Don't be afraid to hire a new face
Q. Is it a good idea to hire a sales rep with no experience in our industry?
A. Usually, it makes sense to hire a sales representative who has experience selling your products and services. There's a good chance an experienced rep will be able to convert some of his or her referral sources to your business.
Also, a sales rep experienced in HME probably won't need as much training--but don't make the mistake of assuming he/she doesn't need any training. No doubt you have your own unique "brand" that differentiates your services from your competition. Even experienced sales reps should be well informed about your approach.
Does it ever make sense to hire from outside the industry? If you've interviewed sales reps experienced in HME and feel they aren't up to your standards, consider starting fresh, particularly if you can find an articulate sales rep that wants to break into medical-related sales. Obviously, you must be patient with this hire, but an enthusiastic candidate can succeed if you are confident that you can and will spend the time to train him/her properly. The new hire will come to you with no preconceived notions. In fact, having just landed in your world, he/she may well surprise you with astute observations that only an outsider can see. Sales reps with no experience in the industry may also accept lower salaries. Of course, once they demonstrate their value, by all means, reward them.
The bottom line is this: Experience is almost always a plus but every sales rep with experience in HME was once new to the industry. If the circumstances warrant a new face, don't be afraid to take the plunge.
Len Serafino is vice president, eastern division, of CHAD Therapeutics. Reach him at (615) 708-95-8 or email@example.com.