Handling Objections Confidently


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Train your sales people how to handle objections with confidence.

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Handling Objections Confidently

  1. 1. A BroadSpektrum Healthcare Business Media’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative MedicinMan ~ FIELD FORCE E XCE L LE N CE ~ TM PHARMA | MEDICAL DE VICES | DIAGNOSTICS | SURGICALS Special Reprint www.medicinman.net Handling objections with confidence. By Prof Vivek HattangadiPart 1 and 2 taken from MedicinMan September and October 2012 issues respectively
  2. 2. ← Home MedicinMan September 2012 >>> Objection Handling | Page 4Handling Objections with Confidence (Part 1) It is a common belief 1. Direct denial that an objection is a 2. Indirect denial statement which inhib- 3. Questioning its a doctor from pre- 4. Compensation benefit scribing your brand. I have a different view 5. Forestalling objections on this. To me an ob- 6. Boomerang jection from a doctor is Let us discuss these methods one by one. a wonderful opportuni- ty which comes in dis- Direct denial method guise. Objections are This is a method of answering a doctor‟s objection by buying signals – the doctor wants a compelling reason making strong statements indicating that the doctor has to clear the doubts he has, so that he can prescribe your made an error. You straight away contradict what the brand. doctor says. Most likely, the doctor may get irritated Objections scare many field personnel because they are and may sour your relations with him. not sure they can find convincing reasons to overcome them. Your success as a professional will depend on No! It is not possible! Becaps was not your ability to anticipate and handle prospective pre- Becaps is freely available scribers‟ objections. No matter how well rehearsed available! your detailing is, at the final stage of his decision, the doctor may raise an „objection‟. How well you handle it will make or break the opportunity given to you. While handling objections, be positive! Make use of positive body language – smile. Most important, do not take objections personally. Listen; in fact be an aggres- sive listener and become genuinely interested in what the doctor says. Here are six simple ways on how to handle „objections‟ Direct Denial Method and truly convert them into an opportunity. Use of Indirect Denial method is always preferred I am very sorry! Bombay Indirect denial method My Rx of Becaps Medicals ran out-of-stock for This is a method used to respond to a prospective bounced yesterday 2 days but is now available. prescriber‟s objection by first agreeing that the issue raised in the objection is very important and later on denying the validity of the objection by softening the response. For instance, the same objection that Becaps is not available can be answered in the following way. “I am very sorry that some of your patients might have been put to inconvenience. It is true that Becaps is not available with some of the smaller outlets like Amba- vadi Medical Stores or Manek Baug Chemists, but Be- caps is available at all the major outlets like Ahmeda- bad Medical Stores and Baroda Chemists. I shall try to Indirect Denial Method make Becaps available even at the smaller outlets”.
  3. 3. ← Home MedicinMan September 2012 >>> Objection Handling | Page 5 Compensation benefit In this method the medical representative weighs the advantages and benefits of the brand against the disad- vantages of the brand when the doctor raises an objec- tion. Here is an example of a medical representative trying to sell the benefit of his brand Azithrocin (Azithromycin) for its use in typhoid fever. Doctor: “Your Azithrocin is very costly. Azithrocin 500 costs Rs. 30.00 per tablet whereas the cost of a good brand of ciprofloxacin is less than Rs. 10.00”. Medical representative: “Yes doctor, I value your ob- servation. When ciprofloxacin is prescribed in typhoid Questioning Method fever, I believe it is prescribed in a dose of 1 tablet twice a day for 10-12 days, isn’t it?” Questioning method Doctor: “Yes” This is a unique style of handling an objection by shooting a series of questions to the doctor one after Medical representative: “In this condition you need to prescribe Azithrocin for just 6 days, Azithrocin 500 another. The medical representative then gets an insight twice a day on Day 1 followed by Azithrocin 500 once into the problem and develops an appropriate answer. a day for the next 5 days. This makes it very patient Here is an example to the same query from the doctor friendly. Because of dosage convenience the chances of about the availability of Becaps and a possible way on the patient missing the dose is very low. You are there- how it could be handled. fore assured that when patients are on Azithrocin the Doctor: “Your Becaps is not