Drug Rep Time

How to succeed in Pharmaceutical Sales.

Make your deposit first.

Problem case. How to ask questions? During your sales training you learned that one great way to engage your doctors in a dialogue is to ask them  questions:” How often do you see patients with ….?”. “In your practice do you find that…?” “What do you think about recent publicity about…?”

So you walk into the office, smiling, all ready to crush any obstacle there is, pumped up after your last sales training where you learned how to and what to ask; you got great energy and confidence that your doctor will be set up by you to do nothing else but think what you think and do what you need him to do – write scripts for every single one of those “20% of Americans” who need your medicine to be well and happy. Your trainers just taught how to set up the bying criteria that will be simply  irresistible once you put them out there in a form of insightful, sharp, catchy questions that lead your prospect to deep understanding that “your way is the only right way”. You are ready, you aimed, you fire. The doctor listens to you with the undivided attention, starts thinking really hard, and comes up with an answer that gives you another great opportunity to pose a follow up question to which the only answer would be a short and memorable name of one and only product – your product. “How could I possibly not think and do it before? Thank you so much for giving me that hint that I’ve searched for but never could find!” And you live happily thereafter. Right?!

Not so easyyy. I’ve seen you do that and fail  so many times that I wander whether those who teach you ever explained that what you are doing, when you are asking, is “borrowing” your doctor’s intellect in order to engage. However the key prerequisite of any borrowing is “a good credit”. You folks all know that. Try to borrow from a bank. They’ll ask you for every little verification of your good credentials and for your funds. I want you to start thinking in terms of making a deposit first. An educational and intellectual deposit. You are all in the business of the educational marketing. Do not forget that ever. Before you borrow your prospect’s intellect make your contribution in the form of an educational deposit to your doctor’s knowledge bank. Build your value through teaching a very specific information that is important to them. Show them that you are the first to do the work. This is probably the only proper way to get them engaged in answering your subsequent question. Otherwise all you get is: ” Why do I need to think and answer her questions? I am busy as is. I don’t need that…”. They may be polite and not say that, but believe me, it’s there.

Deposit first-then get your credit.


February 28, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Sales Tips | , , , , | Leave a comment

Got a business card?

Take your business card right now and write your sales message on its back. If you can’t write your sales message on the back of your business card, you probably don’t have a message. Brevity and clarity have become the  paradigms of successful sales. There are two reasons why such test of your sales pitch is necessary.  The first is time constraint on those you are trying to convince. The second reason is that even when your target has time to read or listen his mind can accept only so much information in one steady flow. America became an ADD nation. Before you know the mind of your doctor drifts so  far away from you, starting to wander about money, sex and all the other good things in life that you, my friends, become obsolete.

As a special “thank you” to the readers of this blog, I am ready to give you my undivided attention and time. If you want to test how good you are, write your message on your card , then copy it and sent to questionfromrep@gmail.com. I will review and privately reply to the the first 50 emails, which with the amount of the mail I get from you means you probably have ~3 days to get in. What you sell is irrelevant. Be topical and vital. Words of caution: please avoid terms such as Power, Long lasting effect, Unique, etc. Frankly, nobody cares about your unique long lasting power except for completely different circumstances which I hope you all can relate to. Good luck.

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s help this rep. What do you think?

Quote: “Getting into “no-see” offices. That’s a real tough one in a lot of markets today with more and more doctor’s offices taking on new rules about seeing sales representatives. The real issue here is that many times, it’s the person at the front desk who’s the gatekeeper and deciding who gets in and who doesn’t. How do you overcome that? There’s not a WIFM for them so sales representatives are wrongfully denied access in a target office and sometimes even in an office where the doctor has asked the representative to come by. I agree totally that it’s not about the product or sales pitch you bring..it’s about the value..but how do you convince the gatekeeper of the value you are bringing and how can you get the buy-in from the gatekeeper that what you are wanting to talk to the doctors about can positively affect patient outcomes as well as be of value to that office? ”

Comment by Anonymous | February 11, 2008 <!– @ 10:35 am –>|

February 17, 2008 Posted by | Your best comments | , , | 3 Comments

I like the smell, but I remember the taste.

