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The Perils of Gatekeeping and Why You Should Take Rep Calls

Saying no to those calls could be costing you. Here’s how you could have your team leverage them to grow your practice.

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HOW DO WE learn about new treatments, toys, or what is going on in our industry as ODs? It’s either through CE, exhibit halls, social media platforms, friends, colleagues, or one of my favorite, our sales reps.

I asked my 7-year-old what a gate does. He said, “It is meant to keep people out.” I then asked why would we open the gate? His response was, “Mommy, so people can play with us.” This got me thinking about gatekeepers, which we all have in our practices for a number of reasons. I want to challenge you to think about what your team is instantly saying no to that could be costing you, and how you could have your team leverage that knowledge to grow your practice by giving what’s on the other side of that gate a few minutes.

We are at the center of an industry that is rapidly changing. I’ve had the honor of being in many meetings as one of a few ODs in a sea of industry reps. Believe me when I say that many of them are trying to figure out how to get around us because we are too slow to say ‘yes’ and love the word ‘maybe,’ which is a big detriment to our growth.

How we decide to keep up with all this change is up to us but if we view changes as a positive our teams will follow. I knew very early on that my sales reps gave me an advantage and an edge in my area. Think of what they get to do every day… They visit practice after practice and see who’s doing well, who’s staying current, who’s staff is happy and growing, and who is falling behind or stuck in their ways. Their perspective is worth more than we give them credit for or time to present.

We give every rep that comes in our door at least five minutes of our time, even in between patients. Yes, it is nice to have a scheduled time but even that five minutes adds up to exponential value over time. My team also knows that when a sales rep calls, I want to know who is calling and what it was about. This is how we have learned and continue to learn about so many new areas. It is also how we get team lunch and learns, on the job training, and how we continue to advance our practice.

Yes, I learned quickly I didn’t want to take every call or every opportunity, but I encouraged my team to take the call, take the demo and bring it as an idea to our weekly meetings. Showing my team that I value this process and involving them has made a huge difference in how we make decisions for the future. We have a form at the front desk with the date, the company, the sales rep, what the call was about and the action item we could take. You can download our Sales Interaction Tracker using the above QR Code.

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Gatekeeping is doing exactly what my 7-year-old said, it keeps people out, but reps have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share with our practices to help us continue to change and grow.

How can you involve your team to stay curious and say yes to sales calls? They might surprise you with what they find and how it can accelerate your practice and empower your team.

FAAO, FSLS is the co-founder and CEO of Dr. Contact Lens and owner of West Broward Eyecare in South Florida. She is passionate about healthcare technology, myopia management, specialty contact lens fits and practice management.

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