Drug Rep Time

How to succeed in Pharmaceutical Sales.

Pay attention to getting attention.

I wrote the following almost a year ago, but some of my recent observations compelled me to address this again.

It’s that simple: without your doctors’ attention there won’t be any transaction. Should you sell, pitch or educate when one wants to get out now, needs to answer a phone call now, is bombarded by 3 different conversations, dying of thirst or simply can’t hear you?
Your message delivered in the absence of her/his attention loses its immediate impact. Moreover it loses its potential to have any value or power in the future. You know why? Because in the midst of noise their brain catches something without reaching their awareness. You may think it’s OK, because next time their brain will recognize it as something familiar or already heard. Right? Maybe on paper. In reality their brain will associate that message with the negative circumstances and instead of bonding with your message , the brain will get frustrated with it and, what’s worse, with YOU next time when the same message and the messenger are back. The more of the same you do, the smaller your chance to ever deliver your next message will get. Instead of becoming an educator, you become an “irritater”.
Slow down, visualize their attention, watch and once they ready – talk.
What’s the best manifestations of their attention? Their direct question addressed to you, their direct eye contact with you, their mouth shut and ears unplugged, so to speak. Identify these simple signs and you are ready to go.
Even if you are dying to share your new indications, your new sales line, still slow down, take a look around, feel what they feel, think if the current circumstance allows, if not, see if it can be modified to benefit their attention (not your itching to talk).
By showing respect and making a neutral comment important to them you either will modify the circumstance right away or will get a better chance to be listened to in the future. Remember, it is all about THEM, not about your you or you product.
And yes, with some of them you won’t succeed because it is too late to correct established patterns of disrespect to you, or else because some of them are genuine jerks. But so what?

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September 27, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Sales Tips | , | Leave a comment

Male or female?

A few weeks ago I was asked by a rep what one thing makes the biggest difference in your sales.This came after my post www.drugreptime.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/five-reasons-why-you-cant-sell/. To my surprise I couldn’t answer the question without talking about too many things and hence diluting the value of each answer. What is it? Should you be younger or older, experienced or fresh out of training, female or male ,  “barbie doll”, always prepared, always available, always with funds? Should you have clear messages, or personal relationship, should you be in the office weekly or biweekly, should you be aggressive or considerate or simply be yourself? Is that the product or the company, breakfast, lunch or dinner, type of food or type of speaker, primary care or subspecialty, samples..? Do you need to dance if your doctor dance, drum if he drums, hunt if she hunts, golf, travel , be cool or old fashioned? Is it about some “alternative” relationship,  or maybe about knowing how to look, smell, what to say and when to shut up? Having spent over three months observing, thinking and debating I finally got it. It was so simple that I couldn’t believe it. So I decided to test it myself in my own sales. “What sales?”, you might ask. And that, my friends, is something I will also share with you in my next post. However I need some smart ideas and comments before we can continue. What do you think?

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind | , | 3 Comments

Fear.

In my last post I promised to review the topic of “appealing to fears”. I stated that in order to grab your doctors’ attention and to keep it long enough to be able to convey your message, you need to master the skill of appealing to their fears. However I only can imagine the reaction that my peers will have if I say “Scare them”.  So let’s say that I am  “FEARful” of saying what I feel like saying and let’s address the topic from a different angle: In order to better understand your doctors you have to understand their fears. You won’t find this topic in any sales books or in any of your sales manual and training. Put your thinking caps on and don’t judge me if I tickle sensitive spots.

Doctors like to feel and look smart, intelligent and respected. They are generally big snobs and think very highly of themselves. They hate to be publically outsmarted especially by those of who are of lesser education, younger age and better looks. They love to spot and to be part of new trends. They like to feel that they are in on “something” but afraid of getting confused by your logical fallacies ( CafePharma’s Dr.Dave’s favorite term). They like to work less and to make more. They are scared that with the way things go, they will have to work more and settle with less. Doctors want to retire early but are afraid that they won’t be able to . They are jealous of ” good old days “. They are anxious and afraid of the trends in health care especially with the falling reimbursements, increased labor challenges, new government coming , etc. Not to mention the perpetual fear of lawyers and litigants. They are anxious about falling respect to their profession. They are uncomfortable with poor visibility of the future and most of the time have no good plan B, since they were too busy studying to become business  savvy. They are afraid that their energy will deplete and feel older than their biological age. I hope you are getting the picture. What I am saying is, in order to build relationship and trust you may want to learn what they feel, with fear being the strongest feeling of all.

Disclaimer: when I say “they” , I mean us. I am one of them.

April 20, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind | , , | Leave a comment

Only 3% are buying now.