A couple of days ago I was speaking to a rep who was pitching to me a product that I never use. His product competes against monsters in the class and does it poorly. I was trying to be polite and was doing that doctor’s nod that you all know very well: “Keep talking. I’ll sign for the samples and will forget about you and your stuff before you even leave the office”. Suddenly I caught myself on having visuals related to his product. To my surprise I visualised the exact patients who would benefit from using it and moreover I saw distinct faces and even names of those patients that I had seen earlier in the week that should have been put on his drug. I stopped him and trying to understand what had happened asked:”Can you repeat what you just said”. He did. Bingo. The reason he captured my attention and connected me with his message was very simple. All he did was that he gave me a very topical  and live description of the image of the patient who needs his product. Nothing special but a vivid and memorable picture of who, what, when, how, why. What a great impact that had.

What we hear we forget quickly, what we see we forget eventually, what we hear, see and live through we understand and USE. We connect with that stuff. We bond with it. Don’t just rely on your company’s promo materials. All too often folks who make your brochures talk about stuff they have never been around of. The visuals you get from them pay them big bucks but sell nothing but water. Learn how to create topical verbal images that can immediately connect your doctors with the patient type, her/his problem and your product. Put that patient right in the room with your client. It takes thirty seconds and you are way ahead of the game. 

February 16, 2008 Posted by | Sales Tips | , , , , | Leave a comment

Five reasons why you can’t sell.

Over past few months I spent countless time trying to analyze why reps fail to sell. There are numerous reasons, however here are five key ones.

1. Apathetic attitude. This is probably the most common trend. You want to sell but because you project no energy, passion or conviction, your doctors, who are themselves energy deprived, do not connect with you.

2. Inability to get true attention of your targets. This ties to apathetic attitude but goes beyond that. On one hand, you do not use sound bites that truly induce interest and make them listen. On  the other hand, you often don’t know what moves your doctors and what they care about.

3.  Lack of effort ( or skill ) in setting up buying criteria. You do not sell the problem properly. You are not convincing enough while explaining what problem your product is the answer to and who owns that problem.

4. No clear and concise brand message or singular idea that every product must have in order to bond with consumers. Most of you can’t formulate ( even when asked directly ) what is it that makes your medication the one to prescribe. This is an industry wide issue and it comes from your home offices where hundreds of marketers, managers and trainers simply do not do their job of supplying you with the messages that impact. But wait. Before you blame others ask yourself whether you just need to brush up on that and maybe dig out what you actually have been taught, but never fully understood or forgot.

5. No prep work. Week after week you remain the same.  You bring very little new, relevant, immediate or topical info to your doctors. Every sports team that ever wins anything has a game plan for each new game even when they play the same opponents. What is your game plan for this week?

Each of this big five was discussed on this blog. I encourage you to go back to the categories and to reread the topics that  you might be legging behind in. Then go back to your clients, APPLY what you know and START selling.

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is itching worse than stinking?

Doctor Max,
Can you give an example of what you are saying that we can relate to?

This was a comment in response to the previous post “Sound Bites”. OK. Say, you sell a cream for eczema (red and itchy skin). ” Doctor, a recent poll (survey, book, article….doesn’t matter) showed that for most people itching was number 2 ( or 3) annoyance behind……whatever only”. You sell an ED medication: ” A recent article in…. said that 1/5 of Americans over 80 are sexually active and of those every third with multiple partners”. You sell a cholesterol lowering medication other than Vytorin : ” Merck was hiding the result of……study from the public for over a year”. You sell a smoking cessation medication:” A law suit was filed in Oklahoma (or Alabama) against a doctor who failed to explain to a patient that smoking is a bad habit”.

All of the above are attention grabbers. Try to resist your curiosity after hearing those even if you are a busy doctor.

Bite them with the right sound. Use sound bites.

February 2, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | | Leave a comment