Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Pharmaceutical Salesperson's Manifesto

Featured article 4-13-09 by Malcolm Fleshner of:

The Pharmaceutical Sales Manifesto

During the years he spent "carrying the bag," health care industry consultant Dan Abshear doesn't claim to have been the ideal pharmaceutical representative. Still, during that time he says he developed a series of suggestions to help those new to the field adjust to the job and take the most advantage of the opportunities that do arise during time spent in the field.

Following are Abshear's recommendations, which he refers to as his pharmaceutical sales "manifesto."

Consideration counts

Being considerate means a few things, such as never taking a parking space nearest to the entrance of a doctor's office or clinic. Leave those to sick patients – the exercise will do you good. Once you're inside, if you see any other drug reps in the waiting room, leave and come back at a different time.

Don't try to monopolize attention or take time away from patients who need to see the physician more than you do.

Conversely, if the waiting room is sparsely populated, go ahead and strike up a conversation with a patient waiting to see the doctor. They're not lepers, and you may actually learn something that will help you with your selling efforts.

Make the effort

Offices that accept your samples, regardless whether you get in to see the physician, are worth your time. Not only do samples have a greater impact on prescribing than you may realize, but your visits represent a dedication and interest that also sends a message.

Survey the scene

Before you walk in to speak with a physician, do a quick check around the patient treatment area and assess the overall atmosphere. Are the staff members racing around, making no eye contact with you, and generally appearing more harried than usual? Does the doctor seem overwhelmed?

If so, don't try to talk business with the physician this time. Express some empathy for the busy day they're having and offer to come back at a time when things aren't quite so hectic.

Stay upbeat

The life of a drug rep is filled with frustrations, struggles, rejection, and indifference, much of it stemming from employers. Still, it's important to avoid going through your day in a state of anger or resentment.

No matter how you try to mask it, your negative attitude will come across to the people whose day you're interrupting. Put yourself in a good mood before entering a medical office and you just might make someone's day.

Know the law

Creativity is absolutely essential for success in pharmaceutical sales. That said; make sure your creative impulses never stray into areas of dubious legality.

Become familiar with the laws governing the behaviors and actions of pharmaceutical representatives. This knowledge will help you if, as sometimes happens, a manager directs you to engage in unethical or illegal activities.

No quid pro quo

Just because you do something for a medical office, such as buy them lunch or drop off free samples, that in no way obligates the physicians to prescribe your product. If your sales numbers flag, the fault does not lie with the medical practitioners in your territory.

Think about the big things

These individual tips and suggestions will only work if you've already established a larger foundation based on character, integrity, and kindness. Give some thought to what these words mean to you, and if you believe that these traits embody how you conduct yourself.


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