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The Art of Pharmaceutical Selling awais

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Author Dr. Awais e Siraj, Managing Director and CEO Genzee Solutions"

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The Art of Pharmaceutical Selling awais

  1. 1. THE ART OF PHARMACEUTICAL SELLING Awais & Ghufran |
  2. 2. II ABOUT THE AUTHORSDr. Awais e SirajDr. Awais is an international trainer, learning facilitator and managing director of GenzeeSolutions. About 14 years earlier, he joined pharmaceutical industry after doing his MBAfrom Strathclyde Graduate Business School in Glasgow, UK. He has more than a decadeof experience in Marketing and Sales in addition to Medical and Regulatory Affairs. Hislast industry assignment was with Boston Scientifics‘ regional office in Beirut, Lebanon asCountry Sales Manager. An all-time learner, Awais has been enlightened by training andeducation in Pakistan, United Kingdom, USA, France, Germany, Lebanon, Malaysia andSingapore.He has a proven record of a successful manager, team leader and a professional withwinning mind-set. In his role as coach, facilitator, and consultant he has groomed peoplefrom Micronet Broadband and Nayatel, Abbott, Amson, Ferozsons, Roche, British HighCommission, Action Aid, B Braun, Bayer – Schering, Pourateb (Iran), Khushali Bank, UFone, PTCL, Air Weapons Complex, Sukhi, DOVE, IYF, Habib Bank, Amgomed, UNDP,Ericsson, National Commission of Biotechnology, Clough, Nestle, Schering Plough,Mobilink, Ministry of Information Technology, Fauji Fertilizer Company, PSO, GetzPharma, Reko Pharmacal, PARCO, Ministry of Tourism, HHRD, Digital Prodigy Pvt. Ltd.PharmEvo, GlaxoSmithKline, ICI, Medisure, Chas a. Mendoza and others.His involvement in academic research, teaching, training and people developmentconnected him initially to CIIT, Islamabad, and later with Bahria University, Islamabad asAssistant Professor in the Department of Management Sciences.Dr. Awais has been a speaker at LUMS, University of Punjab, NUST, PIMSAT, MarketingAssociation of Pakistan, National Defense University, Thames Business School, Quaid eAzam University, National Commission on Rural Development, COMSTECH, HEC, andCOMSATS. Dr. Awais spearheaded the establishment of Leadership Development Center(Corporate Training Initiative) at Bahria University, Islamabad.He is also a scholar of PhD at University of Leicester, United Kingdom.Please access his detailed CV at:www.genzeesolutions.com www.awaisesiraj.com
  3. 3. IIIHAFIZ GHUFRAN ALI KHANHafiz Ghufran Ali Khan is currently working with the Faculty of ManagementSciences of International Islamic University Islamabad Pakistan. Formerly heremained Assistant Dean & Chairman of the faculty of Management & Economicsat Karakoram International University Gilgit Pakistan .His areas of interest areManagement, Strategic Management & HRM.His first book published with the title of ―HIGHER EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN: ISSUESAND MANAGEMENT” and he is also known for his research publications in globallyrenowned research journals.hghufran@yahoo.com
  4. 4. IVTo Our Parents!
  5. 5. VACKNOWLEDGEMENTSWe are full of gratitude to:1. Almighty Allah for giving us the life and energy to conceive and actualize this academic endeavor.2. Our parents, who gave us the moral support needed for this research.3. My families, for all their love and care.4. Our friends, who pushed me every now and then to complete this book as soon as possible.5. All Medical Representatives, Territory Managers, Sales Managers and Managing Directors of different companies who implicitly or explicitly helped me in my research. (most of them wanted anonymity. Thus individual names are not mentioned here)6. Mr. Philip S. Lall for reading through the first edition and giving us advice.7. Miss Saiqa Sakhi for some illustrations.8. Last but not the least, Mr. M. Nazim Parvez for writing a wonderful preface.And we will be more than grateful to those readers who will take the pain of giving ussome feedback after reading this book.Dr. Awais-e-Siraj and Hafiz Ghufran Ali KhanJanuary 2011
  6. 6. VIWhat Other Say:“I am yet to see a book on “Pharmaceutical Selling” which is so thorough, well organizedand comprehensive, yet written in a language which should be understandable to eventhe most naïve reader. Dr. Awais and Ghufran have always made great contribution tothe global pharmaceutical industry” (Dr. Kaiser Waheed Sheikh, Chairman Medisure Laboratories and Ex – Chairman Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturer‟s Association)"We have used the First Edition of this book and found it to be an invaluable resource fortodays medical representative. The increased emphasis on key account management andcareer management in the Second Edition makes it even more of a necessary read." (Osman Khalid Waheed, President Ferozsons Laboratories Ltd.)“I am highly impressed by the effort made by Dr Awais while publishing a much neededbook on the art of selling in health care industry esp; pharmaceutical selling. I have comeacross a number of related books but this book is unique as it not only covers thefundamentals of this field but also provides complete guidelines to the pharmaceuticalsales persons while focusing on the customer‟s perspective. As the topics are covered someticulously, it would be an asset for other health care segments such as diagnostics. Iwish Dr. Awais all the best and would anxiously wait for his next book, as it would bevery easy to understand even for a layman”. (Shabbir Halai, Country Manager Diagnostics, Roche Pakistan Ltd.)“Unlike selling of consumer goods, Pharmaceutical selling is a complicated process,involving a number of traits to be possessed by medical representatives. Unfortunatelynot much learning material is currently available that would adequately address theneeds of those who want to join or excel in this challenging profession. “The Art andCraft of Pharmaceutical Selling” is an exquisite effort enabling not only the beginners inthe field pharmaceutical selling but the experienced also to carry out their jobssuccessfully. The realistic, practical and fundamental information provided by the authorshows his in-depth knowledge of the field, both in terms of theory and practice” (Dr Zaffar Hashmi, Country Manager, B.Braun Pakistan)„‟Pharmaceutical selling is one of few professions creating job opportunities for educatedyouth in emerging markets like Pakistan. However for a vast majority of people there areno means of gaining a meaningful understanding of this dynamic profession. Dr Awais‟spioneering text on the dynamism of pharmaceutical selling in emerging markets is groundbreaking and the open frank and realistic way in which the book is written will help a lotof young population who are currently in this profession or are recent graduates and planto take up pharmaceutical selling as profession” (Dr. Shahzad Khan, Director Marketing and Sales, Getz Pharma Pakistan Pvt. Ltd.)
