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11 Candid Healthcare Sales Lessons Explained by a Nurse

11 Candid Healthcare Sales Lessons Explained by a Nurse
Sales
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You’ve been in healthcare sales for years, but do you really know how to sell to the people who work in healthcare? Whether you are responding to a healthcare RFP or following up with a prospect early in the sales conversation, it takes finesse and commitment.

Michelle Katz is a well-known healthcare advocate, author, and nurse—and she is the Chief Health Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Communications at F1 HealthIT. Also known as Nurse Katz, Michelle has appeared on the “Real Money” segments of ABC World News Tonight in addition to the “Doc on a Dime” segment on The Doctors Show.

nurse katz

For the past 15 years, Michelle has seen the other side of the sales cycle, approached by countless salespeople from tech companies who wanted to sell their solution. Listen closely…what follows are 11 candid healthcare sales lessons told from a nurse’s perspective.

Healthcare Sales Lessons From a Nurse’s Perspective

1. Know What’s Important

Know what’s important to your prospect in terms of healthcare. At your prospect’s hospital, is their primary focus cancer patients or women’s health? Stick to their focus, rather than the whole scope.

2. Know Your Product

It may sound weird to say “know your product,” but I find a lot of salespeople come in and they really don’t know their product. If you know what’s important for the healthcare entity you’re pitching to—and you know your product—you can home in and not waste your time or their time.

3. Know the Personalities

Get used to the personalities so you learn what your prospect is comfortable with. Some clinicians are dead set against technology. I’ve seen doctors retire early because they don’t want to deal with new technology.

As I nurse, I can tell you if it’s more than one click, you have a lot of explaining to do. Truthfully, this complex, multi-click software of yours better be able to wash our scrubs at the end of the day.

4. Know the End Users

When deciding on a solution, bring key leaders from different departments together. A CIO might think a product is fantastic, then the doctors and nurses sit there and say: “This technology is not important to us.” Salespeople need to listen to the clinical folks, not disregard them.

5. Know Budget Cycles

You can be the best salesperson in the world, but you won’t even get in the door if you don’t know the hospital’s budget cycle. You might come in too late, when they have already budgeted for their year—or six years out, or even 15 years out. Unless they get a grant, or some big money falls in their lap, you’re done.

6. Know the Priorities

For almost any healthcare entity, everyone is ramping up their security. More hospitals are going to be hacked in the next five years than ever before, because ransomware is getting better and better. Now security is in the top three for hospital priorities, up there with HIPAA compliance and interoperability.

7. Know the Chief Medical Officers

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) positions are becoming increasingly popular. CMOs are the doctors and nurse leaders you need to include in decision-making conversations. If you don’t have the CMO’s consent, you will not move forward in the sales process. CMOs know exactly what kind of technology solutions they need to do their job.

8. Know the Background

Do a little bit of reading before you pitch something to show that you have an interest in the healthcare entity. I can’t tell you how many times a salesperson has pitched me something that we were already doing at our hospital. All they had to do was read our website to find that information.

Check content publication dates too—otherwise you might watch an old YouTube video and pitch a solution to a problem your prospect solved eight years ago.

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9. Know Their Value

Anyone who’s in the buying position in healthcare is often willing to listen to learn more about the solution you are selling. But, you have to be considerate of your prospect’s time, especially in the medical field.

Five minutes is very, very valuable for a clinician or a doctor who has patients to care for. You’ll get more respect if you take that into consideration and value their time.

10. Know Your Value Prop

What’s good for one person is not always good for another. No matter how fantastic you think your product is, think of what makes your product different and valuable for them.

What technology will appeal to the nurse who is the head of the maternity ward? What solution will work best for the ER doctor working 24/7? Show the value from a medical standpoint, which also means showing some knowledge.

11. Know the Commitment

I know you have deadlines, I can sniff out your sales goals a mile away, and I know when you want to sell anything you can or run. I just want you to educate me.

It’s not going to happen overnight—I may not have the budget this year, but your solution may be really interesting to me next year. If you stay on top of the latest regulations on Capitol Hill, educate me about new technology, and keep in touch with me, your product will be pushed to the top of the list.


Now you’ve seen the other side of the healthcare sales conversation. With RFPIO, your best content is always accessible and customizable. Start showing your organization’s value with more personalized healthcare RFP responses.

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