Avoid this Booby Trap if You Want to Break Into Medical Sales

Part 3 of 4

I spend a lot of time working with young people who are eager to break into the medical sales industry.

I’ve noticed a lot of people working a contract sales gig think this experience will lead to a full-time position as a Medical Sales Representative.

I hate to break it to you – if you’re not careful, it can be a career ending booby trap.


Why a contract sales gig wont help you break into Medical Sales

Recently, I received a call from a Rachel.  Rachel is a eager, hardworking millennial woman who is working as a 1099 sales contractor.

Rachel was ticked!  She was upset the pharmaceutical company co-promoting her product wouldn’t even consider her for a full-time W2 job.

If “contract sales” is a new concept to you, let me explain.  Pharmaceutical Company A develops a new drug.  The success of the product largely depends on sales and marketing.  But, salespeople are expensive!

What happens if the product bombs?  What happens if unforeseen side effects impact sales?  FDA hiccups?  Insurance companies won’t pay?  Any of these can kill a product.

Rather than taking the risk of hiring a bunch of new sales reps, Pharmaceutical Company A contracts with Company B to use their sales reps to promote the new drug.  If the product isn’t as successful – Company A breaks the contract with Company B.  Company A doesn’t have to worry about negative publicity from layoffs and cost of severance.

But here’s what Rachel didn’t understand – her contract job didn’t give her the experience she needed to transition into a full-time sales gig.

Sure, Rachel’s title was Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. But she had never spoken with the hiring manager – not even through email or a phone call!  This is a huge downside of contract sales. A full-time position in Medical Sales requires face time and collaboration with the co-promoting District Manager and the local Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives.

As a 1099 contractor, Rachel was responsible for making calls and providing samples to her prospective doctors. She was compensated for this work, but her interactions with physicians in her territory were also limited.

As we talked through her work experience, it quickly dawned on Rachel why she wasn’t being considered for a full-time position.

Her business card said “Pharmaceutical Sales Representative,” but her responsibilities were that of a FedEx delivery person. All she did was drop off samples at the front desk of the physician’s office.

How to transition from a contracted 1099 to a full time W2 employee

If you’re in contract sales, don’t get too down on yourself – yet. It’s possible to transition to a full-time medical sales job, but you have to approach it from a different angle.

Your experience alone won’t be enough to get you hired in this competitive marketplace. Here are some tips for getting your first full-time sales gig:

  • Develop relationships. Start getting in touch with local reps and district managers.  Develop those relationships through constant contact. The key is to make it worth their while to stay in touch with you.  Provide them with market intel about offices that accept samples, competitors’ actions, and anything that may be important for them to know.
  • Don’t stop at the front desk. Administrators and other staff will try to keep you from meeting physicians. You can’t blame them – just imagine how many reps try to make contact with their physicians every day. The best thing you can do is continue pushing to develop a personal relationship with the physician. The more physician relationships you have in a territory, the better chance you’ll have of landing a W2 job.
  • Know the market and business. Too many people want to break into Medical Sales just for the benefits – good salary, flexible work arrangements, and the chance to make a difference in patients’ lives. You have to make it clear that you understand the market and you can bring value if a company brings you on in a full-time role.  How has the Affordable Care Act impacted your market?  What are your customers doing to prepare for value-based care?  Which payers are covering your product and which are causing problems?  How do you plan to address each of these areas?  Learn about larger healthcare issues and explain why that’s important to the local District Managers.

Money, freedom and fulfillment are just a few benefits of Medical Sales.

If you want to learn more about how you can break into Medical Sales, check this out.

4 Reasons Why Millennials Crush It in Healthcare Sales

Part 2 of 4

Millennials get a bad rap.


But the Baby Boomers who trash Millennials, hate their jobs and are exhausted from overwork. No wonder they’re miserable!

Sure, most adults ages 18 to 34 played on t-ball teams where everyone got a trophy and grew up being praised by adults for every move they made.


But all that’s in the past now that they’ve have reached adulthood. Millennials have mortgages, car payments, spouses, and kids of their own!

