One of the things I have people private message me at least a couple of times a week with – is asking me how they should approach their doctor about potentially carrying their new MLM product. Now, I have been in private practice, and I have worked as an expert in the supplement industry, so I can look at this from both sides of the fence, and I will tell you , there is a definite RIGHT way to do this and a WRONG way to do this!
First, let’s start with some basics. You always stand better odds contacting doctors that you already have relationships with. Cold-calling doctors or just showing up in
their office isn’t going to be a good use of your time or theirs and is the activity most likely to turn them off of your opportunity. So, I highly recommend that you start by approaching the doctors that you have personally seen and who know you. Also keep in mind that many physicians have a no MLM policy in effect in their office. In some States, the medical board frowns upon doctors promoting anything in their office in which they have a financial interest (which is ironic, since an office in and of itself is a financial interest). Other doctors may be receptive to finding products which may help their patients, but they are absolutely not interested in creating business relationships with their patients (and this is another grey issue for many State medical boards). So tread carefully.
What NOT to do:
1. Don’t Cold-call or just show up in the doctor’s office expecting to be seen. That is the #1 sure-fire way to have your literature and product samples ’round-filed’. Make an appointment. Doctors all pay their office staff to intercept sales calls. Every office out there gets multiple calls a week of someone trying to sell them something, so just because you are excited about your product, it doesn’t mean the doctor will share that enthusiasm. In fact, if you want the doctors attention, offer to bring in lunch so you can present your opportunity to them and their staff. On this point: prequalify with the office manager that the doctor and key staff will be present for the lunch. You don’t want to drop money on salads or sandwiches and not have the decision-makers of the office present.
2. Don’t dive right into your ‘PITCH’. You have to solve a problem. You HAVE to keep in mind the doctor’s demographic. Ultimately, the doctor wants to help their patients. If you are selling a product that helps with erectile dysfunction, but 80% of the doctors patients are under 30 years old – then erectile dysfunction likely isn’t a big concern of the doctors. Before you ever delve into your ‘pitch’, you should ask the doctor questions. Lots of questions. Find out who is a typical patient, what are the most common health issues that they see, and what do they find people have a tough time dealing with or resolving. If you have done your job right, the doctor will be talking 80% of the time, and you will be talking 20% of the time. Once you have equipped yourself with this information, then you can solve the doctors’ problem. Everything you say and do should be centered on how your product can help the doctors patients and practice. Nothing else matters.
3. Don’t be insulting. I see this sales & marketing FAIL all of the time. People come into your office and try to tell you how their product is superior by knocking down other products, or worse – they come in armed with product literature that tries to ‘baffle you with BS’. Don’t expect that the doctor knows a lot about the ingredients that you may be discussing, but alternately, don’t assume that they are ignorant. You have to walk a fine line between being informational and educational without being condescending. When you take product literature to the doctor’s office, don’t give them everything you’ve got! Keep it simple and brief – so the doctor will actually read it. This also leaves you the opportunity to be able to offer them more detailed information when you follow-up.
What you SHOULD do:
1. Do your research. Before you ever make an appointment with your doctor, you should have paid attention during your personal office visits to see if they even carry nutrition. You should check their web pages too. Often that will tell you if they are receptive to nutritional supplementation, and if they are fixated on a specific brand. Some nutritionally focused doctors have been indoctrinated on one brand of supplements only and look disdainfully on all others. Supplements are like religion: it is a waste of your time to try to ‘convert’ anyone who has already closed their mind to alternatives.
2. Keep the ‘relationship’ in ‘relationship marketing’. The best way to see your doctor implement your product is to have them or their staff become PRODUCTS OF THE PRODUCT. If the doctor or one or more of their staff members can use your product successfully, then they have instantly developed their own testimonial and are far more likely to recommend your product to others. If you have a fantastic weight loss product, and you see during your presentation that the doctor is wafer-thin but their staff could all use to lose 30 lbs, then your ‘IN’ at that office may be to develop an in-office weight challenge for the staff so they can personally see how effective your product is.
3. Remember that doctors HATE the word ‘SALES’. I can unequivocally say that I have met very, very few doctors who admit that what they do on a day to day basis is SALES. Most would emphatically deny that they DO sales, and would be adamant in their distaste for all things SALES. Yes, it makes no sense, but it is the paradigm that they operate under. So for this reason, you have to be very careful on how you present the business opportunity. Yes, most doctors want to diversify the potential revenue sources in the office. No, they don’t want to give up ‘doctoring’ to become ‘sales people.’ If your opportunity can provide the doctor with a passive source of income for which they don’t have to aggressively pursue patients – so much the better. Remember what I said at the beginning of this post, about some medical boards not being receptive to MLM companies? In many States, the doctor may have to personally become an ambassador or distributor, then make their practice one of their clients or vendors. That way they can sell patients the products, but they are not promoting the business opportunity to patients. This eliminates much of any potential legal liability if patients only have the option of purchasing the products as retail or preferred customers
4. Communicate a plan for follow-up. Make sure the doctor and their staff knows when you will be following up. That way they can read any literature, try any samples that you may leave, or prepare themselves with any questions they may have. Be very specific about this timeline if you want a specific answer. Don’t say, “I will follow-up with you next week”. That is vague and creates no urgency. It is far better to say, “I will call you Thursday morning at 10 am to see what questions you may have for me and see how you did with those samples.”
The key to success is not to be emotional. Be professional and considerate, and whether the doctor loves or hates your product, leave a good impression. Even if they are not interested in the product or the opportunity, you want them to feel confident that it is a safe and effective product for their patients, because sooner or later one of their patients will ask them whether they should be taking that product, and if you’ve done your job, the doctor will have no problem giving their approval to the patient regardless of their financial involvement. Lastly, keep in mind, that most high-commitment sales involve 4 points of contact. Rarely will people give you a definitive YES or NO with your first contact. Again we come back to the ‘relationship’ in ‘relationship marketing’. Build a relationship with these doctors. Even if they say no now, that doesn’t mean that will always be their answer. If you come across an interesting article that supports an ingredient in your product, mail it to them with a little personal note. If you present yourself as a problem solver, you can’t help but to succeed.
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