Drug Rep Time

How to succeed in Pharmaceutical Sales.

Pharma discounts in 2009 may be just a recipe to go broke.

A strong trend in the pharmaceutical industry in 2009 is the switch from talking about products to talking about their price.  Discount coupons have been around for a while, so have messages about insurance coverage, tiers, and so on. Now the price became the dominant  topic and the main point of interaction between drug reps and physician. It is all about “who’s cheaper”. Will it help your  sales? In the short term it will. But only in the very short term. Here are my reasons:

1. If everyone does the same ( and they do ), soon enough everything blends in and the news stops being the news. Tell me who possibly can distinguish between products if the main promoted difference is the type of coupon used or the tier level on Caremark or Medco. What is your USP, people?

2. Once the educational marketing is abandoned it is very uneasy to go back to it. Human complacency leads to choosing easier ways, and, of course, any drug rep would prefer to talk about the price or coverage over discussing  science with doctors. In essence, the pharma companies  decondition their reps and  thus deplete the relationship with doctors by switching from education or educational marketing to pure sales on price. Teach, don’t sell!

3. Here is how Pharma contributes to Walmart success. First Pharma reps condition  doctors and then doctors condition their patients  to think about price before anything else. Forget about the best, just get the cheapest, America!  However, dear Pharma marketers, at the end of the day your coupon expires, but don’t  hold high hopes that most folks will stick to your product. After you successfully primed them for cheapness they will ask for a new coupon or for a new discount de jour, or go to Walmart that will beat you all anyway. Be with the trend, but don’t be naive!


March 15, 2009 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , | Leave a comment

Success story. A quote from you.

I’m an ex-drug rep, and just discovered your site from pharmagossip.

Samples are the number one influencer of the prescribing habits of doctors, and I proved this with my last pharma company, which was a very small one, where doctors could request samples simply by faxing in a form off of the company’s website. I became the third best rep in sales out of 200 within six weeks, and never made one call on a doctor’s office. I mailed these forms anonymously instead to the offices in my territory.

Dan A.

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , | 1 Comment

The bigger the “why”, the easier the “how”.

Your comments to the previous post suggest that you feel that your marketing departments are not in touch with the sales reps. My observation has been that the sales aids that are supposed to be the foundation of your sales pitches are generally lousy. The language in them is mostly stiff and dead. There are many reasons for that but the three key ones are: 1. Marketing is not in touch with sales; 2. Fear of saying what needs to be said dominates everything; 3. Most creative marketers left Pharma to work for the Googles of the world. You are on your own now. The point here is that if you want be successful you will have to sharpen your skills. You are the ones who have to be in touch with reality of sales. You are the ones who have to say what needs to be said. You are the ones who have to be creative. From the time I started this blog I have beeng saying that it is not about your companies or products; it’s all about you. You are the brand that needs to be promoted, you are the biggest asset that you companies have whether they recognize that or not. Please be clear about that. So how are you going to do what needs to be done? The first step is to realize that the bigger is the “why”, the easier is the “how”. Know what you want, put all the key elements that we talked about in place and the results will come.  

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , | Leave a comment

Help me understand.

A few days ago I was at a POA meeting of one of the pharma companies. They invited me to get my feedback on their new promotional piece for one of the world’s largest brands. There were approximately fifteen sales reps, their DM, an ARM and two marketers from the brand team. The reps were presenting parts of the new sales aid, monitoring the impact, asking questions and getting my feedback and comments. We had a very intense, dynamic and informative interaction during which we went over at least two dozens points of how to deliver sales messages with the maximal impact on physicians. After a two hour long session the reps and their DM told me: ” You have no idea how huge this was for us”. Some of them took 3-4 pages of notes and comments; so it seemed like a great session. However, interestingly, the two marketers sitting there took no notes. Imagine-none. What was “huge” for the reps was not important for the marketing. I thought: “Wow, you must be self sufficient or plain naive. How can you possibly not being cureous about things that seemed so vital to your sales force?”. That brings two questions: Are your marketing departments even aware of what you folks struggle with?  And do they care? Please share your thoughts. Maybe that was just an isolated observation and your company’s marketing department is different. 