As it turns out, Millennials now make up one-third of the American workforce.


The thing is, most Millennials aren’t satisfied at traditional companies with 9-to-5 hours and little flexibility. That’s why a job in Healthcare Sales is a great career for this generation.

Here are four reasons why Millennials love and excel at a Healthcare Sales Representative job:

  1. Millennials crave balance. Most Millennials spent their first years of adulthood in college, enjoying some downtime (and partying, of course) before entering the workforce. During this time, they learn that working yourself into the ground only results in burnout and a negative attitude about your job and life.

Work-life balance leads to happiness. And happiness results in a 12% spike in productivity, according to this study. Healthcare Sales is the ultimate career for workers seeking balance. You can make your own hours, work remotely, and take some time off when necessary.

  1. Millennials understand todays healthcare buyer. Today’s buyers (doctors using your drug, surgeons using your device or administrators buying your technology are “buyers”) are empowered with unlimited information. They are more connected than ever through mobile platforms and social networks. Before they buy a product, they research the salesperson, the company and product reviews online. They communicate through mobile devices and they don’t want to wait hours for a response.

Modern healthcare buyers want convenience, efficiency, and to be treated as a partner. Millennials understand the buying cycle and the needs of modern buyers because they are modern healthcare buyers. This understanding helps Millennials achieve fast success in the healthcare sales field.


  1. Millennials respond well to feedback. Remember that stuff about the t-ball trophies and constant praise? Millennials also grew up craving feedback about their performance. The cost to train and entry-level pharmaceutical sale representative is $18,300 according to this article. That’s what a company spends before you ever bring in one dollar in sales. District Sales Managers offer plenty of critique on what’s working and where reps can improve – exactly what Millennials crave.
  2. Room for advancement. Healthcare companies are prominent on the current Fortune 500 list. On top of that, healthcare sales make up about 18 percent of the GDP. There is plenty of room for advancement in this industry, and a Healthcare Sales Representatives is in a great position to move up.

This is exactly what Millennials are after – this generation is not filled with people who will be satisfied working the same job until retirement. A career in sales provides experience from a customer’s perspective and exposure to multiple departments in the company. This work experience comes in handy when Millennials are ready to move up or out of a company.

Oh and here’s an added bonus

Healthcare Sales people typically make more money than any other part of the organization with similar educational background. They also make more money than their peers in different industries.

Money, freedom, recognition from a rewarding career – sounds pretty sweet, right?  No wonder Millennials crush it!

If you want to learn more about how you can break into Healthcare Sales, check this out.

Why Healthcare Sales is the Best Job on the Planet

Part 1 of 4

For most college recent graduates, money isn’t everything – but it’s an important thing! And from that perspective, healthcare sales is an awesome business to be in.

According to a 2016 medical sales study by MedReps.com, the average medical sales representative salary is more than $145,000 with a base salary of $88,038.

That’s serious coin!

Not bad for one of your first jobs out of college.

But money isn’t everything and there are other benefits of Healthcare Sales jobs.

Making a difference

Most of us want freedom and fulfillment on top of the ability to make a good living.

Ask people who have been working for a while if they’ve been able to find freedom and fulfillment – seriously, ask!

You don’t have to, you know the answer.

In another MedReps study, sales professionals cited “making a difference” as one of the top reasons why they enjoy working in healthcare sales.

Healthcare Sales Representatives provide life-saving medicine, devices, test and software to medical professionals and patients who need help.

During my career, I’ve helped countless patients receive the care they need by getting doctors and nurses the products they need.

And sometimes, I’m the only person who can help when a they’re in a bind.

That’s exactly what happened right before Christmas a few years ago.

It was 2 days before Christmas and I was wrapping up my last overnight business trip of the year.  I was ready to get a good night’s sleep (I took an Ambien to make sure of it!) and get my holiday plans started. But before my head hit the pillow, I received a frantic call from a customer.

She forgot to order chemotherapy drugs for a patient who would be coming in for treatment on Christmas Eve. Tomorrow!

