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Anyone else super annoyed by medical device sales reps?

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  • Anyone else super annoyed by medical device sales reps?

    Throughout residency I saw many of my attendings have good relationships with sales reps and it seems like that is also the case with my partners in private practice. Personally though, I just can't get over how annoying I find them. They all feel like cringey fake friends who often say the most ridiculous things thinking we doctors are all the same.

    For example, I had a meeting with a rep and his idiot sidekick for a device we have in our office the other day. Not only did they not try to get to know me at all, they just assumed I was immediately their buddy and start acting all bro-ey in their manner and topics of conversation: the typical wife complaining, golf talk, and inevitable ************************ jokes. I wish I could say this is an exception, but I generally find this to be similar for reps I have met for other products in other regions of the country.

    As we were walking to our cars, I realized we were parked by each other and I casually mention "don't judge me, I'm not quite driving the typical surgeon car", and before I think he registered that, he goes on about how he's "not sure a patient can really trust or respect a doctor who drives a beater." This, right as I walk up to my 2005 Accord! What a pompous POS.

    Also, apparently one of the sales reps at the hospitals I have privileges at just quit over the COVID vaccination mandate. Good riddance. I found him to be equally annoying.

    End rant.

    Any of you have similar experiences you want to share?

  • #2
    I found everything here to be humorous, from your post to your avatar. They must grow reps differently in Minnesconsin. I’d never agree to see them again if they pulled that $hit with me, but I haven’t seen that level of stupidity here either.

    Comment


    • #3
      The dynamic is a lot different these days because you don’t get the benefits of the past (golfing/fishing trips, sports tickets) so it’s harder to have really (or fake real) friendships. That’s why the older generation still practicing have deeper relationships.

      Plus before doctors were just neutered employees there was benefit to be tied in with industry from an innovation standpoint and career standpoint.

      So both parties find themselves in these awkward 5 min conversations

      With that said one of the only remaining benefits of maintaining at least decent relationships with them is that your regional reputation within your field (or same specialty colleague) is influenced by Reps more than anything else.

      they jump from lab/OR to lab/OR on a daily basis throughout the region and the main topic of conversation is usually the mutual doctors the reps and doctors both know. (It’s how I stay up to date on how my colleagues are doing and what the landscape looks like (who’s doing well, who is getting fired, etc)

      If you’re a jerk (or perceived as a jerk) to them they’ll likely bad mouth you with no distinction on whether that’s your personality or professional skills they don’t like.

      Plus they can be your best source re: job markets and job connections.

      But It’s a dying relationship since many (most?) are now restricted to even getting into hospitals

      I’ve found that our reps spend more time coddling admin or lab managers than doctors. Those are the important players these days. Not some replaceable operator/surgeon.

      At least my perspective from a cardiology standpoint. Probably different in other fields.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Minnesconsin View Post
        Throughout residency I saw many of my attendings have good relationships with sales reps and it seems like that is also the case with my partners in private practice. Personally though, I just can't get over how annoying I find them. They all feel like cringey fake friends who often say the most ridiculous things thinking we doctors are all the same.

        For example, I had a meeting with a rep and his idiot sidekick for a device we have in our office the other day. Not only did they not try to get to know me at all, they just assumed I was immediately their buddy and start acting all bro-ey in their manner and topics of conversation: the typical wife complaining, golf talk, and inevitable ************************ jokes. I wish I could say this is an exception, but I generally find this to be similar for reps I have met for other products in other regions of the country.

        As we were walking to our cars, I realized we were parked by each other and I casually mention "don't judge me, I'm not quite driving the typical surgeon car", and before I think he registered that, he goes on about how he's "not sure a patient can really trust or respect a doctor who drives a beater." This, right as I walk up to my 2005 Accord! What a pompous POS.

        Also, apparently one of the sales reps at the hospitals I have privileges at just quit over the COVID vaccination mandate. Good riddance. I found him to be equally annoying.

        End rant.

        Any of you have similar experiences you want to share?
        Cringey sales folk?….. how unusual. As a sales guy, he really missed an opportunity though. I think he really could have learned a lot about you by looking at your car. You can learn a lot about someone’s value system from the car they drive, especially when the reach the stage where they can drive whatever car they want. Do they value life’s finery? Do they like to project the outward appearance of success to others? Do they appreciate the the latest and greatest technology? Are they environmental greenies? Do they like bravado? Are they the rough and tumble outdoor type? Are they frugal or view themselves as poor? Do they like to fly under the radar or do they want attention?

