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Rep of the Year Interview: Hannah Gearon

March 13, 2024


Hannah Gearon, the 2023 C2Dx Sales Representative of the Year, is an experienced professional who brings a unique blend of skills and perspectives to her role in the medical device industry. With a background in insurance sales and emergency room certified nursing assistant, she relies on empathy, communication, and trust in her role as a medical device sales representative. Hannah’s mission is not merely to sell products, but to genuinely support healthcare professionals as a trusted advisor and help patients. Drawing from professional and personal experiences of adaptation and resilience, Hannah’s approach to her career is with a positive mindset and a drive for continuous improvement.

Read more about Hannah’s experiences, insights into her successes, and what she’s most looking forward to in 2024.

Previous Experience

I sold insurance for about four years, and I think that really developed my customer relationship and communication skills—being able to communicate effectively and foster a long-term relationship. For example, being a part of life insurance, a widow came in because her husband passed away. Helping her while being compassionate in a time of vulnerability is so important. So I definitely know that developed my ability to empathize, which is important when you want a doctor to trust that you are in it for the right reasons. Which is the patient.

I also worked as a certified nursing assistant in the emergency room. That gave me another viewpoint into the workload of healthcare professionals, especially being in the ER when everything is extremely fast-paced with numerous circumstances. I may not have direct medical device experience, but my previous experience in sales and working in the ER has helped me build a solid foundation to succeed in this industry.

Impact Driven Mission

I just want to be able to help. That’s why as a medical device rep, you can’t be somebody who just wants to sell. If you’re going to be good at it, you need people to trust you and you have to truly want to help the patient. I am good at empathizing, addressing concerns, and doing my best to make things right. If something goes wrong, it’s going to impact that surgery and that patient.

All this falls down to: who are you helping, and how are you going to help?

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

The challenges that we’ve encountered as a company have built this foundation with my doctors to be able to count on me to provide. It’s almost helped me to build more trust with my customers. There are going to be challenges, especially as a startup, but if you’re there, taking it all in, and being an active listener, it helps you gain trust and reliability when situations come up.

For example, I had a new user who had heard of the Shaw, and seen it being used, but wasn’t comfortable with previous generations. It took me a few months to actually get in front of him. I was persistent and respectful of boundaries. When the new handles came in, I went into his clinic and I said, “This is the new one, what do you think?” I showed him the differences and I explained, “When you’re trialing it, I’ll be there and we can go through each step. Like after the initial incision, what temperature to set it at.” I also utilized a credible reference, someone he knows and trusts that loves the Shaw, and uses it all the time. I feel like that goes a lot farther than referencing another heavy user he doesn’t know. In my opinion, that’s not as effective as somebody that he trusts and knows is reputable.

In the end, it really came down to him trusting me and my product knowledge, knowing what to recommend, and getting him to the point where he was comfortable. We trialed it a few times, got a controller in there, and now we’re waiting for their SG6. He ended up loving it. It definitely helps when you’re willing to go the extra mile to make something that they want happen.

Keeping Up with Advancements

If you’re going to be good at this job, you have to dive in. You have to know the products and our competitors. I rely a lot on customer feedback. I have a few users that I can ask: why do you like the Shaw instead of the Bovie? I had to take time to get to know them and build their trust before I could just say, why do you use mine and not theirs?

Another thing too is collaboration working together as a team, utilizing each department and having that open line of communication. It’s a means for success. I rely on the expertise of more experienced reps. I could not have sold a quarter of my STIC monitor without marketing. I wouldn’t have been able to help my customers with back order if it weren’t for customer service. To be able to sell things, you have to have a good team with you. You share strategies, you’re open to feedback. You have to be polite and respect people. We all have to strategize and implement to be successful because there’s so much in flex. We have to be able to adapt.

Lessons from a “No.”

I was trialing with a surgeon who was very set in her ways. She was open to communicating, so I did a lot of listening. I know when it’s not appropriate to be the one talking. She expressed her concerns and thoughts. She’s a high-volume surgeon and likes to go fast. At the end of the day, she was happy with what she was doing. It’s still on the table. And that’s the thing, she has not told me no. She just said it’s not a priority right now.

You’re going to get told no quite a bit, but you can’t just pout. You have to brush it off and try again. It helped me understand these types of high-volume surgeons for this particular case utilizing our Shaw scalpel might not be my target audience. They just want to get in and out and get it done. Maybe if I’m going to approach a surgeon, I should focus on one who’s willing to take a different approach. So that opportunity is not only still on the table, but it also taught me how to handle that situation in the future.

The Trusted Advisor

My focus is being a trusted advisor, not just another “rep”. You have to build trust. Part of that is regular communication. I want them to know that I’m dedicated to them and their success, not just my company, so we can all succeed. It’s about being there in all situations.

I had an account with a pretty hefty product malfunction. So that was a huge concern, especially to this specific stakeholder. I listened, I acknowledged, and I tried to understand. I showed empathy and swift action. I reported it immediately to the higher chain of command. I kept that line of communication open with my doctor. I want them to know that the issue is just as important to me as it is to them and that I’m committed to fixing it.

Adaptability: A Lesson Taught by Life

When I was about 8, I had a medical condition that could have prevented many things. I had a diagnosis that disabled my ability to write and had very little movement in my hands and other joints. If I gave in to the self-pity, where would I be now? Sure, I had my days of insecurities being so young, but I had no choice but to adapt. And then you get thrown into this adult life and leave your parent’s house, that alone is a tornado. You can’t just think things are going to work out. You have to adapt, learn from it, and try to avoid the things that could cause more challenges. These lessons continue as an adult, with my kids and family. We moved to California two years ago coming from West Texas, with a recent Autism diagnosis for my middle boy, and moved far from family. Through all the challenges and hardships, we took everything head on and now have a wonderful life in California! Life throws challenges, but it truly is up to us what we learn from them and what we do about it.

These experiences have impacted my career by helping me look at the bigger picture. To have a positive mindset and know that even if there are challenges I can figure out the problem, try to find the solution and fix it. Either way, you learn from it. I take all experiences as lessons that prepare me for future challenges.

Goals as the Expectation, Not the Finish Line

I need to understand my goals. We break them down as monthly and quarterly goals and that helps to segment and make them more realistic and achievable. I utilize my current customers and work with all my team. I collaborate with marketing and customer service, and I stay focused. That’s a huge one. I just have to stay focused, have a positive mindset, and visualize success.

Since I was young, I’ve always looked at goals as a motivating factor, and I try to visualize success. Just because I hit my goal, that doesn’t mean I can’t exceed my goal. That drive for success comes from within and being focused on my why. I’m not doing this to hit my number. I didn’t check out of work because I hit my goal and that’s it. I’m done for the year. That’s not me. I’m still motivated.

The Excitement of 2024

I’m very excited for more experiences, and our “why” as a company because at the end of the day we are helping patients. From heating therapy for a patient in pain, all the way to being responsible for a device that our surgeons trust is the best for their patients. I want to become a leader in all directions, and I plan on taking advantage of 2024 to help create the leader in me.

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