To make it worse, the practice would be closed on Christmas and the following two days.  Going without a life-saving chemo treatment that long wasn’t an option.

I immediately climbed out of bed and got to work. I called my company’s Chief Operating Officer in Alabama.  He drove to the warehouse to gather up the chemotherapy the patient needed. The COO handed those drugs off to my counterpart who couriered them from Dothan, AL, to Memphis, TN. I drove more than seven hours to meet him in Memphis and continued on another four hours to Fort Smith, AR.

10:00am on Christmas eve morning, I walked into the clinic and handed my customer the drugs she needed – just in time for the patient’s treatment.

It was a brutal night for me!  But I felt great knowing that a deathly ill patient would be getting a life-saving cancer treatment because of my effort.

A sales gig doesn’t get more fulfilling than that!


Freedom without the risk

It’s tough to find a job that gives you freedom and flexibility, but doesn’t require you to take on a big risk.

If you land a job in Healthcare Sales, you won’t work the traditional 9-to-5.

You’ll work hard!  You’ll put in long hours!  But often, those hours will be on your terms. You’ll have the freedom to work from coffee shops, hotels, or even your car.

Of course – you might find yourself driving through the night, across multiple states, so your customers can treat their patients. But that beats sitting in a cubicle staring at a blank wall for 40 or 50 hours a week!

Healthcare is a secure industry with expenditures making up 18% of Gross Domestic Product. Although it’s always changing, the healthcare industry isn’t going away. If you hit your numbers and work hard, you’ll always be able to find a job in healthcare sales.

Money, freedom, and fulfillment are just a few benefits of healthcare sales.

If you want to learn more about how to break into Healthcare Sales, check this out.  Be sure to join the waiting list to receive info about a FREE 3 part Healthcare Sales 101 mini video course launching November 7th.

Proven Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Professionals

First, I’m so sorry for being absent over the last 3 months.  I recently stepped into a new role and have been heads down focused.  I just haven’t had the time to devote to weekly writing but promise that I’ll be back July 1!

In the mean time, I wanted to provide an ebook by our friends at LinkedIn on proven strategies from some of the world’s top sales professionals – and at least one knuckle dragging sales guy…


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We’re All in Sales – Like It or Hate It

I reluctantly rolled back on a bench at my local YMCA at 5:05am Friday.  I returned home to Nashville at 11pm the evening before completing a 4-day bender of a business trip.  I was now preparing for one of those “check the box” workouts.

As I stretched, delaying the inevitable workout, I heard the ring of my phone through my ear buds.  When I pulled the phone from my pocket, the caller ID glowed “Unavailable.”  My heart stopped – the only person who disguised their phone number and would call at 5am was my mom.  This is bad.  I answered, “Ma, what’s wrong?!”

After what felt like a full minute elapsed, I heard the sweetest motherly British accent say “Uh, Um, Mr. Crowley – I found your healthcare sales mentor website and I must learn to flog a techie product.”  (Insert awkward pause.)  “Excuse me, my name is Emma Doubtfire.”

Ok, that’s not Mom and what did she say?

After an hour of listening to a dialect so thick that I felt like she was speaking Mandarin, I figured out Emma’s problem.

First, she didn’t calculate time zones properly.

Second, Emma (not her real name) is a product owner for an Electronic Medical Records company in the UK.  She was previously a Practice Manager at a dental practice for 20 years.  After she successfully implemented the EMR into her practice, she was recruited by the company and was hired as a subject matter expert.

To date, her job was to conduct demos of the software to leads provided by the outside sales team.  Recently, management informed her that she would receive a quota and would be responsible for flogging – British for selling.


Emma was petrified!  During our conversation, she toggled between anxious nervousness when contemplating a quota then dove into a depressed state as we discussed her fear of rejection.

After she calmed down I asked a series of questions:

  • How do you convince your husband to do things he is resistant to do?
  • When you were a practice manager, how did you convince your doctors to give up the comfort of paper charts for an EMR?
  • In life and work, what is the greatest barrier you face when trying to convince people to change?
  • How do to get stubborn people to see things through your lens?

