The non-clinical spotlight series exists to shed light on all of the interesting paths that physical therapy professionals have taken. Today’s spotlight focuses on Jack Scott, PTA, who went from physical therapist’s assistant to territory sales manager at Dynatronics.
What’s your name and full title?
Jack Scott, PTA – Territory Sales Manager at Dynatronics.
When did you graduate from PTA school?
Hahnemann University, 1994.
What did you do after school?
Worked in outpatient orthopedics for several years, and also worked one year in acute care at a trauma center.
What did you enjoy about that role? What did you enjoy less about the role?
My favorite part was helping people get back to their lives and the best functional levels possible. I also enjoyed the social aspect of patient care, getting to know people and gain their trust. This is something that carries over well into a sales carrier.
My least favorite thing was in outpatient when some people were trying to work the system. I also don’t enjoy being in the same facility/environment every day.
At what point did you decide you wanted to try something non-clinical, and why?
When I tried to negotiate an increased salary and found out I capped out as a PTA. I was actually thinking about a career change because I felt limited in any future growth if I stayed in clinical care.
Did you try any other therapy settings before leaving patient care?
No, I had 8 years of experience when I decided to make a change, and I worked for a couple companies/health systems while treating. I had an electronics background prior to attending PTA school and almost went to work in IT.
How did you first consider working in sales? How did you hear about the particular role you’re in now?
I first considered sales after talking to a co-worker (PT) who had been in the industry for years and knew some dealers. She also published books on modalities and thermal agents and would discuss all the other options for clinicians with me.
My present role was is result of years of experience and relationships built while in previous sales positions.
What did the application process look like? Did you have to alter your resume or cover letter in specific ways to get their attention?
Not in my present situation because I had previous work history with my manager. He and I held the same position at a prior company as Regional Sales Managers. During my interview for my first sales position I had to highlight my knowledge of therapeutics modalities since they were a modalities dealer.
I would suggest paying attention to the business side of therapy while in clinic if you’re thinking about getting into sales. Also, talk to the reps who come in for demos, etc.
Are former clinicians usually in the role you’re in?
I’d say about 20% of the reps I work with have a clinical background.
What did the interview process look like? Were there specific questions that were easier/more difficult for you as a clinician?
This is not my first position in sales, so I had 13 years sales experience behind me. During my first interview I was asked about things like year over year growth and how to zone a territory. I would suggest searching the internet for sales information so you’re familiar with some of the terms you may hear.
If it’s your first role, sell yourself to the interviewer. Sales is based on product knowledge and relationships; most clinicians have product knowledge and sell themselves to patients every day.
When you interview, highlight your flexibility within your previous clinical roles to display your ability to learn new positions.
What is your role like now? How long have you been in this particular role?
My role now is the best of both worlds. I work for the manufacturer, so I have input into products and selling direct allows me to continue to work directly with clinicians. I’ve been in this position for over a year with an opportunity to grow with the company.
What is a day in the life like for you?
No day is the same….some are filled with demos and in-services and others are spent cold calling or doing quotes.
Most days are combination of all of the above. Sales is not a 9-5 position and you need to be ready for whatever comes your way.
What are your favorite things about your current role?
Helping guide fellow clinicians in their equipment making choices from a clinicians perspective. I find myself being a consultant for clinicians when it comes to equipment options and functionality.
I also like the freedom of being on the road and working with different people every day.
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
The changing world of insurance reimbursement, and the ability to continually find new products that therapists need to improve outcomes.
What is a typical career path for someone in your role?
Get your foot in the door and learn as much as you can from the people who are the best reps at your company. My path started with a local dealer, and grew within five years to being a Regional Manager for a major manufacturer.
Yes, there is room to grow with my present company as well.
What would you tell someone who is considering doing a similar role? Do you have any specific advice?
Be willing to learn from those in your company who have a track record of sales success. Understand that you’ll hear NO a lot, but keep moving forward and building relationships.
Treat customers fairly and don’t do something to make one sale that may affect three future sales. Most clinical professions are small worlds and people talk to each other, so always be honest; it’s what you expect when you’re the one buying.
Thanks for your insight, Jack!