Across the board the statistics show that: 3% are buying now, 6-7% are open to it, 30% don’t think about it, 30%  don’t think they are interested, 30% know they are not interested. Compare that to your answers to the previous post. So go back to the stadium where you have 1000 doctors who came to listen to you but don’t have to stay. What do you need to say to move the crowd up the ladder: to convert those who are open to it to “buying now”, those who are “not thinking about” it to “open to it”, etc. The answer is you either got to appeal to their fears or to feed their burning desire to learn/ educate them. I will dedicate my next posts to those big two.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Marketing and Sales strategies | | Leave a comment

The stadium pitch.

I would like to introduce you to a great concept created by an outstanding marketer, Mr. Chet Holmes. It’s called “The stadium pitch”. This concept, once mastered, will arm you with a powerful understanding of the psychology of your prospects. Let’s imagine that you sell XYZ and that you have an audience of 1000 doctors who agreed to give you their attention for as long as you can retain it. You have a unique chance to address that audience and to convince them to write your outstanding XYZ product, but the caveat is that nothing will keep them in their seats and they are free to get up and leave at any time during your pitch. Turns out that no matter what you sell ( cars, furniture, office equipment, ED medications or ice cream ) there always will be 5 categories of prospects: 1. Those who are ready to by right now. They are sooo ready that you only need to offer; 2. Those who are open to “the idea of buying”. They are mostly ready to change, but may not yet be “buying now”; 3. Those who are “not thinking about it”. They are not against it, not for it, but just ” not thinking about it right now”; 4. Those who “think they are not interested”. They are not looking for any change and are happy with what they got at present; 5. And, finally, the last group is ” definitely not interested”. They are aggressively “anti-XYZ” ( please, do me a favor, leave them alone). Let’s go back to the stadium and answer the question: What percentage does each of the five categories represent? I want you to estimate and assign a % to each group in the comment section. This post will be continued once I see some answers. Of note, the statistics across all businesses is about the same, no matter what you sell. So, please, do not say “It depends…”. Just give us your estimates.

April 5, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | 8 Comments

In order to convince you got to be convinced.

Zig Ziglar, one of the best salesman of our time, once wrote that selling is essentially a transference of feeling. He said: “If I (the salesman) can make you (the prospect) feel about my product the way I feel about my product, you are going to buy my product”. In order to transfer a feeling, you’ve got to have that feeling. Try to persuade your doctors to write your product without being convinced that your product is the best for their patients, and that fact comes across to the prospects. What you frequently do is behave like you sell water in the flood. Yes, you got competition; yes, other products have many of the same features; yes, doctors have too many choices. But so what? Someone else said : “Believers are closers”. The C in the word “close” stands for conviction. Without that C you get “lose“. So whenever you enter your doctor’s office remember: In order to convince you got to be convinced.

March 24, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Know your weapons.

Do you always know what made your sale? Is it important? You bet it is. Let me suggest that we should never assume that we know what other people ( in this case your doctors ) think. Hence the best way to figure out why some of them all of the sudden start writing your product is to ask.

Let’s divide your prescribers into two groups. First group are those who have been “writing”. They should be the source of your product’s testimonials. You should ask them what it is about your product that makes them use it. Ask them now and ask them again and again in the future. Pass that information along to your other clients. This is your asset. Collect it and continue accumulating.

Second group are those who rarely or never used your product before. And then one day you start seeing their scripts. Go back to them and ask them what affected their prescribing patterns.  Ask what changed? There you may find precisely what you need to help you with your next customer. Was it a detail piece? Some new data? Was it you, your persistence, your comment, your speaker, your coffee and so on. Just ask. They will be happy to tell you. Once you learned it , you got a new marketing and sales weapon. Don’t assume that you know what worked even if it seems obvious. Prudent question is half-wisdom.

January 5, 2008 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , , , | 3 Comments

A tip to bond with your docs

Most doctors are tired and overworked, or think they are , or more importantly, want you to appreciate that. They frequently project fatigue and fading energy. A person with fading fuel source doesn’t mind borrowing some fuel from another source. The source however should be empathetic to their needs. Try to be that source of fuel with some extra energy in you. Be more energetic, but comfortably for them. Do not go too far out from where they are. Learn to tune yourself to feel their energy and to be refreshing. When you perceive: “life sucks” coming from them , you project “I can make it a bit better RIGHT NOW”. It’s a good tool that takes some time to learn, but once mastered it will give you a great bond with your clients. They will look forward to seeing you again. You can start by trying it with those docs that you are comfortable with. Remember that sales are energy exchange, and you are the energy source.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind | | Leave a comment

Master your influence.