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , | 6 Comments

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

Speak to the scepticism before scepticism speaks to you.

Do you ever encounter objections while speaking to your doctors? How do you handle them? Do you run into the same objections over and over again? I bet you do. None of your products is perfect and none of them is good for everyone. There are many ways and techniques to overcome objections but the two key strategies that guaranty 80% of your success are: know them and address them upfront in your conversation. Knowing the objections means being able to isolate the objections down to their core. Surely there will be dozens of scenarios for individuals doctors, however having spent time in the field you should be able to know the main and the strongest ones pertinent to your products. Write those you already know down and constantly add to your collection as you go along. Now, once you’ve reviewed them and crafted masterful answers to diffuse the objections, you have a choice of either overcoming them when are still in their fetal stage or waiting until the end of you pitch when such objections may grow to become full-blown tumors. Actually, you don’t have that choice. You don’t want to wait until the building is completed to remove a defective brick from the foundation, do you? Put them to rest so that the remainder of your presentation or conversation evolves naturally around your strong selling points. And don’t be afraid, you already know what to expect. You’ve heard them. Act upfront and always speak to the scepticism before scepticism speaks to you.

March 29, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies, Sales Tips | , , , | Leave a comment

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

When Spitzer comes handy.

There was a great comment in response to the post ” She did it. Can you?”:…but what if your product doesn’t fix any new problem just has a slight benefit or has the possibility of 2ndary benefits that are still unknown… What if there really isn’t a cost associated with not using “my product” only a hypothetical, then what?….

This is so crucial for your sales that you may want to put your thinking cap now before you read the rest. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about selling the problems. Here it is: https://drugreptime.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/sell-the-problem-before-you-sell-the-solution/. The world belongs to those who mastered the sales of problems. Look at what the presidential candidates do: 80% of their talks are about how profoundly troubled we are and the rest is ( not always ) what they are going to do about it. In fact, the presidential race is one huge sale. Those who write their speeches know that in Ohio they need to talk about NAFTA, in Texas about immigration, in New York about values ( betrayed by Spritzer), and so on. They customize their sales via customizing the problems, then magnify them to the point when your throat can’t swallow the problem, when you get terrified and ready to say: ” Mommy, mommy ( or daddy ) please help”. The current nomination battle is a massive personal branding exercise that has two virtues: transparency and rapidly visible results. There is little you cannot learn about brand positioning from watching the candidates duke it out in state after state.

Your sales are not unlike that. Remember, there are two kinds of problems in the world: The ones you have, and the ones you don’t. Your job is either to sell the solution to the problems that your customers have ( or are aware of ) , or to make them own the problems that you have the solutions to. That’s what your key sales skill is. Make them own it! And be there to solve it! Even if your product does not fix a new problem and has only marginal benefits, make the old problem and the marginal issues so vital and painful that your customer would start begging for solutions.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , , | Leave a comment

She did it. Can you?

When you engage your doctors in a conversation remember the rule number one: IT IS ALL ABOUT THEM-NOT YOU. Speak to their interests in plain and easy to understand English. Be very straightforwarded with your language. Teach, do not sell. Add value by sharing knowledge. Remember the big three questions that you must have compelling  answers to:   1. What problem your product is the answer to; 2. Who owns the problem; 3. What is the cost of not using your product. The more I observe the reps the more I see some serious deficiencies in crafting of their educational messages. Start today by creating short and clear answers to the big three above.