  7. 7. VII PrefaceFrom induction to evolutionThe Medical Representative is the strongest and most effective communication link between thepharmaceutical industry and medical fraternity.At present, more than 70 thousand medical representatives are working in Pakistan. There is anaverage addition of 15% to 20% new jobs per annum. Although job is tough, it providesopportunity to an average graduate to earn above average remunerations with better workingconditions.Although the Drugs Rules (1976) and IFPMA recommend that “the medical representatives mustbe adequately trained--”, no serious attempt is visible to define “adequate training” from any keystakeholders. Availability of this book could be termed as a pioneering attempt in this direction.Despite the economic contribution of this profession, there is hardly any literature on the subjectselected by Dr. Awias Siraj. If there is any, that is mostly alien to our norms, practices & culture.He makes efforts to encompass all important points that a medical representative must know forsuccess in career. Every point has been elaborated with examples and adequate details.Frequently, the reader is challenged with probing questions for greater understanding orclarification. All clippings and references selected from authentic intellectual global sources are notonly relevant but also applicable in local environment.He discusses face to face meetings or medical presentations at various types of meetings. Allrepresentatives tend to work what is a called a territory. A territory is their area or working. Hegives many suggestions regarding territory size and its management; geography, segmentation ofdoctors, targeting the doctors, pre-call planning, post call planning, market research, etc. He talksabout the day to day work of the representative that tends to be target based around, sales, callrates and other objectives set around individual personal development plans.Dr. Siraj also gives tips to tame the boss, it could not be ignored. He adds many more instructionsfor successful career progression. That‟s why it could be termed as “frontline guidelines formedical representatives: from induction to evolution”.I sincerely hope that the readers will discover in this attempt a new world of professional, hithertounknown to them – a world whose fascination may lead them to explore further the ofprofessional literature and discover both its rich tradition and its promise for the future.I am also confident that Dr. Siraj would take up challenge of completing & providing completesyllabus required for “adequate training” of medical representatives. M. Nazim Parvez Sanofi-Aventis (Pakistan) Ltd. Date: January 31. 2011
  8. 8. VIII Table of ContentsChapter 1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................... 1 1.1 HOW TO BENEFIT?..................................................................................................................... 2 1.2 LAYOUT ........................................................................................................................................ 2 1.3 PHARMA COMPANIES AND THEIR SALESPEOPLE ................................................................. 2 1.4 POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND ....................................................................................................... 3 1.5 GOAL SETTING – THE KEY TO SUCCESS ................................................................................ 4 1.6 MISSION STATEMENT................................................................................................................ 6Chapter II THE PILLARS .................................................................................... 9 2.1 KNOWLEDGE ............................................................................................................................... 9 2.1.1 Product knowledge ............................................................................................................ 9 2.1.2 Medical knowledge .......................................................................................................... 11 2.1.3 Market knowledge ........................................................................................................... 11 2.1.4 Theoretical selling skills ................................................................................................. 12 2.1.5 Analytical selling skills ................................................................................................... 12 2.1.6 Pragmatic selling skills ................................................................................................... 13 2.2 APTITUDE .................................................................................................................................. 14 2.2.1 Attitude .................................................................................................................................. 15 2.2.2 Passion ................................................................................................................................. 15Chapter IIIGEAR UP FOR SALES CALL ............................................................. 18 3.1 WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS? .............................................................................................. 18 3.2 KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS ...................................................................................................... 19 3.3 OBJECTIVE SETTING ............................................................................................................... 21 3.4 EXAMINING YOUR WARDROBE .............................................................................................. 21 3.5 TIMING ....................................................................................................................................... 21 3.6 PREPARATION ........................................................................................................................... 22 3.7 REHEARSAL AND ROLE PLAYS ............................................................................................... 22 3.8 TRAVEL ....................................................................................................................................... 24 3.9 DISTRIBUTION AND DISTRIBUTORS .................................................................................... 26 3.10 CHEMIST FIRST! ....................................................................................................................... 26 3.11 ARRANGE YOUR BELONGINGS ............................................................................................... 31 3.12 WHILE IN THE WAITING ROOM, OBSERVE ......................................................................... 32 3.13 LIAISON WITH GATEKEEPERS ............................................................................................... 33 3.14 SHAPING INITIAL DISCUSSION ............................................................................................. 34Chapter IVLIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION ............................................................. 36 4.1 THE SALES CALL ....................................................................................................................... 36 4.2 ON THE STAGE ......................................................................................................................... 36 4.3 FIRST IMPRESSION IS THE LASTING IMPRESSION............................................................ 36 4.4 REMEMBER THE NAME OF YOUR DOCTOR .......................................................................... 37 4.5 KNOW YOUR LINES .................................................................................................................. 38 4.6 MAKE IT NATURAL ................................................................................................................... 38 4.7 THE SPEED OF YOUR SPEECH ................................................................................................ 38 4.8 THE GAME OF FEATURE AND BENEFIT ................................................................................ 39 4.9 OWN “THEIR” CONCERNS ....................................................................................................... 41 4.10 PATIENT‟S POCKET IS THE DECISION-MAKER .................................................................... 41 4.11 BRIDGING .................................................................................................................................. 41 4.12 MODE OF COMMUNICATION .................................................................................................. 42