        The whole topic should be fascinating to a good salesmen. He should already have been alert to “what your stuff says about you”. He may have misjudged you and assumed you drive a Mercedes and he was trying to connect. Or perhaps he’s just an idiot.

        I don’t think you should apologize or be insecure about your car though. I’d wear that badge proudly. It also reveals that perhaps you worry too much about what he thinks of you.

        The other day in the ED, the subject of money came up with some of the staff and residents and docs. Probably in relation to Bitcoin, or the housing market, or something like that. I said what I always say... That I drive a 10 year old Jeep, live on fast food cheeseburgers, and have bills and a fancy wife to pay. Times is hard. One of the techs shouted from across the ED, “Right, you don’t fool me doc!” We both laughed. …..that’s one smart tech.
        Last edited by Jaqen Haghar MD; 08-07-2021, 06:04 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sundance View Post
          The dynamic is a lot different these days because you don’t get the benefits of the past (golfing/fishing trips, sports tickets) so it’s harder to have really (or fake real) friendships. That’s why the older generation still practicing have deeper relationships.

          Plus before doctors were just neutered employees there was benefit to be tied in with industry from an innovation standpoint and career standpoint.

          So both parties find themselves in these awkward 5 min conversations

          With that said one of the only remaining benefits of maintaining at least decent relationships with them is that your regional reputation within your field (or same specialty colleague) is influenced by Reps more than anything else.

          they jump from lab/OR to lab/OR on a daily basis throughout the region and the main topic of conversation is usually the mutual doctors the reps and doctors both know. (It’s how I stay up to date on how my colleagues are doing and what the landscape looks like (who’s doing well, who is getting fired, etc)

          If you’re a jerk (or perceived as a jerk) to them they’ll likely bad mouth you with no distinction on whether that’s your personality or professional skills they don’t like.

          Plus they can be your best source re: job markets and job connections.

          But It’s a dying relationship since many (most?) are now restricted to even getting into hospitals

          I’ve found that our reps spend more time coddling admin or lab managers than doctors. Those are the important players these days. Not some replaceable operator/surgeon.

          At least my perspective from a cardiology standpoint. Probably different in other fields.
          Great points about their role in developing your reputation. I completely agree with the risks of being a jerk/perceived jerk. Thankfully, I always try to be respectful and professional to reps, staff, and hospital personnel, even if others around me are not. I guess that as hard as they try to develop a fake friendship with me, I equally do the same for some of the benefits you mentioned in your post. It just gets fatiguing. Due to the anonymous nature of this forum, I was able to share what was actually going on in my head during that interaction in a much safer manner.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jaqen Haghar MD View Post

            Cringey sales folk?….. how unusual. As a sales guy, he really missed an opportunity though. I think he really could have learned a lot about you by looking at your car. You can learn a lot about someone’s value system from the car they drive, especially when the reach the stage where they can drive whatever car they want. Do they value life’s finery? Do they like to project the outward appearance of success to others? Do they appreciate the the latest and greatest technology? Are they environmental greenies? Do they like bravado? Are they the rough and tumbles outdoor type? Are they frugal or view themselves as poor? Do they like to fly under the radar or do they want attention?

            The whole topic should be fascinating to a good salesmen. He should already have been alert to “what your stuff says about you”. He may have misjudged you and assumed you drive a Mercedes and he was trying to connect. Or perhaps he’s just an idiot.

            I don’t think you should apologize or be insecure about your car though. I’d wear that badge proudly. It also reveals that perhaps you worry too much about what he thinks of you.

            The other day in the ED, the subject of money came up with some of the staff and residents and docs. Probably in relation to Bitcoin, or the housing market, or something like that. I said what I always say... That I drive a 10 year old Jeep, live on fast food cheeseburgers, and have bills and a fancy wife to pay. Times is hard. One of the techs shouted from across the ED, “Right, you don’t fool me doc!” We both laughed. …..that’s one smart tech.
            Re: worrying too much about what others think. You're absolutely right. Despite continuing to live like a resident and being fully all-in on it, I will honestly admit that it is not always easy. Sometimes I do get self-conscious and worry about being judged. I do sometimes worry that my bosses or referrers (and now sales reps!) may judge me when I show up in my car. I won't lie. I'm not going to buy a fancy new car though. But may there be a referrer who thinks I'm not as great of a fit for their fancy esthetic implant patient because he/she saw me pull up in my old car at the last referrer event. Yeah, that's unfortunately a real possibility. There are some really superficial people out there who don't ascribe to the same beliefs that we do.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Minnesconsin View Post
              Throughout residency I saw many of my attendings have good relationships with sales reps and it seems like that is also the case with my partners in private practice. Personally though, I just can't get over how annoying I find them. They all feel like cringey fake friends who often say the most ridiculous things thinking we doctors are all the same............