Let me give you an outstanding example that I heard from a rep today. She asked me the following: “Do you know that the number one reason why people quit smoking is that their doctor spoke to them about smoking cessation?”. Now is that good or good !? 1. What is the problem her product is the answer to – smoking cessation. 2. Who owns the problem – me, who has hundreds of smoking patients. What is the cost of not using her product- hundreds of my patients will continue smoking and will be sick sooner or later. BRAVO, you did it! Now you have my consent to learn more from you.

March 12, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , | 1 Comment

Presuming to know is a disease.

I will be travelling for a few days, but I feel like something important needs to be said. Here is a quote:

True perfection seems imperfect, yet it is perfectly itself. True fullness seems empty, yet it is fully present. True straightness seems crooked. True wisdom seems foolish. True art seems artless.

Not-knowing is true knowledge. Presuming to know is a disease.  

Any ideas where it is from?                                                                                                                                  

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | 2 Comments

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

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

Sound bites.

These days the media (TV, newspapers, radio, Internet) has such a powerful influence on the audience that we all are programmed to receive and to process information in so called sound bites. Nobody has time and patience to spread thin over almost any topic unless it is vital. It’s not a secret for you that rarely any of your sales messages are vital for your doctors. Unless you say something along the lines that XYZ has been shown to cause heart attacks or cancers, or was found to be terratogenic in pregnancy, or caused medical malpractice litigations, all of which will kill your sales anyway, the rest of your messages has a slim chance to penetrate into the gut of your doctors. If you want to be paid attention to your messages have to become similar in the way they are formulated to the way the media formulates theirs. You have to learn how to create catchy phrases or sound bites, tag lines, analogies in order to be heard and to be interesting. Open MSN or Yahoo to see great examples of these sound bites: “10 things never to say at work place..”, “Does its size really matter…”, “Want better sex? Give it up for a month..”, “ADHD:how to know if you’ve got it..”, ” What she really wants from you..”. Most of the time there is nothing fascinating behind these bites once you read the content. But the idea is to make you click and learn more. We’ll talk more about this topic. For now, try to read, watch and listen to the news and observe your own reaction to those sound bites. See what moves you. See what triggers your interest and start thinking in terms of what you can say that would make your doc turn his head to listen.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | 1 Comment

Dig it from them.

I would like to suggest a very powerful exercise that will open your eyes on what you need to do to increase your sales. It’s very simple. Take one week to do it and by the end of the week you will discover things about your product that even your company doesn’t know. Here is what you need to do. Each of your products has a core message or USP (unique selling proposition). Your companies provide you with them. It shouldn’t be longer than one or two sentences. I want you to force yourself and say it every time you interact with your doctors this week. Just open your mouth and say it. Right after that you will need to look him right in the eye and ask: ” Is this how you think about my product?” Notice , you are not asking them what they think about your product. In your everyday routine most of you do just that. Conversely, you are asking them if their opinion about your product matches your USP. If you do it the right way, you will get tons of precious information out of that: opinions, doubts, skepticism, different views. Most importantly you will learn if they are bonded with your core message. Dig it from them. If you think you know what they think you are wrong! Assume nothing-ASK.

Let me know if this exercise worked for you.

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies, Your brand message | , , , | 2 Comments

Change your patterns.

Most of the reps set certain patterns of behavior in their doctors’ offices, get comfortable with them and are reluctant to change. Some of you would rather circulate through the same offices and avoid tough targets. If your strategies bring you consistent  growth of sales, you are fine. Whether you come in and talk about yourself, your life, dating, cars, movies, real estate, cool stuff, or simply leave samples and ask for signatures, or whether you present yourself as a tired, unsure of the future, struggling with your manager, stuck with a tough to sell product person, so long your doctors listen and consistently deliver, you are good to go. It is much easier to follow the same routine of getting signatures and leaving than to actually do something different every the time. By now we discussed multiple topics and even if you haven’t read all the posts you still should be able to feel that what I am calling for is innovation and creativity. Grow uncomfortable with your routine and yourself and start working on changes. What areas should you change first? Is it how you get your doctors’ attention? Is it how you formulate and deliver your key message? Is it how you brand yourself or your product? Is it how you set up buying criterias? Is it your mastery of reading their minds? Is it improving your sales techniques? Is it your energy level? I don’t know the answer to these questions. All I know is that change is not always easy but ALWAYS POSSIBLE.