available” relapse rate is almost eliminated. Moreover, the cure Medical Representative: “I am sorry to hear about this rates with Azithrocin are better than ciprofloxacin and the inconvenience it has caused to your patients. (shows scientific document). What’s more doctor, un- Could you please tell me how many patients came like quinolones which have low risk of causing joint back?” pain, Azithrocin has no such problems. And finally doc- Doctor: “Three patients came back yesterday even- tor, the cost of therapy with Azithrocin in typhoid fever ing”. is Rs. 210.00 whereas with ciprofloxacin it is over Rs. 240.00. Now would you not prefer Azithrocin in ty- Medical representative: “And did any prescription of phoid fever?” Becaps bounce back in yesterday’s afternoon or morn- ing session?” Doctor: “No”. Medical representative: “One last question. Can you tell me from which retail outlet the prescriptions bounced?” Doctor: “I think it was from Bombay Medical Stores”. Medical representative: “I assure you that by today afternoon Becaps will be available at Bombay Medical Stores also. Thank you for the information you have given”. Through a series of questions, the medical representa- tive was able to trace the source of the objections and was able to satisfy the doctor‟s needs. Generously use Compensation Benefit the words: “How”, “Where”, “Why”, “When” and so on.
  4. 4. 1← Home MedicinMan September 2012 >>> Objection Handling | Page 6 The medical representative has carefully weighed the Doctor: “Your ceftrixone injections are very costly benefits of Azithrocin over its perceived disadvantage, isn’t it? The other brand costs almost 30% less than cost – Rs. 30.00 per tablet, and has successfully han- your brand” dled the objection. Medical representative: “Yes, it is expensive. I never Forestalling the objection wish this happens, but if tomorrow someone near and Here the objection is handled even before it is raised! dear needs ceftrixone, which brand would you pre- Tell the doctor about a possible objection before he fer”? objects. Then handle the objection so it cannot be The doctor has no other option but to say: “Your brought up again. Make the objection rather weak and brand”. That‟s a boomerang you have thrown on the the handling strong. You answer the objection before doctor. the doctor brings it out. Then he is unable to voice the objection without pretending he has not heard. Let us once again take the case of Becaps! Which brand will you prefer if your child is unwell? Medical representative: “Doctor, let me first apologize for the non-availability of Becaps in some of the small- er medical stores in this area. I deeply regret the inconvenience it may have caused to some of your patients. I have now ensured its availability even with the smaller retail outlets”. I am happy to inform you that Azithrocin is available even at the smallest retailer like... Boomerang Method By using what the doctor says, you are saying that he is right. Use this method very tactfully or else, it may boomerang on to you. Use todays objections to sharpen tomorrow‟s presenta- tion! In Part II, in November 2012 issue of MedicinMan, we Forestalling the Objection shall discuss more advanced ways to handle the oppor- tunities in disguise.▌ Caricatures © Vivek Hattangadi Prof. Vivek Hattangadi is a Consultant in Pharma Brand Management and Sales Training Boomerang method at The Enablers. He is also visit- ing faculty at CIPM Calcutta When an objection is raised, the medical representative (Vidyasagar University) for their turns it around by using what he says to prove that he MBA course in Pharmaceutical is not correct. Use his own arguments like a boomer- Management. ang which goes around in a circle and comes back to vivekhattangadi@theenablers.org persuade him to prescribe your brand. Here is an ex- ample. http://in.linkedin.com/in/profvivekhattangadi
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  6. 6. ← Home MedicinMan October 2012 >>> Objection Handling | Page 7 Handling objections with confidence. (Part 2) Prof. Vivek Hattangadi e saw in the September 2012 Issue of MedicinMan that there is no such term as „objection handling‟. On the other hand, the actual term is „encashing the opportunities‟. Establishing a business relationship with a doctor is a lot like walking on a balance beam and, if you are able to handle the opportuni- ties he gives you, you will be able to have a sus- tained relationship. Now let us look at why objections are raised in the first place. » You have neglected to present all of the prod- Whenever an objection is raised, it should be addressed im- uct benefits. mediately; or else it may be a lost opportunity; a lost pre- scription! Procrastinating may result in: » Benefits may have been presented, but not the right benefits. In other words, you may have » The doctor not listening further to our detailing. failed to