  9. 9. IX 4.13 CREDIBILITY ............................................................................................................................. 42 4.14 MAKE THEM FEEL SPECIAL ..................................................................................................... 43 4.15 VALUE PROPOSITION .............................................................................................................. 44 4.16 ACTIVE LISTENING .................................................................................................................. 45 4.17 SELLING WITH EVIDENCE ...................................................................................................... 46 4.18 ADOPT A PROACTIVE ATTITUDE ........................................................................................... 46 4.19 DISCUSS WITH CONFIDENCE ................................................................................................ 46 4.20 RESEARCH AND GENERICS ..................................................................................................... 47 4.21 IMPRESS THEM WITH NUMBERS ........................................................................................... 47 4.22 REPEAT THE NAME OF PRODUCT TIME AND AGAIN .......................................................... 47 4.23 READY MADE ANSWERS .......................................................................................................... 48 4.24 SHORT AND LONG CALLS AND A FEW IN BETWEEN .......................................................... 48 4.25 NEGOTIATIONS ........................................................................................................................ 49 4.26 APPREHENSIONS ...................................................................................................................... 49 4.27 DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS .................................................................... 50 4.28 CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY ..................................................................................... 50 4.29 TELL THEM ABOUT THE OLD DAYS ....................................................................................... 50 4.30 MANAGING TIME ...................................................................................................................... 50 4.31 TALKING TO A GROUP OF CUSTOMERS ............................................................................... 50 4.32 WHEN THE DAY IS JUST NOT RIGHT! .................................................................................. 51Chapter V SELLING SKILLS ............................................................................. 53 5.1 OPENING .................................................................................................................................... 53 5.2 PROBING .................................................................................................................................... 54 5.3 REINFORCING ........................................................................................................................... 55 5.4 GAINING COMMITMENT .......................................................................................................... 56 5.5 OBJECTIONS.............................................................................................................................. 56 5.5.1 Misunderstanding ............................................................................................................. 57 5.5.2 When the customer is right .......................................................................................... 57 5.5.3 Uninterested customer or satisfied with another product ................................ 58 5.5.4 Disbelief ............................................................................................................................... 58 5.6 CLOSING .................................................................................................................................... 59 5.7 COMPLAINERS ARE MOST LOYAL CUSTOMERS .................................................................. 59 5.8 IS THAT ALL ABOUT “SELLING SKILLS” ............................................................................... 60Chapter VITHE “MARKETING MIX” ................................................................. 62 6.1 LITERATURES/FOLDERS .......................................................................................................... 62 6.2 PRESCRIPTION PADS ............................................................................................................... 63 6.3 CLINICAL STUDIES ................................................................................................................. 63 6.4 GIMMICKS AND GIVEAWAYS .................................................................................................. 64 6.5 SPONSORSHIPS ........................................................................................................................ 64 6.6 CLINICAL SEMINARS AND CONGRESSES.............................................................................. 65 6.7 GROUP DISCUSSIONS AND ROUND TABLE MEETINGS...................................................... 65 6.8 OPINION LEADER LECTURES AND SPEAKER PROGRAMS .................................................. 66 6.8.1 Selecting a speaker .......................................................................................................... 66 6.8.2 Arranging a speaker program ...................................................................................... 67 6.9 LUNCH/DINNER OR TEA .......................................................................................................... 68 6.10 USE OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA .................................................................................................. 69 6.11 DAYS TO REMEMBER! .............................................................................................................. 70Chapter VIIAFTER THE SALES CALL ................................................................ 72 7.1 ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIPS .................................................................................................. 72 7.2 RELATIONSHIPS WITH MEDICAL STUDENTS & FRESH GRADUATES .............................. 73 7.3 POST CALL ANALYSIS .............................................................................................................. 73 7.4 FOLLOW UPS ............................................................................................................................. 74