January 24, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | 2 Comments

Did you set the buying criteria?

No matter what you sell you got to show your client that your product is his logical choice. All too often I see you skipping through to the description of your product without any or with very minimal discussion of the disease state and the current trends in management and treatment. When you talk to your doctors you  talk to people who know more than you do about human diseases. In fact, it might feel rather intimidating when it comes to their superior or your inferior level of knowledge in a given field. So your natural reaction is avoidance. Let me tell you a story that happened to me.

One day, when I was an intern ( only two months into my training ) at Cooper Hospital, I was taking care of a very challenging case. I was doing an admission to the CCU in the middle of the night. My patient was a fifty something years old male who just had a heart attack. I collected the history, examined him and was discussing with him his treatment  plan. He asked me a few questions and I went on in great details to explain what would happen next. He asked me what my opinion was about his chances of making it, about complications and so on. We had a good talk, but something in his manner of asking questions appeared unusual to me. So I asked him what he was doing  for a living. His answer literally shocked me. ” I am a cardiologist and the head of the CCU ( coronary care unit ) in ……. hospital”, he said. I felt like a complete uneducated idiot teaching an experienced and respected pro. I lost my ability to speak for a second, and when I continued I simply told him how I felt. His reply was: ” I know it all, but now I choose to learn from you. You are my doctor”.

So no matter how smart, educated and tough they are, once you have a chance to talk to them they will likely listen, at least initially. Forget about their credentials. You are doing your job. You are EDUCATORS first, and sales people second. As their educators you better know three things, and know them very well. 1. What problem is your product an answer to? 2. Who has that problem? 3. What will happen to the patients if your product is not used? If you have no quality answers to all three of them, your message will not connect and will not be memorable.

We’ll talk more about the specifics in the upcoming posts.

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | Leave a comment

How good are you?

Earlier this week I had a conversation with one of the best reps in my territory who asked me to comment on your training. I recalled a survey that you were asked to participate in about 2 months ago. 84% of answers were that you got an adequate marketing and sales training from your companies. Back then I thought : “Wow, you must be ignorant or I might be blind”. But the statistics was stronger than my opinion. So, I backed off. Now I am rethinking the way the question was posed. Let me ask you again: What is missing in your training? What would you like to change?

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , | 3 Comments

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

Begging for leftovers.

If you are a market leader, skip this post. Go sell more and enjoy your leadership.

Well, today I heard it again: “We are not asking for much. We know you like…XYZ medication (our competition). We just want you to give us a couple of scripts here and there”. This rhetoric is so painfully familiar, that I felt like crying along.

So, let’s look at the message that I am getting: “We do not believe that our brand is the best. We do not believe that we can sell it to you. We are not proud of our product or ourselves. We are begging for leftovers”.

Has anyone ever analyzed outcomes of such approach? Let me tell you what happens after.

A. No scripts. B. You committed your brand to a death sentence. And along with that you committed yourself. 

We all know the numbers game you have to play. But, please, do not put your name under the statement of your brand’s failure. Remember, you and your product are not the same. Even if you think that you are selling a stinky product ( which is NOT the case ), you do not want to be seen useless as a REP. Find and regain your pride! Everything has its place in the market. Locate the niche, locate your primary sales targets and grow them. Do not beg those who are not your primary market for any leftovers.

If I am not saying what you are seeing, I want to hear it. Please post your comments.

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | 3 Comments

Sales are exchange of energy.

