Think how often you use your computer, stereo and microwave. Now think
about the equipment in hospitals -- a wide variety of electronic equipment
can do everything from test your blood to take an X-ray.
"If something is beeping next to you in a hospital room, it's the electronics
in it doing that," says Jon Pierce, a salesperson and electronic engineer
with a medical electronics company.
The electronic age has created glowing opportunities for salespeople with
the right medical-technical knowledge. "Your average person couldn't do this,"
says Clark Courtney, who works for a U.S.-based manufacturer of test systems
for electronic, medical and military applications.
"Most people in our business come from a technical background of some sort,"
agrees Heather Phillips, who works for a medical electronics company.
Training aside, electronics salespeople have many of the same responsibilities
as other sales professionals. They sell products to existing clients and scramble
to find new clients.
They estimate equipment costs and prepare and administer sales contracts.
They develop reports and proposals and deliver presentations.
Many sales professionals in electronics and medical electronics also have
to estimate the cost of installation and maintenance of new equipment.
Increasingly, those in electronics sales have to contribute ideas to product
design to meet a buyer's specific needs. "Part of what our company does is
sell our expertise in medical design. We need to be able to talk about technical
things," says Pierce.
Electronics salespeople work for computer companies, engineering firms
and hydroelectric companies, as well as firms selling telecommunication equipment
and medical instrumentation. In smaller companies, sales and marketing are
combined. These salespeople have to prepare many of the long-term strategies
and promotions traditionally left to marketing personnel.