  10. 10. X 7.5 REPEAT CALLS .......................................................................................................................... 74Chapter VIII SOMETHING MORE ................................................................... 76 8.1 EXPLORING THE HIDDEN AGENDAS ..................................................................................... 76 8.2 CULTURES & TRADITIONS OF DIFFERENT CITIES & LOCALITIES .................................. 76 8.3 COST OF ONE CALL .................................................................................................................. 77 8.4 USE YOUR OWN HEAD IN ADDITION TO PRODUCT MANAGER‟S .................................... 78 8.5 FIGHT ON PRICING? SHOULD YOU? ..................................................................................... 78 8.6 DON‟T PRETEND TO KNOW EVERYTHING............................................................................ 79 8.7 DO “THEY” KNOW EVERYTHING? .......................................................................................... 79 8.8 NEVER ARGUE ........................................................................................................................... 79 8.9 DON‟T BE TOO PREDICTABLE-BE DIFFERENT ..................................................................... 79 8.10 TAKING RISKS ........................................................................................................................... 80 8.11 WORKING AT ODD HOURS ..................................................................................................... 80 8.12 CONTROLLING YOUR TEMPER ............................................................................................... 80 8.13 INSTITUTIONAL/HOSPITAL SELLING .................................................................................... 80 8.14 JOINT SALES CALLS ................................................................................................................. 81 8.15 SO! WAS IT A GOOD DAY OR A BAD DAY? .......................................................................... 83Chapter IXIT ISN’T FUN IF IT’S EASY.............................................................. 85 9.1 “NO MEDICAL REPS PLEASE”.................................................................................................. 85 9.2 COMPETITOR LOYAL ................................................................................................................ 86 9.3 APATHETIC DOCTORS ............................................................................................................. 86 9.4 “I AM THE AUTHORITY” .......................................................................................................... 86 9.5 ANALYTICAL AND CRITICAL DOCTORS ................................................................................ 86 9.6 LOYAL AND NON LOYAL CUSTOMERS .................................................................................. 87Chapter X EVALUATE THY “SELF” ................................................................... 88 10.1 MAKE YOURSELF DEARER FOR THE EMPLOYER ................................................................. 90 10.2 CLIMBING UP THE LADDER BY VOLUNTEERING ................................................................. 90 10.3 PROMOTIONAL READINESS AND CAREER ADVANCEMENT ............................................... 91 10.4 BROADCAST YOUR INTENTIONS ........................................................................................... 92 10.5 CREATE POSITIONS ................................................................................................................. 93 10.10 “FURLOUGH” ........................................................................................................................... 98 10.11 “KAIZEN” TRAINING AND LEARNING .................................................................................... 99 10.12 CHOOSE YOUR FUTURE TODAY ........................................................................................... 100 10.13 MOTIVATION ........................................................................................................................... 100 10.14 PLAN YOUR WORK YEAR OVER YEAR ........................................................................... 101 10.15 YOU ARE MASTER OF YOUR SUCCESS ........................................................................... 102 10.16 ARE YOU MR. PERFECT? ..................................................................................................... 102 11.17 SELF RESPECT ....................................................................................................................... 104Chapter XIFEW LAST WORDS ........................................................................ 107References: ....................................................................................................... a
  11. 11. 1Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION Pharmaceutical selling is different…..entirely different from the usual ―selling.‖The primary difference is that the person who is in fact paying for the drugs is not thedecision-maker. The decision making authority is someone else……the doctor. Thepatient or the end user, in turn is the doctor‘s customer. So basically two customersneed to be satisfied, the doctor as well as the patient. The job of a pharmaceutical salesperson is also very interesting in the sense thathe has nothing to ―sell‖ to his customer on the spot, nor can he deliver a livedemonstration. He has to sell the concept, the research, the features and benefits andthe scientific knowledge, a job much more difficult than is perceived. But still there arethousands and thousands of pharmaceutical sales people worldwide doing a fine joband satisfying their ever-demanding customers. The role of a pharmaceutical salesperson has shifted over the years from atypical salesperson to that of a consultant or a facilitator. Knowledge has made thedifference. A lot of customers now depend on him for advice on the use of one drug orthe other as the bank of information is increasing in size day by day and humancapacity to comprehend all of this remains limited. Using these notions as the basis, this book is primarily intended for the use offrontline pharmaceutical salespersons. Different companies have given them differentnames (like Medical Representative, Medical Information Officer, Scientific PromotionOfficer etc.) but the job stays the same i.e. the conversion of the organization‘s productsinto money. Even the General Manager or Chief Executive Officer of the kind ofcompany in question is a salesperson because he has no right to ‗exist‘ unless he isable to convert his products into money. Nevertheless, this book aims at providing support and guidelines to thesalesperson who is currently engaged in active selling of his designated products. Theentire text encompasses his day to day operations of a pharmaceutical salesperson andthe intricacies he might encounter while doing his job.After completing this chapter, you should be able to:  Understand how to benefit from this book.  Explain the nature and business of Pharmaceutical Companies.  Describe the Knowledge Base and Skill Pool of Pharmaceutical Sales People.  Explain the importance of Positive Frame of Mind.  Understand why Goal Setting is ―Key to Success‖.  Define Mission Statement and elaborate its utility for yourself and your organization.1
  12. 12. 21.1 HOW TO BENEFIT? You will derive maximum benefit from this book if you: Take pride in your job and career. Take a positive view of the information given in this book. Believe that whatever is given in this book is just a guideline and that contingencies will continue to crop up every now and then. Apply the suggested techniques wherever required and not otherwise.1.2 LAYOUT The book starts with elementary discussion; for instance the daily routine of asalesperson. In the later sections, it addresses the difficult situations that may comeforth in his working life from time to time. A beginner in this profession will probably findall parts interesting. An experienced salesperson will find the latter part more worthy ofreading and practicing as the book is aimed at integrating a lot of information that isalready available and being practiced but piecemeal.1.3 PHARMA COMPANIES AND THEIR SALESPEOPLE In Pakistan as well as other developing countries, there are usually two types oforganizations selling pharmaceutical products: Research based companies: Produce and market drugs, developed and researched by themselves. (usually multinationals) Generic companies: Acquire raw material of already researched and marketed drugs around the globe and produce the finished products. (also called local companies) The competitive advantage of multinationals is the research and development ofnew drugs and therapies. Furthermore, through mergers and acquisitions, they haveerected high barriers of entry into their specific therapeutic segments. About 30companies enjoy 46% of the value market share in Pakistan. (IMS 2009) There have been times when the multinationals or ―the giants‖ used to rule thepharmaceutical market but the trend is changing now. Local companies are developingthemselves much more professionally and have begun to give tough time to themultinationals. Although far greater in number but the local companies now take almost54% of the total value share of pharmaceutical market in Pakistan.2