Now you finally got their attention. What do you do next? What do you say when you talk? Are you ready? Do you have a message? Is it powerful, is it memorable, is it concise? I am afraid most of the time the answer is “NO”.
Way too often the reps are apathetic. No energy, no message, just small talk and yapping about the topics that they feel comfortable discussing with their clients. Time after time, week after week I witness how some great opportunities are lost. “But that’s how we bond with the docs..” , some may say. For strong market leaders, or for those docs who are in love with your products this approach delivers results. Great! Are you satisfied? Are these the outcomes that you are looking for? If yes, the rest of this post is useless for you.
Sales are exchange of energy, period. If you are apathetic, so are your sales.
Grow out of comfort of mediocrity. Think about it: your competition is coming right after you and is about to destroy you with her passion and energy. Do you know how easy it is to get attracted to energy? If you were a doctor would you rather listen to and learn from a rep with an apathetic attitude?
This may not be in your sales manuals but:
The single best way to learn is to unlearn first.
If you are looking for new outcomes find new approaches. Get rid of habitual patterns. Grow uncomfortable with boring. Do not allow yourself to slack off ” just this one time”. Learn to be ready NOW. Say what you need to say NOW. Pass on your energy TODAY and pollinate those flowers like a bee.
Doing things the same way brings more of the same results. It’s true everywhere you look in your life.
The key to success is to raise your own energy. When you do, people will naturally be attracted to you. And when they show up, bill’em.

December 13, 2007 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | | Leave a comment

How to see "no see" docs?

This is the comment I posted on Dr. Dave’s blog at CafeParma two days ago in response to “Creative ways to reach “no see” docs..” thread:

Doctor here. All “no see” doctors are divided into two groups:
1. Those who do write your product
2. Those who don’t. Group 1 is your primary market target, group 2 is not. The amount of time and frustration that you will have to invest to get group 2 on board is disproportional to any potential benefits. At the same time, those “bad “clients give you 90% of your headaches.
Group 1 is clearly worth your attention. For the most part, the reason they do not want to see you is that they do not think you will bring them any value. So reflect first and decide what kind of value you will give to your doctors once/if you get that chance. If interested, we can continue talking about it when you can boil down your educational value to one sentence, I mean one. Create that one pip that you believe will score. 10 words, not more. Doctor Max

December 8, 2007 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | 1 Comment

Select your target doctors. Pick your battles, tribe!

Let’s expand on your market selection.
Busy day in the office. A rep is in speaking to me. I am one of the biggest prescribers of the class that his product belongs to. I know that he knows that his particular product has no more than 5-6 % of my scripts in the class. He also knows that that number remained unchanged for 2-3 years, and hence by now unless he is ignorant he should see very little potential for expansion.
A colleague of mine who is new to the practice and always, and I mean always, takes time to listen to the reps passes by as the rep is talking to me. The rep turns his head to the doctor and without saying anything about anything is asking for an autograph. The doctor signs the paper and is heading into a patients room. I am asking loudly: “Doctor…, can you tell me what does this fellow sell?” My colleague looks at me and says: “I have no idea”. Wow! and Wow again!
Does he know that he probably has 10 times better chance with that new doctor than with me. I mean 10 times. Guys, grab it, chew it, taste it, enjoy it and only spit it out if it’s not chewable.
What do you think? Familiar situation? Pick your battles, tribe. Pick your battles.

P.S. Note for the rep in the story: Count on me to help you grow!

December 6, 2007 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | | Leave a comment

Your primary market. Are you wasting your time with some of your doctors?

I am sure that thought occurred to you. In short, my opinion is “YES”.
We talked about getting your doctors attention, but we never discussed “whose attention”.
You know better than me that with some of them you may be out 3 nights a week, feed them every sushi in the world, kiss their behinds , and yet at the end of the day all you get are a few tiny balls of constipated stool coming out with big time cramping and hemorrhoidal bleeding. Yet, most of you persist. God bless you! You must truly like this emptying process. From business standpoint you are foolish. I submit to you that your absolute best client is the one who already uses your product. They are loyal to your product and to you. Your best bet is to get their attention to write more, to sell them your other stuff, and to involve them in “selling” your products to their office partners. If your DM teaches you otherwise let her read this and yell at me.

