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

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