As we talked about life and work, she began to see that our success boils down to our ability to motivate others.  As much as I wanted to deliver the punch line, I refrained.

After several hours, the light bulb went off – “Brilliant!  We’re all in sales, whether we like it or not!”

Some people sign up for our line of work because they enjoy the thrill of the sale.  I withstand the constant rejection knowing when I win, the victories are so much more meaningful and rewarding.

Others loathe selling and salespeople.  They believe it’s beneath them.  They think of sales as sleazy and slimy.  That mindset is antiquated and is rooted back to when salespeople were in control.

In the past, when a buyer wanted information on a product – they had to go through the salesperson.  Today’s buyer is empowered with unlimited information about our product, our company and our people.  They are socially connected and networked sharing their experiences – both positive and negative.

The sleazy salesman with slicked back hair and pit stains is no longer effective because buyers can cut them out of the buying process.  The good news for the rest of us is that image will continue to dissipate as today’s salesman evolves.

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So how do you get comfortable with selling when you’ve never be trained, held a quota or dealt with constant rejection?  Here are three ways to overcome sales anxiety:

  1.  Read – Some of the greatest business minds in the world spend years putting all their thoughts and advice in a book.  You can absorb decades of their experience in a few hours. Here is a list of my must read sales books and what’s on my to-read list.
  2.  Make rejection a goal – When I began this website, my goal was to get a hater.  I knew that if my message was heard by enough people, eventually I’d find a troll that wouldn’t like my message and hide under the anonymity of the Internet.  By making a negative outcome a goal, I was excited the day I received my first hate mail because I was reaching enough people with my message.
  3.  Focus on problem finding rather than problem solving – Old school sales trainers attempt to persuade new sales reps into believing they aren’t salespeople – they’re problem solvers.  This comes from a sales technique whereby the rep asks a litany of questions to prospective buyers to elicit a particular pain point.  When the buyer sites a pain point addressed by the product, the rep demonstrates how product is the perfect cure.  Here’s the problem, buyers know what you’re doing.  They’ve lived with that pain point and found workarounds.  Worst yet, your competition was just in the office claiming to solve the same pain point even better, faster or cheaper than your product.  Spend time learning the customer’s business.  Dig deep to find the customer’s hidden problems.  Look for problems in the unforeseen future.  Seek to understand the problems of the whole organization, not just the buyer.

The ability to find real problems is a skill Emma brings to the table that her competition could never provide.  As a subject matter expert she has insight that would take years for a “salesperson” to develop.

If you’re new to sales or just got handed a quota, embrace it.  You’ve done this before – you just didn’t realize it.  Or maybe you didn’t want to admit it.

So how’d Emma get my phone number?  LinkedIn.  Check out this post on keeping your contact info up-to-date in LinkedIn.

If you found this helpful, please share it or comment below.  If you didn’t, let me know that as well.  It would help me hit my hater quota!

Must Read Sales Books

This is a dynamic look at my favorite sales books.  How do I determine if they are my favorite?  The number of times I listen to them.  Each one has been listened to numerous times.

New to Sales?  Contemplating a career in sale?

TJPTJPThe Joshua Principle by Tony Hughes

Illustrates the effort and desire that goes into being a sales professional.  Read if contemplating a profession in sales.





To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

Embracing sales and how to avoid sales clichés.  Read after going through sales training.




Breaking down the sales process…


 The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeff Gitomer

Breaks complex sales processes down to easy to understand nuggets and how to use them for success.





The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

Understanding the inner motives of buyers and sellers and how to create alignment between the two.





80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall

How to focus on what moves the needle fastest.  This was a particular weakness of mine.






Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Move beyond features and benefits and learn how to craft a unique and inspiring sales message.





The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson et al

Based on comprehensive study of sales professionals that identifies what the best reps do to separate from the pack.



Classic sales books that withstand the test of time…


Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Plan for success.  The first audio book I ever listened to on self-improvement and I’ve listened to it dozens of times since.




 HTWFHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Title explains it all.  Sales is about changing people’s beliefs and habits.  This book shows you how.




Here’s my to-read (listen) list:

 3VCThree Value Conversations by Tim Riesterer

I heard the author on a podcast and really enjoyed his science backed insight.







Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

I’ve seen PowerPoint kill an audience and want to learn how to present in the new millennium.





Jab, Jab Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve listened to Gary Vee’s podcast for years and I want to understand how this man prints money.





The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

Recommended by Ralph Barsi whom I follow and enjoy on Twitter.



The “Weed Out Course” for the Subpar Sales Person

Ask anyone with a professional degree about their “weed out” class in college and you’re bound to hear…

  • Med School – Organic Chemistry
  • Engineering – Calculus II or Intro to Mechanical Engineering
  • Law School – Civil Procedure or Contracts

Weed out courses are unofficially designed to be ridiculously difficult and force students to reconsider advancing within a specific degree track.  They are a sneak peek of the effort required to receive a degree in a desired field.

So what’s the weed out course for the subpar sales person?

In a profession with misconceived prerequisites of having a “good personality” or being “well spoken”, there’s nothing designed to help people understand the level of skill and effort that goes into being a true sales professional.


Sales doesn’t require an advanced degree or a professional certification – (I hope to change that in the future).

Rarely do training programs force candidates through the psychological rigors required to be successful in sales.

No college class can prepare you for the day your manager says, “I like you, but if you don’t hit quota next month- you need to find a different job.”

Of the 479 accredited business programs in the US – only 101 have sales based curriculum. Until universities recognize the need for intensive sales based programs, The Joshua Principle is the best alternative to a “weed out” class for the subpar sales person.

Author Tony Hughes masterfully weaves a fictional storyline about a struggling rookie salesman and his secret mentor with concepts behind the RSVP SellingTM framework:

Relationships:  Do you have the right business relationships with the right people at the right level of the organization?  Do your relationships garner the intelligence and insight that your competition lacks?

Strategy:  Do you have an effective strategy building the right relationships and understanding the competition (both internal and external).  The scariest competitor is often the threat of complacency – the customer doing nothing.

Value:  Features and benefits are not value.  Have you utilized the intelligence gleaned from your relationships with the right people to create compelling business value?  Have you demonstrated the cost of doing nothing?  Have you convinced the customer that lowest price is not best value?

Process:  Do you know the customers buying process?  What is their process for evaluating, selecting, approving and procuring the ideal product?  How do they asses risk with your product/service?  Has the customer validated your implementation process?


These concepts are far from novel but are often overlooked or skipped by even the most senior of sales professionals.

The barrier to entry for sales jobs is almost nonexistent.  Yet the skills, effort and mental fortitude needed to become an elite sales professional is unmatched by any other profession. The storyline of The Joshua Principle holds your undivided attention while articulating the energy required to become a Sales Master.

The Joshua Principle is my default book recommendation for anyone thinking about a career in sales.

3 Reasons New Years Resolutions are Worthless

Did you know…

Why is it so difficult to stay committed?

3 Reasons New Years Resolutions Are Worthless


Truth is that I failed at goal setting for years.  Every New Years I’d write down some vague and lofty goals.  Lose weight.  Make more money.  Get a promotion.

I’d throw the paper in a drawer and set out to conquer the world.  Months later I’d come across the same piece of paper tucked in my drawer and realize I was no closer to accomplishing any of my goals and often had gone in reverse.

