hacking a healthcare system to determine if the resulting payoff will be worth the time and energy it takes to steal PHI. If healthcare companies have strong security measures in place, they are less likely to get targeted.

There are a few measures all healthcare organizations can take to keep information safer. And, trust me, this applies to everyone. That means hospitals, doctor’s offices, surgeon’s offices, insurance companies – any type of organization that houses patient data – YOU!

As Healthcare Sales Professional, we come in contact with patient information every day. Some of us even have access to and store this data on our devices.

Here are a few things our customers should be implementing or contemplating implementing:

  1. Protect email accounts. Healthcare providers should use a tool that scans incoming email messages in real time in order to spot suspicious messages and filter them out before someone clicks a phishing link. On top of that, every employee should be aware of suspicious emails. If something seems a little “off,” they should know how to report it right away.
  1. Speaking of reporting…for the love of God, everyone needs some sort of security software or service in place. This is something that can be outsourced to a company or handled with healthcare security software. Tip: Be the kind of rockstar Medical Sales Rep who can recommend a way to handle this and talk about the pros and cons to different solutions.
  1. Back up your data regularly. This is one of the most important parts of a good cyber security strategy. If an organization has good back-up data, they don’t have to shell out millions to decrypt information and get that data back.
  1. Keep an eye on mobile. If staff members will be accessing data on a mobile device, healthcare providers should consider restricting access to critical data and systems. At the very least, they should invest in a centrally-controlled system so mobile devices can be wiped clean if they are stolen or compromised.

Why Should Healthcare Sales Professionals Care About Cyber Security?

In previous posts, we talked about questions that signal your investment in your customers business.

One of those questions is “how are you preparing for your first cyber attack?” Combined with the tips listed above will elevate you above the competition by demonstrating your more that just a “sales guy/gal”.

Do yourself a favor and ask your company how customer data is secured. If a clear plan is missing, be an advocate for your customers by pushing for improvements.

How to Navigate 2017 Healthcare Trends – Build New Solutions

Part 3 of 3

We are two full months into 2017, and it’s time to wrap up this series on 2017 healthcare trends and the impact to Healthcare Sales Professionals.

But first, let’s recap.

If you’ve been paying attention to the industry the past few years, you know that we’ve been talking about value-based care for a long time.

Too long.

But this will be the year that value-based care really hits the market.

How do I know that? I don’t. I’m not smart. I just read a lot of really smart people’s stuff and simplify it for you. This is how I learn.

I digress.

But, lots of research says 2017 is the year of value-based care. There are a few other signs pointing to the stickiness of the value-based bandwagon…

Thank You Thursday

Here are few things that I’ve found valuable this month and thought you may appreciate them too.
  • Book I finished:  Will you put the next 10 patients on my drug?  Punch me in the face.  Our companies spend millions of dollars on product training.  And…completely miss on closing skills.  I just finished James Muir’s new book The Perfect Close and incorporated his simple 2-step close into my routine.  James’ non-threatening and very effective close is the last one you will ever need.  For $2.99 on Kindle, you’d be foolish not to buy it.

  • Podcast I binge listened:  2017 is the year to elevate your presentation skills.  Michael Port’s Steal the Show Podcast offers a fast track to the skill set that will enable you to engage your listeners, manage your nerves, and give your message maximum impact in every situation.
  • Ah-ha moment:  Have you ever rented a car and pulled up to pump only to realize the gas cap is on the other side of the car?  Mathematically you have a 50/50 chance but – I feel like Cincinnati Reds Bill Bergen.  A detail-oriented colleague recently pointed out the arrow next to the fuel gauge indicating the gas cap location.  Well I’ll be darned.
  • I need your help:  I’m working on a big project and could use your input.  What is the hardest part of your job as a sales person?  What keeps you up at night?  Why don’t you jump out of bed in the morning?  If you reply to the email and share your heartaches and headaches with me, I’ll respond and let you in on this secret project.

How to Navigate 2017 Healthcare Trends – Innovate for Value

Part 2 of 3

If you’ve been paying attention to political news at all, you know that healthcare is under the microscope, big time. Or “big-league” according to President Twitter.

To help you navigate the 2017 healthcare trends and the “you-ja” changes coming our way when Obamacare/ACA is repealed, this is my second post about how to add value as a healthcare sales professional.