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

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