As you might remember I promised to post the second part of the “Getting your doctor’s attention” on Sunday/Monday. I decided to wait a couple of days. The reason is that this Blog is not a monologue. It is created and meant to be an open forum where we discuss and learn from each other. You need to overcome your reservations, pick screen names (nobody knows who you are) or even stay anonymous, and place your comments. You will quickly learn that THIS IS THE ULTIMATE WAY TO GET ATTENTION. This will give you a ton of practice in the most useful success building topics. Trust me, if your comments draw attention of your peers and if you learn to contribute value to the others you will be golden.
Remember the amount of success you reach in life and the amount of wealth that you create are directly proportional to the amount of value you create for others.
The more beneficiaries you create , the more successful you will be. It is not unlike your everyday work. More value to more client/doctors =more money in your pockets.
This is a place to learn these skills.
Do you want to increase your own audience, discussion groups, learn feedback from hundreds instead of dozens, become a successful contributor to value of learning? If you like what you learn here , go to other blogs and invite people to join you here on DrugRepTime .com. Send emails with your invitations to those you want to benefit. And do it NOW.
Think about something. Many of you told your friends about this blog and invited them. How many of your friends actually came here? One, two? Do you know? Is it any different from talking to many doctors about your great products and getting no scripts?
It is well established in traditional marketing that a circle of influence of each individual is about 250 people. Will talk more about it in the future. But with the social media in place your influence through horizontal networking on the Internet can be multiples of that. So speak up to grow your own audience.
Aren’t you MASTERS OF INFLUENCE? Find what works in engaging others and you will be reach.
Doctor

November 19, 2007 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , , | 4 Comments

YES, Doctors learn from YOU whether they will ever admit to it or not! A story of the rep who got my attention..

It’s a WOW time! The results of the poles and the survey showed that:
1. You all , meaning 100% of the respondents, want to know HOW TO BE A VALUABLE SOURCE of information for your docs.
2. At the same time almost 3/4 of you either think that currently you are not or that you are unsure if docs want to learn anything from you.
Do you see the conflict here? Do you see how one can get depressed going to work and hopelessly leaving samples asking for an autograph? Do you see how this may not help your self esteem?
Cheer up people! Good news! According to my experience and communication with dozens and dozens of docs and reading physicians blogs and reading medical periodicals YOU are the ones that we use as the main every day educational source. So for those of you who feel like REPtilias I suggest to look in the mirror and reframe your thinking to become REPtigers.
Respect yourself and you will be respected.
Here is a perfect example of how you can become a great educational value to your docs.
I call it : “A story of a rep who got my attention”.
Busy Monday late afternoon, I am behind, the waiting room is filled with 10 patients. A new to our office rep walks in and unloads his samples. I can’t even pronounce the name of his medication. All I know is that I do not care. Here is the dialogue while i am writing my notes:
Him: Wow, it is one busy office.
Me: Yeah..
Him: And they all waiting to see you?
Me: I guess most of them.
Him: I saw a lot of older folks in the waiting room. They must be most challenging. They all must have 5-10 things you have to pay attention to. And you have to address every detail when there is so much to check in the short time you get to spend with them. (Please note, it’s all about me, nothing about him, his products or interests).
Me: Aha…
Him: You probably wish sometimes that one simple question could point you in the direction of identifying a major health problem especially those common ones that take away from quality of life of these older folks that you see. I counted 7 people in your waiting room who look over 60.
By the way of example, statistically 2 of them have an XYZ condition.
( Do you see how this kid is setting me up for a sale? He grabbed my attention, he provided me with an educational fact (I didn’t know that every fourth person suffers from XYZ), he is ready to come out with his smoking gun).
Me: What are you talking about? Is XYZ really over 20% prevalent. I didn’t know that.
Him: Yeap, and the sad fact is that unless you ask your patient a simple question “…….smoking gun???…..” she/he may never volunteer that to you until XYZ is far advanced. Once you establish XYZ your treatment options are pretty easy. ( Perfect set up of buying criteria).
…..mg of XYZ (medication name) and both of those folks in the waiting room (He reminds me to use the question/screening tonight, since “the folks” are here) will likely feel better in less than 48 hours ( He is indirectly teaching me that the medication takes that long to start working).
Me: What is your name? You’r good. ( I like the guy).
He got it all done in 2 minutes. Now he is my educational source on the subject. Did he sell yet? Maybe yes, maybe no. But HE GOT MY CONSENT TO LEARN MORE FROM HIM.

Our first topic will be: HOW TO GET YOUR DOCTORS ATTENTION. I will post it on Wednesday! Remember :No attention – no sale!
You must get their attention to be able to convey your message……..

November 11, 2007 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind, Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | Leave a comment

Are you valuable to your docs?

So far answering to the pole most of you said either “NO” or “Sometimes”. The pole is still open.
So far out of a bunch of answers to the survey ??? over 70% of you said either “NO” or “UNSURE”. Both the pole and the survey will remain open for two more days. I am frankly shocked. You know why? Because before I even opened my mouth to share any of my experiences, thoughts or suggestions with YOU, you are already educating ME with your answers.
Please post your comment where and how, you think, the practicing docs learn. And be sure to have some space in your stomach for a good desert, because I will tell you very soon how we/doctors learn. Just wait….It’s coming!

November 8, 2007 Posted by | Inside your doctor's mind | 4 Comments