This week, we’re featuring a Non-Clinical 101 graduate and physical therapist who now works in a sales career!
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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Michael T Frasso PT, DPT – Account Executive for Net Health
What additional roles do you currently have?
Where are you located?
Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
Staff PT for about two years, clinic manager for three years, and a travel physical therapist for two and a half years.
In what settings did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?
Outpatient almost exclusively (ortho elective surgery, geriatric), and a very small amount of home health.
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
Enjoyed not being in school, finally making some money, and being able to use what I learned in school.
The job was very monotonous. Same types of patients over and over and over again, being told how to treat, and what to bill by my supervisor and clinic owner. Unpredictable schedule. Disappointing pay for the amount of education I received. Minimal opportunity for advancement (highest role is the one immediately above me, a clinic manager).
I felt as if I would be doing the exact same thing for the next 30 years and still struggle in retirement.
What else have you done since then, prior to your current role?
Worked with my wife on a side business creating content for clinicians struggling with burnout.
When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?
I had been thinking about going non-clinical before I even graduated school. Deep down I knew treating wasn’t for me long term, but I spent so much time and money becoming a PT that it was too late.
I saw roles like clinic manager or rehab director as my most likely paths, but after seeing those people not only perform their management roles but also treating, I knew I had to get out of the clinical world altogether.
The pandemic created the perfect opportunity. I found myself unemployed because at the time I was a travel therapist and those jobs were the first to get cut. Four months out of work, in the profession that everyone said was “recession proof”. It was a real last straw moment for me.
I didn’t like what I was doing AND now I was unemployed. First thing I did was take the Non-Clinical 101 course to figure out my first steps. Literally a few weeks after taking the course and implementing the strategies, I got my first non-clinical job interview.
What are you doing these days?
Right now I am an account executive, which is a fancy way of saying salesperson. In sales, you have lower positions (usually called Sales Development Representatives) that cold call lists of “unqualified“ leads to see if they are real opportunities.
Once those leads are qualified by an SDR, they are handed off to the account executive to begin the real sales cycle. My role is a little complicated. I started as an account executive with Casamba (EMR software company), later acquired by Net Health (another EMR software company), so now I am working on migrating the Casamba clients over to Net Health.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
I’m solely non-clinical.
How long have you been in your current role?
Since July, 2020.
How did you find your job?
I applied through Indeed, but had a nice recommendation from Meredith.
Did you do anything special to your resume and cover letter to land the job?
Yes, definitely. I updated it per the instructions in the Non-Clinical 101 course, in order to get past the ATS, which I didn’t know existed at the time.
What was the interview like for the role?
Short and straightforward. My resume spoke for itself. I built it specifically for that role, talked about my “sales experience” which was basically classifying clinical experience as a soft skill for sales.
It helped that my interviewer (and then boss) was a no BS guy, and just wanted to make sure that I could carry a conversation, which is a lot of what sales is.
What are some of the things you did to stand out, take initiative, and advance in your career?
While I haven’t technically advanced in role yet, being honest and transparent about my reasons for leaving clinical care (wanting more out of my career, advancement opportunities, and earning potential) goes a long way with superiors.
If they are a good manager and know your why and goals, they will help you achieve them. Especially if your supervisor has a clinical background as well. They likely left patient care for similar reasons so you can connect with them on that.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
With interest and questions. Non-PTs have a hard time understanding why I would spend seven years and $100k only to change roles a few years later.
In contrast, essentially every rehab professional wants to know the who, what, when, how, etc. Deep down I believe the rehab profession is broken and people feel that, prompting this interest.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you as an account executive?
Calling, emailing, following up, scheduling demos, building contracts. Basically pushing the client through a sales cycle. Fighting with Salesforce. Meeting and more meetings.
What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?
- Pay, for sure
- Autonomy (I wrote this from a car repair shop in the middle of the day on a Thursday)
- Opportunity for advancement
- Having a quota makes it stressful
- When you lose a sale, you feel like it’s your fault (and it may be)
- Working for a massive company of thousands is very different than a clinic with ten people. It’s frustrating to Slack someone about a piece of information you need and not get a response for hours or days.
How did your clinical background prepare you for this role? Which skills transferred?
Lots of skills transferred.
Communication is huge in sales. PTs are expert communicators. And as a PT selling to PTs, I’ve been in their shoes, which helps with credibility.
Roughly speaking, how are the hours and pay compared to patient care?
I made a full year’s clinical salary in five months as an account executive, and that was considered “slow.” The hours are what I want. As long as I sell and do my job, they don’t care when I work, or how long it takes me.
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
Someone who is:
- A good communicator
- Has thick skin
- Is goal-oriented
- Has a clinical background that matches you they’ll be selling to
- Willing to learn (a lot)
Do you work remotely or onsite?
I work remotely. Love it.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles?
Net Health is very interested in hiring more people with a clinical background. Two of my recent references have already been hired. If anyone has interest, please reach out!
What is a typical career path for someone in your role?
Account executive => Assistant VP of sales => VP of sales => Senior VP of sales => (might be one or two roles in between here) => Chief revenue officer
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
I think VP of sales is a good role to shoot for, but I’m too new in the career to make that call yet. We’ll see how it goes!
What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a role like yours? Do you have any special words of wisdom for the readers?
Get out of patient care immediately. You won’t regret it.