  13. 13. 3 The MNC‘s (multinationals) are considered to take good care of their employeesin terms of monetary benefits and training. It is generally believed that the multinationalsare more organized and well structured. The working environment is congenial and theyprovide more chances of self-development. The job is relatively secure and the hiringfiring phenomenon is methodical. Decision making process is not limited to a singleindividual. Moreover, they spend generous sums of money on promotional activities andare more respected by the customers than the local companies, thus making the job ofthe sales force a lot easier. Local companies have also undergone a paradigm shift over a period of years.Previously they had the reputation of being tough employers with centralized decisionmaking powers. Employees were scared of their attitudes. But now, those who reallywant to grow and develop themselves are working on business strategies similar to oreven better than those adapted by the multinationals. They are changing their image of―seth‖ organizations to the professionally organized and managed companies. Local companies take good care of their employees through reasonableremuneration and necessary training and development, not forgetting to keep themorale of their field staff high by constant motivational activities. Local companies havealso evolved systematic decision making in their management instead of a ―one manshow.‖From a salesperson‘s perspective, the point to be take into consideration is: If you are thinking of a career in pharmaceutical selling, concentrate more on thepersonal initiative rather than the repute of the organization. It is not the organizationwhich makes or breaks people, it is the people who make or break the organizations!Whether it is a multinational or a local pharmaceutical concern, a lot depends on theindividual or the employee. There is always room at the top. You will definitely reachyour destination if you are taking the right steps in the right direction.1.4 POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND A positive frame of mind leads to enthusiasm, which in turn leads to a presentationthat exudes stimulation and a certain ‗glow‘. Smiles, warm handshakes, a feeling ofpride and an upright posture will separate you out from the rest. Your enthusiasm willhold the customers‘ attention. You need to have this trait right from the start of your job. How can you make acustomer prescribe a product for his patients unless you are positive about it? Theexcitement only comes from within and a customer is most likely to forget a presentationthat is devoid of excitement. (How many successful political leaders have you comeacross who deliver a speech or presentation without zeal and zest?) Difficult circumstances are an opportunity. If you can learn how to convert a crisesinto an opportunity, your life will be full of opportunities. My boss once asked me about3
  14. 14. 4my ‗problems‘. I said I don‘t know if there is any word like that. I only have challengesand therefore never had problems. People who think positively are far more likely to seechallenges rather than problems or opportunities rather than difficulties. Positivethinking has a tremendous ability to enhance your performance, productivity and quality.When we feel positive, we definitely give a better output. There are various biological explanations of this as well. A negative frame of mindhas lower levels of Serotonin (Neuro transmitter) which is responsible for overall healthand well being including the mood and energy. A positive frame of mind will have higherlevels leading to better mental as well as physical health. This is due to the boost to theimmune system that a positive frame of mind can give you from positive hormones. The best outcome of a positive mental attitude is a ‗can do‘ attitude. People whoare successful in life more often than the others are able to identify opportunities whereothers find problems. The positive mental attitude coupled with the drive and motivationto succeed, converts an opportunity into a reality. There is lot to be exploited from apositive mental attitude. Isn‘t it opportunity that many around you have a negative frameof mind? How to change your negative frame of mind to positive one? Look at your life andcrises. Who is responsible for this crises? Who is benefiting? For example if war is acrises, then all those selling the equipment of war are making windfall profits. If risingprices is a problem, how are you going to fight your case for a salary raise? If security isa problems, imagine how many people are employed because of safety concerns. If illhealth is a problem, this is an opportunity for you to sell your drugs.1.5 GOAL SETTING – THE KEY TO SUCCESS The key to being successful in this competitive world, not only as a salespersonbut also as a human being, is setting goals. A goal is a specific, measurable result thatyou produce in a pre-determined time in the future. The first step in setting up a clear goal is the creation of a mental model. Think anddream your goal as if it is happening here and now. But do not forget to link this goal towhat you are and what you can do in the foreseeable future. The goals have to beSMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable yet challenging, Realistic and Time bound.The more specific your goal is, the more quickly you will be able to identify, locate,create and implement the necessary resources for its achievement. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Imagine you are around 22 years of age and thatyour grandfather is alive and you seek his advice on a lot of issues ranging from careerto your marriage. Now imagine yourself and grandfather and giving advice to yourgrandson 50 years down the road when you will be 72 and he will be 22, what wouldyour advice be? What kind of environment he would be living in? What would you bedoing at that time? If he asks you what have you been doing in the last 50 years, whatwould you tell him? (Or like to tell him?)4
  15. 15. 5 50 years is not really a long time. You must have heard about this from your eldersthat it only looks like yesterday that I was kid and used to play like you. Even if youdivide 50 into 5 year slots, you can only have 10 brackets of 5 years which is not difficultto plan, year over year, month over month. Don‘t be scared. Take a paper and pen and write 1 to 50. Now try to write downone thing that you will be doing each year that will have a significant impact on your life.Starting from your career to your marriage, family, children, and grandchildren plan youcan even have your obituary. (Why not?) How and where you want to die and underwhat circumstances? How much do you wish to leave in this world in the shape of yourmovable and immovable assets? How do you wish to be remembered by your childrenwhen you leave this world? This will give you a very clear picture of your goals for thenext 50 years. We all believe in death and heaven but we never want to die because weare not prepared and have not planned for the most obvious. I am a strong believer of logical incrementalism. It is an approach whereby youreach your destination step by step. The same can be applied to pharmaceuticalsalespersons. Divide you goals into small steps and log every success until you reachthe final destination. Doing nothing all year and waiting for one big leap seldom works.The so called ―baby steps‖ will give you the confidence and courage to run, when youactually need to. (Fig. 1) Never give up on your goals. Whether its trying to meet the no-see physician,increase market share or get your product on formulary, don‘t give up. Be persistent. Dont let frustration, discouragement or circumstances prevent you from reachingthe success you desire and deserve. In an effort to sustain and persist, you mustencourage yourself on a regular basis and share your goals with a confidant who willgive you the encouragement and support it takes to succeed. Think and rethink until you commit your heart and soul to the goals. Once youhave written them down and committed yourself, list down as many sets of action aspossible, that you will undertake in order to achieve those goals.5
