The Field Ride/Day In the Life of a Medical Device Sales Rep
Usually after a face-to-face interview with the manager, you’re going to do a field ride with one of the reps, it typically lasts all day or at least half a day.
A field ride gives potential candidates a “day in the life” of what the job will be like. Even though a manager won’t physically be there, they’ll have eyes/ears everywhere and they’ll tell the reps you’re riding with to give them a full report of how the day went.
It’s important to treat the field ride as you would an interview with the manager because on the field ride, the rep you’re shadowing becomes the decision-maker.
It’s important to be just as energetic and engaged with the rep as you would with the manager. In this chapter, I’ll break down the tips for winning your ride-along/ field ride with the rep you’re shadowing and advancing to the next round of the interview process which is the final Interview.
Here are some tips below to help you WIN the field ride part of the interview process.
Treat the rep like you would treat the hiring manager. The rep you’re shadowing will be the decision-maker for the day and you want to make sure you’re ready to go from the minute you meet until the minute the field ride ends.
This means being early, NOT on time, it’s important to remember the rep that you’re shadowing is going to be taking mental notes and will be reporting everything back to the manager that happens during the field ride.
Arriving early will show the rep that you’re serious when it comes to winning the job and it will set the tone for you to have a great field ride and ultimately close the rep/decision-maker for the next steps.
If you can build a report with the rep then it will make the field ride smoother and more engaging for you as the candidate. Ask the rep what the agenda will be during the field ride and what expectations should be.
Some reps will explain it but some will also be waiting for you to engage them and ask them what the game-plan is for the field day. Let your personality come out after you meet the rep and build a rapport with him/her.
Share your story with the rep and explain why you’re trying to join the organization and what your long-term goals are for your sales career. Listen to the rep when you’re getting advice on how to do the job effectively and how the rep has progressed with the organization and what tips he/she has for you on how to be successful at the job so you can become part of that top 10-20% of the sales-force.
This is important, the phone needs to be off, not silent but completely shut off. Part of engaging with the sales rep you’re shadowing in the field is having 110% attention to detail and it’s important to remember there are going to be eyes/ears everywhere that day when you’re in the field and texting/calling someone, while you’re on a field ride, is a cardinal sin in the manager’s eyes.
It’s also good etiquette to turn your phone off during the field ride, a rep could take it as a sign of disrespect if they see you texting/calling the majority of the time during the field ride.
Of course If you need to check on something for work or a personal/family situation, then simply ask the rep if you can excuse yourself to check for emergencies with work, etc.
Part of challenging the rep you’re shadowing is doing things like asking sophisticated questions about the company, products, and the job duties themselves. Step outside your comfort zone and make sure you’re doing your part during the field ride.
If you can get the rep to see that you’re more than just a sales candidate and you have an agenda because this is the job that you want, then they’ll be more inclined to open up to you and give you their endorsement to the manager as a solid candidate for their team.
If the rep you’re shadowing lets you sell to one of the call points during the field ride, or even lets you ask questions to one of the call points, you should definitely do it.
Do not be afraid to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and sell, it’s all part of the process, and remember if you honor the interview process it will give you a better chance to win the job.
It also gives you an opportunity to show the rep your selling skills and it gives you practice so if you get the job, you’ll have an idea of how the medical devices/services are sold and what techniques to use.
Remember the managers will have eyes/ears everywhere and if you pass on the opportunity to try and sell during the field ride, the manager will almost certainly find out about it and it could put a negative image of you in their head.
Even though you’ll be out of the office all day on a field ride, this is still an interview. It’s important to not let your guard down and stick to the professional script of interviewing.
Mostly everything you talk about with the rep during the field ride should be related to the company, products, job, etc. Be careful if the interview becomes conversational too.
Sometimes managers/reps will turn an interview into a conversational interview and they’ll wait for you as a candidate to slip up and say something that might turn them off.
It’s important to keep the interview professional because it will make you look good as a candidate and it will give you a better chance of winning the job.
Remember at this point in the interview process you’ve met with the hiring manager, shadowed a territory rep in the field, and experienced a “day in the life” of the job you’re hoping to WIN.
In order to advance to the next step of the interview process (usually the final interview); you need to close the sales rep the same way you’d close the hiring manager from your prior interview.
Make sure to ask the rep for a business card if they have one so you can send the rep a thank you email. Also, it’s important to note that you should get a recommendation from the rep so you can use that in your thank you email to the manager and the rep.
There are two different ways you can construct the thank you email for this part of the interview process. Some reps do one email and copy the rep and the manager on it, others do 2 separate emails.
There’s no perfect way to do it, and ultimately you want to do what makes you feel comfortable, but the important thing is that the email goes out to both decision-makers – the hiring manager and the rep you shadowed in the field.
Apply the same principles you used in your closing email to the manager but make sure to email both parties involved. Remember to close the rep and the manager again in the email.
Reiterate that this is the job for you and your day in the field with the rep validated that more.
Here’s an example closing email to the rep/manager – “Hi Steve and Derek – Derek thank you for having me in the field today and for making time to fit me in your schedule.
It was a great learning experience watching you sell the devices to the doctors and seeing you in action during our time together. Steve, I want to thank you for having me shadow your top rep Derek in the field today.
It was a pleasure meeting him, learning about his journey as a medical device sales rep, and visiting clients with him.
After shadowing Derek in the field and seeing a day in the life of one of your sales reps, I realize this is the sales position I want and this is the organization I want to join.
I want to thank you both again for having me and I look forward to the next steps of the interview process. I hope you both have a great rest of your week.”
- Are you prepared to see a “day in the life” and what the job entails that you’re interviewing for?
- Did you learn a lot from seeing how much activity the rep is doing everyday out in the field and what it takes to be successful as a medical device sales rep?
- Have you done your research on the sales rep you’re shadowing and have you prepared questions for that rep? Getting to know the rep’s story/journey and building a rapport with the rep is vital to moving forward in the interview process. Candidates must get the reps approval to move forward to the next step of the interview process.
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