              Any of you have similar experiences you want to share?

              Maybe device reps are a different breed. I find pharmaceutical reps in my field to be well informed though restricted in their scope. Once they realize that you have the underlying knowledge in your field even if you are not familiar with their product, they respect you. Many have even sough advice about health issues in my field afflicting their family member and are eternally grateful. I treat them with respect since they have a job to do, just like me. Even if I don't use their product they love to schedule lunches with me rather than some jerk of a physician who may be using their products. I agree there are some jerks like the one you encountered but for the most part we follow the give respect, get respect motto.

              I agree with the other poster that many have promoted my name in the community when some meet PCP and other specialists and they get asked the question of who is a good hem/onc. Also I hear a lot of gossip about what is happening to many in my specialty within the state, who has gotten fired, which group had to forcibly merge, which one is getting more competition etc. All very valuable.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Minnesconsin View Post

                Great points about their role in developing your reputation. I completely agree with the risks of being a jerk/perceived jerk. Thankfully, I always try to be respectful and professional to reps, staff, and hospital personnel, even if others around me are not. I guess that as hard as they try to develop a fake friendship with me, I equally do the same for some of the benefits you mentioned in your post. It just gets fatiguing. Due to the anonymous nature of this forum, I was able to share what was actually going on in my head during that interaction in a much safer manner.
                I agree. And I should clarify that I’m not especially friendly either and have to force myself to try a little. I usually tell them I wish I could help but I’m not in a position to get any product on the shelf even if I wanted it. Most don’t even bother with me now.

                I don’t even try faking it with pharma reps though I realize they’re just trying to do their job

                Comment


                • #9
                  “Throughout residency I saw many of my attendings have good relationships with sales reps and it seems like that is also the case with my partners in private practice. Personally though, I just can't get over how annoying I find them.”

                  Sundance has this pegged.
                  Sales Rep - has product info and as mentioned “networking info” (gossip if you like) to offer.
                  You need to decide what info you need or want.
                  Some will try to offer “acquaintance” or “friendship” or “loyalty”. They want to sell product and gather “networking info”. They will always choose to be on the “winning side”, which by definition is product sales.

                  Nothing wrong with hosting a gathering for all residents, right? So happens to be a birthday bash in early summer for all residents and PD really wants as a “team building” gesture for the outgoing class. Paid for but not arranged by the sales rep. Win-win. For sure the sales rep might even give job leads and potential recruiting candidates.
                  They want relationships to maintain product sales. You need to find a balance you are comfortable with. It doesn’t mean you are friends, it’s make any meeting a win-win. Control the meeting. Your other partners have seemed to find a balance. He is guessing, on rapport and missed big time. You are the customer, set the rapport as you wish.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Reps don’t care about you. They don’t care about the patient. They are there to make a sale.
                    Keep things professional. They aren’t your friends. Once something goes wrong, they will say it’s ultimately the doctors decision.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it depends on the individual rep. Some or maybe even most are as you say and it's annoying but others can be great, helpful, know their boundary, etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had good rapports with IR device reps when I was active in the field. I became pretty close with one (albeit superficially), and he attended a majority of the cases where I used his device (kyphoplasty). We even played some gags on him when he wasn't there calling him and telling him that his needle was cemented into the bone and we could not get it out and things of that nature.

                        He was promoted, in part because our and other accounts blossomed, and he held a dinner to introduce his replacement. The new rep initially treated me as if the previous friendship was immediately bestowed upon him, and I was put off by this. In short order, I became even better friends with the second rep, and even though I have been out of IR since 2017, we remain friends to this day.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WorkforFIRE View Post
                          Reps don’t care about you. They don’t care about the patient. They are there to make a sale.
                          Keep things professional. They aren’t your friends. Once something goes wrong, they will say it’s ultimately the doctors decision.
                          Can’t agree more

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't get device reps. I told the pharm reps that they can show me anything with a new mechanism of action that I am likely to prescribe. But only one time.

                            No bites. I haven't seen a rep in years.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't let them in my office or my O.R. unless I truly intend to patronize them. I just tell them, or have the front desk or nurse tell them, I will call them if I need them. Competition is fierce among the product reps, and most of them end up learning which companies I am loyal to one way or another.

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