  16. 16. 6 Another way is to draw a mind map. On a clean sheet of paper, write ―my life‖ inthe middle and encircle it. Now, write down as many things as possible that revolvearound this throughout your life and see connections of all with one another. You willsoon realize that the paper is a little too short for this but don‘t take another one. Thinkon each point critically. Delete things that are not critical to you and your life while notforgetting those which really are. For example, if you think that playing golf or travelingaround the world fascinates you the most but you will never have resources to do itbecause your children are your priority, you could be grossly wrong. If you write it downnow and work towards it, you will definitely be able to do it in your life time.Imagine yourself as a product or a brand and do a SWOT analysis (Strengths,Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to see yourself in your own mirror:• Strengths could be your capabilities, positions held, education, special talents,relationships, extroversion, flexibility, adaptability etc.• Weaknesses could be some inherent shortcomings like procrastination, administrativedifficulties, negative attitude, skill deficiencies, lack of initiative, poor computer skills etc.• Opportunities could be task forces, new positions, special assignments, mergers, newbusiness opportunities etc.• Threats could be your competitors, environment, negative colleagues with career-limiting advice, people who distract, a poor reputation based on bad judgment in thepast etc.1.6 MISSION STATEMENTA mission statement is a formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company ororganization. The mission statement should spell out its overall goal and provide asense of direction. It provides the framework or context in which all strategies are to beformulated. Historically it is associated with Christian religious groups; indeed, for manyyears, a missionary was assumed to be a person on a specifically religious mission. Theword "mission" dates from 1598, originally of Jesuits sending ("missio", Latin for "act ofsending") members abroad. It is now a common practice that the organizations prepare a mission statement. Alot of organizations are going to great lengths to put their mission statement right. Thisis indicative of the fact that mission statement is something good and very muchdesirable.6
  17. 17. 7 According to Janet E. Lapp, ―A mission statement is a clear statement, understoodby you and everyone in your organization. It is the first and most fundamental step totake before deciding on any change. A lack of a mission statement that is lived by theorganization is the main reason that organizations go off-track during change. A missionpulls people into the future.‖ You are likely to be more successful when clearly focused on, and living a missioneveryday. Even though good mission statements are not difficult to create, someorganizations might spend up to a year on them because they understand itssignificance and importance. Do you think individuals should not have a mission statement? Why not? Since yourmost important organization in life is ‗yourself‘, write a mission statement of your own.Why do you exist? What is the core purpose of your existence? As mission statementsgive enlightenment to the organizations, they do the same or even better for theindividuals. Write a mission statement of your own. After you finish, look at it again andagain before sleeping. Next morning, again look at it carefully and make the changes ifrequired. It is really hard to believe that you will get it right the first time. Review it overand over until you are satisfied that you have incorporated the following in your missionstatement: An honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Your career objectives. Your current job in the light of your career objectives. Your long and short term goals. The means to achieve your goals. Now that you have jotted down a clear mission statement of your own, turn to thenext page and enjoy the rest of the book.SUMMARYIf you are thinking of a career in pharmaceutical selling, concentrate more on thepersonal initiative rather than the repute of the organization. It is not the organizationwhich makes or breaks people, it is the people who make or break the organizations!Whether it is a multinational or a local pharmaceutical concern, a lot depends on theindividual or the employee.The best outcome of a positive mental attitude is a ―can do‖ attitude. People who aresuccessful in life more often than the others are able to identify opportunities whereothers find problems. Positive mental attitude coupled with the drive and motivation tosucceed, converts an opportunity into a reality. There is lot to be exploited from apositive mental attitude.The key to being successful in this competitive world, not only as a salesperson but alsoas a human being, is setting goals. A goal is a specific, measurable result that you7
  18. 18. 8produce in a pre-determined time in the future.A mission statement is a formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company ororganization. The mission statement should spell out its overall goal and provide asense of direction. It provides the framework or context in which all strategies are to beformulated. You are likely to be more successful when clearly focused on, and living amission every day. Even though good mission statements are not difficult to create,some organizations might spend up to a year on them because they understand itssignificance and importance.8
  19. 19. 9Chapter II THE PILLARSAfter completing this chapter, you should be able to:  Understand that o ―Knowledge‖ required to be a good sales rep includes  ―Product Knowledge‖  ―Medical Knowledge‖  ―Market Knowledge‖  Elaborate the significance of ―Theoretical Selling Skills‖.  Explain the benefits of ―Analytical Selling Skills‖.  Describe ―Pragmatic Selling Skills‖.  Understand the strategic importance of Aptitude, Attitude and Passion. Pharmaceutical selling, like any other selling, stands on three key pillars: Knowledge Skills in Selling Aptitude Many would argue that there are other factors as well. They cannot be ignored, butlets make the rest, a part of these three. (Fig. 2)2.1 KNOWLEDGE Knowledge can be further divided into the following types:2.1.1 Product knowledge Nothing is a substitute of prudent and confident product knowledge. The reasonwhy pharmaceutical salespeople are respected around the globe is that they share andrefresh the knowledge of their customers every now and then. Thus they are thepartners of their customers. A lot of people in medical profession actually wait for thesalesperson in order to get first hand information about the drugs.9
