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A Booming Industry for Medical Sales Recruiters

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Successful salespeople are passionate abSuccessful salespeople are passionate about their work, according to one sales veteran. ''Once you get into the business, you never get it out of your blood,'' said Jimmy Taylor, Founder and President of JT & Associates, an Atlanta-based recruiting firm specializing in sales and marketing opportunities in the medical industry.

With 15 years of medical sales and sales management experience under his belt, Taylor started his own recruiting firm in 1998. "I was tired of traveling three or four nights a week, and I didn't want to be president unless it was my own company," he said.

Taylor made a list of all of his professional contacts, and he slowly started networking and building a substantial client base. Today, he recruits salespeople for Fortune 1,000 companies and medical start-up companies throughout the country.

Although Taylor partners with recruiters from other states, he does not have any employees working directly for his firm. He said he is uncertain as to whether he will hire staff in the future. "It's tempting to know I could hire people," he reflected, but he is not sure that he wants to deal with the "hassle."

The medical sales industry is booming despite the sluggish economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for medical sales jobs is expected to increase by 24% in 2007, as technology advances and aging baby boomers begin needing more healthcare devices and services. Douglas Braddock, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that medical sales are expected to increase by 111% by the end of the decade.

"There's no magic to what I do. It's just a knack," Taylor said, acknowledging that what he does is not the best job for everyone. A lot of work goes into recruiting salespeople, and Taylor taps into all of his resources to find high-quality employees, he said.

"There are so many ways to source candidates, and I utilize every single one for each of them," Taylor said. He posts job openings, searches his online database, directly recruits, and headhunts.

When he is looking to recruit candidates, Taylor looks for several qualities. Effective salespeople "have a great personality, they're assertive, and they're results-oriented," he added.

"I'm selling in a different way," Taylor said, adding, "I don't find people jobs. I find companies people." He only gets paid if he finds an employee for a company. He increases his commission potential by looking to fill seven or eight jobs at a time in each region of the country.

Many job candidates turn to Taylor for career advice, even though he makes it clear that he is not a career counselor. If candidates ask for help, Taylor always talks to them. He considers himself "the bartender between nine and five."

Taylor does not interview job candidates in person, which some people find surprising. He remembers his brother asking, "How are you going to recruit all of these people if you can't meet them?" when he first started recruiting.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Attend University of Georgia football games.
Q. What CD was most recently in your CD player?
A. George Strait.
Q. What's the last magazine you read?
A. Sports Illustrated..
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Extreme Engineering.
Q. Who's your role model?
A. Doug Hall.

However, Taylor said he does not need to meet candidates. Since they are working for reputable companies, he is confident that the candidates he finds are qualified. "I know that J&J [Johnson & Johnson] hires good people," he said. Taylor also explained that the companies he recruits for are responsible for interviewing the candidates, and they make the final hiring decisions.

One of the most challenging aspects of Taylor's job is accepting that "you can't control what you can't control," he said. He might go through all of the work--find the candidates, set up interviews--and then have the company change its mind and not hire anyone. It's important to know "how to manage your time and how to figure out what to work on and what not to work on," Taylor added.

In eight years, only "about two" of Taylor's recruits have been fired. On the rare occasions when this happened, Taylor maintained positive relationships with the companies. If one of his recruits is hired and fired within 30 days, he will find a new salesperson for the company, free of charge.

Taylor had aspirations to become a medical salesman fresh out of college. When he was a senior at the University of Georgia, he applied for a sales position at American Hospital Supply through his on-campus placement office. Although he was not offered a job, he fell in love with the culture of the company. "I was intrigued by the products they were selling," he added.

Taylor began his medical sales career with Kendall Healthcare in 1983, selling anesthesia and operating room products. In 1989, he accepted a position with Strato Medical (now owned by Pfizer, Inc.), for which he sold implantable vascular access products to surgeons. Two years later, he was promoted to Southeast Regional Manager.

In 1993, Taylor served as Eastern Zone Manager for Dacomed, a manufacturer of urology implants and capital equipment, where he was responsible for recruiting and hiring the direct sales force. Dacomed was acquired by Imagyn Medical Technologies in late 1994, and Taylor continued to serve Imagyn as Regional Manager for the surgical and urological divisions.
On the net:JT & Associates, Inc.

Kendall Healthcare

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