probe for real needs. » The doctor may feel that we are hiding something. » Rapport hasnt been established with the doc- » The doctor may feel that even you perceive it as a tor. problem – that would be very dangerous. » The product has not been targeted to the right » The doctor may think that you are not able to answer doctor. Just imagine Colimex Drops being pro- because you do not know the answer, which is a poor moted to a cardiologist? reflection on you. If you do not have an immediate » Communication and body language are poor answer, assure him that you will find out and inform. that you don’t sound confident or knowledge- The worst scenario, it may appear that you are not interested able. in the doctor‟s opinion and you may lose him forever. » Extraneous reasons for which neither you, nor While handling objections: the brand nor the company are responsible. A. Be positive! » Use positive body language and smile. » Do not take objections personally. B. Listen - be an aggressive listener. » Ask questions, nod your head at appropriate times. » Show him that you are genuinely interested in what he says. Here are few more methods in addition to what we learnt in the September 2012 Issue.
  7. 7. MedicinMan Ocotber 2012 Handling objections with confidence. (Part 2) | Page 8 1. Deflection Method what to do. I too put a drop on my tongue mirrored him and made a face. “Yes, it‟s bitter. I shall definitely con- You can handle an objection by deflecting it, i.e. by vey this to our R&D” I said and then deflecting the changing the direction. First listen to what the doc- objection I asked him “But what do you feel about the tor says. Understand his concerns, which should concept behind Colimex Drops, like when at midnight also reflect in your body language. Then continue as a mother brings her child to you with burping, ab- if nothing had happened. You can tell him that you dominal gaseous distension with severe colicky pain?” will come back to his point later. It is possible you Dr. Rao looked at me and said “Yes, and this is a very won‟t have to. Give an excuse, such as not having common problem here. Mothers do not know the right information or having to talk to somebody else lat- techniques of breast feeding”. And then he went on for er. half an hour explaining that condition to me and how In the examples which follow, many are from my Colimex could be useful. In fact he was detailing Co- days when I was a medical representative with limex Drops to me. Finally he said “Tell your company Carter-Wallace. We had just introduced possibly to prepare a patient-education poster on the right way the most interesting and effective product in those to breast feed a child. And make sure that Colimex days for infantile colic, Colimex Drops. It contained Drops are available with all the retailers here. I do not dicyclomine (an antispasmodic) and dime- want a single prescription to come back”. thylpolysiloxane (an antiflatulent). I deflected the objection, yet acknowledged and accept- Doctors loved its efficacy, but the kids hated its ed his objection. He went on to become my Colimex taste – very bitter. Nevertheless, it was my favorite brand ambassador in Kalol. brand and always wanted it to be brand leader in my territory. 2. Empathy Method Once I was meeting a very influential doctor from In this method, first empathize with the doctor and tell Kalol, an ex-town of Ahmedabad, Dr. S.M. Rao. him that you understand how he feels. Then tell them He was a GP with dominant pediatric practice. I about another doctor who also felt the same way. Then was introducing Colimex drops to him. He liked the tell them how the other doctor found that things were concept. He opened the sample bottle and put a not so bad when he actually used it. drop on his tongue. “Aagh! It‟s very bitter!” he ex- I was meeting a well known pediatrician from Ahmed- claimed “I shall never prescribe Colimex Drops till abad Dr. Arvind Kothari who was reluctant to prescribe you change its taste.” Colimex drops because of its bitter taste. I said “I do I knew that dicyclomine had an inherent bitter taste understand how you feel about the taste of Colimex and there was no way to mask it. I was wondering Drops, and how the infants would respond to its taste. Even Dr. M.V. Dudhia (who was his teacher and HOD, Pediatrics, V.S. Hospital, Ahmedabad) felt the same way. But when he prescribes Colimex Drops, he tells the mother to keep the dropper at the back of the mouth and then administer Colimex Drops. Well, he told me that he receives so many phone calls from mothers thanking him for the relief he has given to the infant!” “Okay” said Dr. Kothari “is this what he does? Well, let me also try this technique too” and he went on to become a prolific prescriber of Colimex Drops. By empathizing with the doctor, you are in harmony and creating rapport for building long term relations.