  20. 20. 10 Summary of Product Characteristics The following information about an ethical pharmaceutical product is(Modified from Professional Sales Management 2nd Ed. McGraw Hill 1992) considered bare minimum:  Product Name  Composition  Indications  Pharmacological properties  Dosage and method of administration  Side effects  Contraindications  Interaction with other drugs  Use in pregnancy and lactation  Special precautions (if any)  Presentation  Price The following information becomes essential part of the selling process: Product features and benefits How this product is different from the rest (unique selling point)? Competition and competitors‘ products (competitive edge) Scientific evidence of all the claims in the shape of published clinical data Availability10
  21. 21. 11 Knowledge about the history of the organization, its achievements so far and itsproducts in the pipeline can also be of great advantage. In addition to that, the customerwould really be very delighted if his basic queries are responded with utmost clarity andpromptness. You ought to know every possible detail about your product. Since this is seldompossible, the key is to have all the information at hand and produce it whenever desired.Otherwise you must know the sources from where this information would becomeavailable. However, be careful and do not promise anything to the customer that isbeyond your reach. Do not promise a time frame, which you think, is far too little toretrieve that information. If, in any case, you fail to get hold of the desired information,please do get back to the customer and inform him that you could not secure what heasked for. This will certainly create a more positive impression instead of neverresponding to a query. It is sometimes argued that ―a managers‘ job is to manage‖, and ―a salesman‘sjob is to sell,‖ whatever his field of activity may be. If this holds true, then how someonecan sell aircraft engines if one does not know anything about the drag and lift? Theknowledge of ―what‘s inside‖ is not only essential but of paramount importance in the jobof any salesperson. All the techniques of ―selling‖ become secondary unless asalesperson masters the technicalities related to a product that is to be sold.2.1.2 Medical knowledge Medical knowledge here refers to the knowledge of basic anatomy andphysiology of the human body. No doctor would expect from a pharmaceuticalsalesperson to remember the names of all the cranial nerves and their branches butthey certainly do not expect the statement ―All the food goes into the liver directly‖ or―The heart cleans the blood and soul.‖ In addition to the basic anatomy and physiology, pathology of the diseasesrelevant to their area of activity also plays a major role. Followed by pathology is theknowledge of diagnosis and modes of treatment that are available for that disease. Allof this seems too much but the fact remains that the more you know about the medicalbackground, the more confident you are in your conversation with your customer.2.1.3 Market knowledge This should be provided to you from your marketing department. Informationabout the following can really make the difference: Which is the leading organization in your segment? Why? Which is the most prescribed product in your segment?  Is this an old or a new product?  What are its features and benefits?  What are its annual sales?11
  22. 22. 12  What are its sales strategies?  What are its promotional tools?  What are its selling techniques?  What is the target group?  Why is this being prescribed more than any other?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of that organization?  What are the areas where you can prove your product as distinct from the competitor drug? Who are the other competitors? If I am the market leader, how can I contribute to sustaining leadership? Are there any expected new entrants in this segment? Who are the key customers?Market Knowledge helps businesses, nonprofits, communities, and cooperativesidentify, define, and pursue specific markets. When it comes to answering the pressingquestions businesses face every day, nothing compares to market knowledge. Marketknowledge provides insight into the strengths and weaknesses of competition, thepricing and profitability of products, and ultimately, the current and future needs ofcustomers.SKILLS Skills can be classified as under:2.1.4 Theoretical selling skills Theoretical selling skills involve the discussion of opening, probing, closing,gaining commitment and the like. A full chapter of this book is dedicated to these skills,as their significance should never be underestimated. Somehow, they are perceived asa source of intimidation for new as well as experienced pharmaceutical salespersons.Now, even the doctors know about them. The moment you try to involve them in adialogue through probing, they will immediately withdraw from the discussion on thepretext that ―here comes the selling skills!‖. Experience however, shows is that if youare subtle and indeed skillful, your job may become a piece of cake.2.1.5 Analytical selling skills As the word indicates, analytical selling skills involve the study of any givensituation through the data or information available, in order to support the sellingprocess. Salespeople, who are quick at reading and interpreting the data and acting asthe situation demands, will be the ones who triumph. Collection of information should be the first aim. You need to be as muchinquisitive and curious as possible. Penetrate into networks of people and their thinking.Use your personal judgment while exploring the data in order to collect useful12
  23. 23. 13information and not junk. This may include information about gatekeepers and decision-makers. Sales data of recent past can suggest the trend. Historical perspectives areindicators of future course of action. But this does not mean that the norms will notchange. Any change in persons or responsibilities can alter the rules of the game. Once the desired information/data becomes available, a thorough and systematicanalysis must follow. Put different pieces together. Examine the data from variousperspectives. Look into the rationale of different behaviors. Dissect the data i.e. break itdown into smaller elements. Don‘t ignore the details. Reach to a logical conclusion.Derive your action plan from that conclusion. Imagine yourself as the key negotiator for your company‘s top ten products fortheir inclusion in the formulary of a key hospital. These drugs will only hit the list if yourare sharp in your analytical skills. You must analyze the factors that play a role in thisdeal. These factors can be trivial like a change in the venue of the purchase committeemeeting or as complicated as a last minute modification in the delivery schedule ofdrugs. If your analytical skills are not as sharp as they ought to be, it is highly likely thatthe competitors will be victorious. Don‘t think that data and analysis is not required for one-on-one selling. Havingpersonal information about your customer is also a form of data. For example, a prioranalysis of what excites him and what puts him off can place you in a commandingposition during your sales call. So don‘t ignore even minute details about yourcustomers.2.1.6 Pragmatic selling skills Pragmatic or practical skills are simple: Think about practical problems of yourcustomer and their practical solutions. These problems can be simple or intricate. Yourcustomers are normal human beings and they have problems too. However, at everystage of their career, their problems are different. Addressing these problems andmaking yourself part of the solution will cement your relationship and bring extendedprescriptions. For instance during the last year of their medical education, they needinformation about house job vacancies and their future career. If you can arrange aseminar on the topic or set up their meeting with career advisors, your services will belong remembered. Once out of their basic medical education and over with their housejobs, they look for specialization opportunities. Give them information about possiblefields of specialization. You can tell them about the job openings and scholarships inPakistan as well as abroad. If you work for multinationals, you can also help themthrough your embassies/foreign missions. Inform them about the addresses of usefulWeb-sites. After specialization, they usually intend to settle down and run their own clinics inaddition to their affiliation with hospitals. Think of helping them in their search forbusiness loans. If required, guide them towards companies who offer medical13