A few years ago, I set out to understand the psychology of effective goal setting.  After reading dozens of books, I realized there were 3 reasons I failed:

  1. Neglect to reflect – While the ability to not dwell on the past is a redeeming character trait, reflection does serve a purpose.  A Harvard study showed that we learn more from reflecting on our past than the experience alone.  I like to reflect because it helps me connect motivation to a goal.  By thinking about the embarrassment of taking my my shirt off at the pool last June, I’m able to find the motivation to get into the gym and lose 20 pounds before our spring break trip to the beach.
  2. Lack of a process – We’ve all heard about setting SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result-oriented, Time-bound.  While this is the beginning of a system, I needed an in-depth framework that asks questions to draw out the motivation behind setting goals.  I wanted a repeatable process to guide me from reflection to setting motivational big picture goals and then help me break it down into SMART increments.
  3. Absence of a tracking tool – I find it difficult to stay on task with all the distractions of life.  In the beginning, I neglected to write down my goals (see why this is important in this post).  Once I began documenting my aspirations, I struggled to keep them top of mind.  I need a honing beacon to keep me focused on the big picture and avoid the minutia that adds little value.

Despite countless books and articles about the importance of setting goals on quality of life, I couldn’t find any goal setting systems that fit my needs.  Over time, I developed my own process for creating and tracking goals and I want to share it with you.

Since I’ve begun creating/using this system 5 years ago, I’ve accomplished more than the previous 20 years.  If you follow this process, I’m confident you’ll be able to achieve your wildest goals.

Click here to download the 7 Steps to Mastering Your Destiny Workbook.


If you download the 7 Steps to Mastering Your Destiny, you’ll find one “Key to Success” is recruiting and involving other people in your dream.  There is a direct correlation to the number of people involved in your goal and the probability of success.  Not only does developing constituents provide additional insight and assistance, it increases accountability.  You’ll be less likely to lose sight of your goals if others are checking in on your progress.  So, I’d like to involve you in my goals for this year.

In my previous post, I talked about my goal of earning 10x in the next 10 years – this is a component of my own BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal.

Here are two of my “Stories”:

  1.  As a business leader, I will increase my knowledge and become an industry expert by consuming 1 book per week.
  2.  As a Healthcare Sales Professional, I will develop meaningful relationships based on value by helping others achieve their goals through blogging about my reading.

Here are my top “To-Do’s”:

  1.  Upgrade audible.com membership from Gold to Platinum package by 1/1/16
  2.  Reserve 6-8am every Saturday mornings for blogging 1/1/16
  3.  Attend a personal development emersion seminar 4/1/16
  4.  Enroll and complete Bryan Harris’s 10k Subscribers Series in May 2016
  5.  Increase www.justjohncrowley.com subscribers to 100,000 by 12/31/16

I’m telling you about my goals because it will keep me accountable when I want to take a break.  When I don’t feel like thinking through the correlation between a book and my business, I’ll remember that I made this declaration.  I hate not meeting an obligation so I’m enlisting your help to keep me accountable.

Question: So tell me, what’s your BHAG? Send me an email at john@diversifyhealthcare.com and I’ll check back to make sure you’re staying strong. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If You Want to Increase Your Income 10x, Read This Before New Years Day

I always blow out my personal budget during the holiday season.

Regardless of how much I commit to staying on plan during the holidays, I always make poor spending decisions.  I’ll spend way too much on my kids, book an extra vacation with Amy or splurge on a suit that’s “on sale”.  Every year, it’s the same story.

This year I’m changing my approach.  Rather than hone my budgeting skills, I’m going to increase my income.  By December 23, 2025, I will earn 10x more than I did in 2015.

What’s the secret to earning 10x in 10 years?


I just finished reading, What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School. Author Mark McCormack writes about a decade long goal setting study done with Harvard MBA students.

McCormack describes a 1979 study where interviewers asked recent Harvard MBA graduates about their goal setting habits.  Here’s what they found:

  • 84% had not set goals.
  • 13% had goals but lacked documentation.
  • 3% had well defined goals and committed their goals to paper.

Ten years later, in 1989, researchers followed up with the same students.  Check this out:

  • The 13% of students that had undocumented goals earned 2x more than the 84% without goals.
  • The 3% of students who committed their goals to paper earned 10x more than the other 97% combined!

So why don’t people commit to writing down their goals?

I believe there are two reasons:

  1. We don’t believe it matters. See above for the reason why that mindset is incorrect.
  2. We are afraid to fail.

We live in a society where the simple reference of failure makes people sweat. We wordsmith “fail” out of our vocabulary to give people a sense of optimism. We babysit ourselves with terms like fell short, insufficient and could do better.