December 2, 2007 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | 2 Comments

Getting your Doctors’ attention. WSGAT rule.

So, to review what we said so far ( please review the old posts as needed ):
1. No ATTENTION from the docs – no transaction of info- no sales for you.
2. Deliver info that is important to THEM.
3. Only deliver when the moment is right FOR THEM (not for you).
4. Best sales are by those who managed to become the source of VALUABLE INFORMATION.
5. Bond to your Brand yourself and target BONDING your docs with it.

Let’s take it from here.
The only assumption you can make that anything that you ever say only truly impacts if it carries the answers to two questions: WSGAT ( what’s so good about that ) and WIFM
(what’s in it for me ). WIFM also means for most docs “What’s in it for my success with my patients”.
Every time you walk in the office and every time you are ready to pitch, know the answers to these questions. If you are not ready today , your best bet is to stick to
the topics of general humanity and general news ( “it is raining doctor… will that impact your weekend plans”, so to speak).
It’s OK. But:
I encourage you to always prepare the topic answering WSGAT and WIFM questions for your next week. Have two or three messages ready and experiment with them every week, figuring out which is better for what client. Analyze what worked, what was natural for you, and what didn’t or wasn’t.
Before you walk in you must be ready if the moment is right ( Cialis figured that one right).
Do not ever settle with failure ahead of time. Most popular comment: ” I am leaving you some XYZ and some ZYX, let me just grab you JH…” doesn’t sell anything.
It reflects either lack of prep work, fear of failure, or that “your moment is never right”.
You are not in the business of serving meals ( ” here is some pasta, some chicken, some olives….”). You are in the educational marketing business.
Yes, some docs won’t ever listen to you, period. Don’t let them give you 80% of your pain. They may not be your primary market at this time. Learn from your experience with them so that you can apply it with your next client.
Some others, only want to talk about their agendas ( hobbies, needs and blah, blah, blah..).
Slowly but confidently steer them to start thinking of you as a source of knowledge and valuable info. It may take a while but work on that. Don’t just say “we need your help with XYZ”. Very few will help on these terms.
But at least that group listens to you when you talk, so you do have a chance. Right?

This part of Getting Your Doctors attention is very important. Please comment if it answers your concerns. Let’s debate.

November 25, 2007 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , , | 1 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.

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

Start here. Get your Doctors’ attention.

OK. Most of you in your responses to the survey said that this is the topic of value to you. You are right on the money, because without their attention there won’t be any transaction. Can you 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.
Would you ever think to ask her to marry you while she is on the phone with her credit card company trying to dispute a transaction?
If you think “yes” -rethink. And if you do it- Good Luck…
Your message delivered in the absence of her/his attention looses it’s immediate impact. Moreover it looses it’s 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 think it’s OK, because next time their brain will recognize it as something familiar, something 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 ( that you all said you want to be) , you become an “irritater”.
Slow down, visualize their attention, watch and once they ready – you go.
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 foundation for nourishing their respect to you in the future. Remember, it is all about THEM, not about your product.
And yes, with some of them you won’t succeed because it is rather late to correct established patterns of disrespect to you, or else because some of them are genuine jerks, but so what?
Don’t let those 20% that can’t stand you give you 80% of your pain.

OK, guys, we officially started. I want to see your comments. I know that you come here to read and learn but it is a conversation, not a monologue. Without your comments, I can’t get myself going…Also please forward the links and invites to your peers.

The next topic will be part 2, and the most important part of “Getting their attention”, called YOUR ATTENTION GRABBING PITCH. Coming on Sunday or early AM Monday.

November 15, 2007 Posted by | Marketing and Sales strategies | , , | Leave a comment

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