  8. 8. MedicinMan October 2012 Handling objections with confidence. (Part 2) | Page 9 strong body language and make sure you take care of your 3. Curiosity tone. You should appear non-threatening and not in closing When a doctor says that he does not want to pre- mode. The doctor may well relent and give you the infor- scribe your product, you can become curious. Do not mation you need. just ask Why?‟ but express curiosity and interest. Diovol Suspension, an antacid, was our ace product. 4. Humor RCPA revealed that Dr. Vinod Rawal was a heavy When a doctor objects do not respond with negative emo- prescriber of Digene (from Boots), the most im- tions such as anger or frustration. Defuse the tension with portant competitor for Diovol Suspension. I met him gentle humor, maybe feigning shock or poking fun at your- regularly for about a year but not a single prescrip- self, BUT NEVER AT THE DOCTOR. Be careful not to tion for Diovol. Finally one day I asked him “Doctor, make the doctor the object of humor. just of out curiosity, could you please tell me why Another true episode, this time with Dr. Chinubhai Shah you have not prescribed Diovol? Tell me the reason who never prescribed Colimex Drops. One day I told him doctor and I shall be very happy.” “Well I think Colimex Drops will start crying if you don‟t Dr. Rawal smiled. “I believe you know Hoshang prescribe”. I took out a bottle of sample, showed the bottle Kanga, the medical representative of Boots? We and said “Dr. Chinubhai, Colimex Drops are already shed- studied together for 11 years in school. Forget about ding drops of tears – see this” Diovol Suspension as long as Hoshang is with Boots”. (This is the image of Colimex Drops sample pack then) “Thank you for mentioning the name Diovol Suspen- sion, doctor. At least now I know the reason”, I said Dr. Chinubhai burst out laughing and not with a smile. “I always thought my presentation was only started prescribing Colimex Drops but also took up an- poor or maybe you do not like me. I am relieved” He other product, Walamycin, outright too smiled, but the last sentence “…as long as he is Receiving an objection can be very frustrating. It is very in Boots” kept on reverberating in my ears. easy for emotions to leak out. By adding humor, you can I kept on persisting and one day during RCPA, I show that you are not offended by their refusal. BUT I RE- found a flow of prescriptions of Diovol Suspension PEAT, NO HUMOR ON THE DOCTOR! from Dr. Rawal. I was pleasantly surprised. I asked Well my message to all young friends, improve your com- the retailer what happened. He too smiled and told munication skills and speak with confidence. Your technical me that Hoshang has migrated to Canada. Persis- knowledge i.e. product knowledge will certainly go a long tence pays and if you know the reason why a doctor way in getting the confidence you need. ▌ does not prescribe your products, it will help you. But very important, in such cases, when trying to Caricatures © Vivek Hattangadi find the reason, complement your actual words with Prof. Vivek Hattangadi is a Consultant in Pharma Brand Management and Sales Training at The Enablers. He is also visit- ing faculty at CIPM Calcutta (Vidyasagar University) for their MBA course in Pharmaceutical Management. vivekhattangadi@theenablers.org http://in.linkedin.com/in/profvivekhattangadi
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