As a result, our fear of failure fosters a lack of commitment to big goals. We falsely think avoiding commitment to big goals prevents failure.

I believe not using the word “fail” makes us weak. Rather than empower people, it provides a false sense of safety for the ignorant. Avoiding honest dialogue forces the keen to change the altitude of their goals.

This year I challenge you to dream big. Shoot for something only your mother thinks you’re capable of achieving.  Increase your income so much that you no longer have to budget for anything.

Do yourself a favor right now, open your calendar and block off 4 hours next week for “Goal Setting”.

Next Monday 12/28/15, I’ll share the goal setting process I have followed for the last 5 years and will give you resources to prepare yourself for your best year yet!

7 Steps to Master Your Destiny Workbook Cover

One of my 2016 goals is to reach 100,000 people with my blog.  If you like what you’ve read, click here to have these nuggets delivered directly to your inbox once a week. I would be grateful if you helped me hit 100,000 by sharing this with your colleagues.  I know you’re reading this now and thinking I’ll never know if you share it but I will – please, share it on LinkedIn.  I may not be Santa but I know when you share it and I know when you don’t!


How to Take a Professional LinkedIn Headshot Using a Smartphone

Want a good laugh?  Spend a few hours looking at the LinkedIn profiles of Healthcare Sales Professionals.  It’s shocking.

We make a living knowing that we only get one chance at a first impression.   Our customers are engaging with our online profiles before they ever sit down to meet.  Yet many of us have awful, some blatantly inappropriate, LinkedIn head shots.

A professional photo shoot can set you back hundreds of dollars.  However, with a little planning and advice, you can take a professional looking LinkedIn headshot using a smartphone.


Admittedly, I was once a LinkedIn headshot offender.  It wasn’t until someone called me out that I took notice.  Let’s check out my first LinkedIn headshot…




My amateur photoshopping skills make my daughter’s dress look like a doily draped over my shoulder.   If you’re trying to figure out whether the pattern in the background is from a funeral home curtain or my grandmother’s couch – both are wrong.  The point – all the stuff in the picture takes the focus off me.  It also says that I don’t care enough about my own brand to take a professional headshot.



Below are the 7 Deadly Sins of LinkedIn Headshots.  If you’re guilty of any of the following, strongly consider taking a new photo:

  1. Glamour shots – Employers don’t want to hire an ex-underwear model no matter how good you look in your Fruit-of-the-Looms.  Wind swept hair just doesn’t belong on LinkedIn.
  2. Group shots – You’re a family man and have adorable kids – that’s fantastic.  Keep the pictures of your family on Facebook.  LinkedIn is a professional network.
  3. Cropping – You looked amazing at your best friends wedding but the bridesmaid’s arm in the background takes the attention away from you.  I’ve seen a few cropped photos that work but you must get any sign of other people out of the frame.
  4. Trophy shots – Posing with dead animals is never acceptable.  Don’t do it, ever.
  5. Star stalking photo – No matter your political stance or how much you love Donald Trump, star selfies are no good.
  6. Cluttered backgrounds – While the grey, blue or library backdrop from your elementary school pictures aren’t great, it’s better than standing in front of a wall covered in pictures that take the attention away from you.
  7. No picture at all – People are 11 times more likely to accept your LinkedIn invitation in you have a picture.  Don’t be a grey silhouette.

To help you look like a pro on a rookie’s budget, I worked with a professional photographer to develop the guide below on How to Take a Professional Headshot Using Your Smartphone.  Click the image to download the free guide.




Now that you have a professional photo, use it everywhere – it’s your personal brand.  You’ll be shocked how many people will recognize you in public when you use an up-to-date and professional headshot.



One of my 2016 goals is to reach 100,000 people with my blog.  If you like what you’ve read, click here to have these nuggets delivered directly to your inbox once a week.  I would be eternally grateful if you helped me hit 100,000 by sharing this with your Healthcare Sales colleagues.