Why you can’t sell to the NHS in an email

One of the biggest challenges for sales reps in the pharmaceutical industry is to get through the door and get in front of the NHS client themselves.

It is one of the key reasons people engage our services. Try as they might to get that elusive first appointment, they’re not getting anywhere fast. They are putting in the hours sending email after email and know they’ve got a great product that could make a huge difference for their prospective client. But no-one’s listening to what they’ve got to say.

So, what’s getting in the way of their success?

Simple. Poor communication.

Improve how you communicate to nail that first meeting

When it comes to sales, the way many people approach selling to the NHS isn’t great. A major factor that often stands in the way of people securing the critical meeting they desperately need is an inability to communicate clearly and compellingly.

They send through lengthy, detailed emails and expect the customer to wade through that and work out what it is that they’re trying to communicate. Our prospective clients simply don’t have time for that. So they switch off, lose interest and move to the next email. Think about it. When we’re already busy, anything that isn’t a priority and feels too ‘hard’ to deal with just gets pushed to one side.

Secure that appointment in one effective email

How do you communicate so people will listen?

  1. Have a clear subject line – something that shows how you will help make life better for them.
  2. Start your email with the problem you solve for your client – in language they will understand.
  3. Make it short, to the point, make it crystal clear what message you are trying to get across. Be transparent and don’t be tempted to hide your message away.
  4. Make it relevant to them – that way they will pay attention to what you have to say.

We all know how much pressure the NHS is under. They have way too much workload and not enough workforce to handle that, so everything comes down to the point of how your pharmaceutical, med-tech or device project is going to support them, and make life better.

Address their pain points and how you can ease them

Will you help:

  • avoid people coming into general practice?
  • cut referrals?
  • reduce admissions?
  • reduce the length of stay?
  • reduce the number of times the patient needs to be seen?

Whatever it may be, the problem you solve – the problem that is relevant to your client – always needs to sit up front in the message you communicate.

Don’t over complicate your message

Always keep in mind that the only goal of the email contact is to get an appointment to talk to a healthcare professional, about the product or service or both. You might solve 50 different problems with your projects, but when you try to communicate all of that in one email, you risk overwhelming or confusing people.

Keep it relevant to the client

Likewise,  your prospective client will not care what your role is, what territory you cover, or the fact that your company has been running for 100 years, they don’t need to even know what the product is at this stage. They just need to see the problem that you are going to solve for them. Save the rest for when you meet in person.

You need two or three compelling sentences to get the message across, to enable you to secure an appointment.

Don’t try and sell in an email

Here’s the thing. You can’t sell anything on email. We have seen companies that send lengthy emails, packing in every product detail, and expecting customers to know what they want them to do with that information.

Remember – Our only goal is to get through the door and have an appointment with the customer, so make the email message about that.  Two or three sentences that nail the messages clearly, targeting the right customers.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you’d like to discuss any of the points raised in this article.

Scott McKenzie helps pharmaceutical, medical technology and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision-makers. If you want to get your products fully embedded into treatment pathways, we can help you. We’ve doubled revenue for our clients and can share these processes with you too. Download your free guide: Click here

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