  24. 24. 14equipment on soft terms and create business synergies. Spread the news of theirpresence in the town through the word of mouth. If they see more patients, you will getmore business. Other opportunities could be the discussion about new research anddevelopment in their area of interest or giving them information about continuingmedical education. Change your image from a ―pharmaceutical salesperson‖ to―consultant.‖ Make them successful in their career. Own their basic concern: how totreat patient in the shortest period of time with minimum amount of money! Help them infinding new ways and means in order to stay effective. The core objective of the entireexercise is to be a partner in their success. Make yourself valuable for them. (For furtherdiscussion on the same, please refer to 4.9 OWN ―THEIR‖ CONCERNS) Practical thinking seldom goes waste. During my research interviews, I cameacross people who were ―proud partners‖ of their customers, right from their early daysof medical education. They are now professors/heads of departments and key opinionleaders. The medical representatives of those days also advanced in their careers to bethe sales managers or MD‘s but their long-term relations kept paying them off during allthese years. One word of caution: don‘t do it to the extent that your customers start taking youfor granted and turn you into their problem solver rather than a pharmaceuticalsalesperson.2.2 APTITUDE Aptitude is generally described as the natural or inherent ability to undertake anassignment or a set of activities. It may also refer to personal or professional liferesponsibilities. Aptitudes somehow delineate the path to victory. Those who have theaptitude or the natural talent will certainly outdo the ones without a propensity towards acertain profession or career. Therefore, while selecting a career, it is generally suggested to introspect anddecide if you have an aptitude for a certain profession. Although there are specific teststo assess the aptitude for a specific profession, they may not be readily accessible toall. However, asking yourself the following set of questions before undertaking the job ofa pharmaceutical salesperson might help: What kind of a person I am? Extrovert? Introvert? Shy? Outspoken? Social animal? Lone ranger? Do I like to travel? Hate? Not quite like it but can do it? Is the profession of ―selling‖ suitable for me? Can I excel in this profession? What are the things I can do and what are the things I cannot do? Will I be able to do this job with all my will and intent?14
  25. 25. 15The job of a pharmaceutical salesperson requires a mixture of talents. Sometimes youneed to be extrovert and sometimes a lone ranger. You will be travelling most of thetimes. You will come across such a wide variety of people and behaviors that you willfeel frustrated and dejected if you don‘t like networking and mingling with people. It isrecommended that one should have a true and fair assessment of his aptitude versusthe job requirement before joining this profession.An aptitude is an innate, acquired or learned or developed component of a competency(the others being knowledge, understanding and attitude) to do a certain kind of work ata certain level. Aptitudes may be physical or mental. The innate nature of aptitude is incontrast to achievement, which represents knowledge or ability that is gained.2.2.1 Attitude All attempts to master knowledge and skills will fail to deliver the desired results ifyou ignore the element of a winning attitude. Attitude is sometimes defined as a―persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards some object.‖(Luthans 2010) An attitude is a personal thought process, which gears us up to achievegoals, exercise authority & power, and develop affiliations. The difference between aptitude and attitude is simple: Although you do not havecontrol over your aptitude but you can influence your attitude as per your own wishes.The starting point of taming the attitude is to get a fair evaluation done by your near anddear ones or your mentor (if you have one). The next step is to understand whatconstitutes ―the right attitude‖ requirements of your job. Once this is done, a consciousand incessant effort can bring an attitude change. But remember that attitudes do notand will not change overnight. Give the old ones enough time to die down and new onesto set in.An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individuals degree of like ordislike for an item. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place,thing, or event—this is often referred to as the attitude object. People can also beconflicted or ambivalent toward an object, meaning that they simultaneously possessboth positive and negative attitudes toward the item in question.2.2.2 Passion Passion is nothing short of a burning desire. With knowledge, skills and aptitude,you can score up to 99%. Passion brings in the last 1%. From another perspective,passion helps you in securing a place among the top 1%. Passion means obsession with your job and career. Doing your job anddelivering results usually suffices but doing it with excitement, fondness, and lovemeans something else. People who are in love with their jobs and profession are theones you usually see at the top. Involve your emotions in your job and see how you and15
  26. 26. 16your sales will grow. Add a little spice, spirit and flare. Top it up with a resolution tostand out. Passion ( from Latin verb patior meaning to suffer or to endure) is an emotionapplied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotioncompelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. The term is also often appliedto a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love.Passion can be expressed as a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm orcompelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object. A person is said to havea passion for something when he has a strong positive affinity for it. A love forsomething and a passion for something are often used synonymously.SUMMARY Nothing is a substitute of prudent and confident product knowledge. The reason whypharmaceutical salespeople are respected around the globe is that they share and refreshthe knowledge of their customers every now and then. Thus they are the partners of theircustomers. A lot of people in medical profession actually wait for the salesperson in orderto get first hand information. Medical knowledge here refers to the knowledge of basic anatomy and physiology ofthe human body. In addition to the basic anatomy and physiology, pathology of thediseases relevant to their area of activity also plays a major role. Followed by pathology isthe knowledge of diagnosis and modes of treatment that are available for that disease. Allof this seems too much but the fact remains that the more you know about the medicalbackground, the more confident you are in your conversation with your customer.Market Knowledge helps businesses, nonprofits, communities, and cooperatives identify,define, and pursue specific markets. When it comes to answering the pressing questionsbusinesses face every day, nothing compares to market knowledge. Market knowledgeprovides insight into the strengths and weaknesses of competition, the pricing andprofitability of products, and ultimately, the current and future needs of customers. Aptitude is generally described as the natural or inherent ability to undertake anassignment or a set of activities. It may also refer to personal or professional liferesponsibilities. Aptitudes somehow delineate the path to victory. Those who have theaptitude or the natural talent will certainly outdo the ones without a propensity towards acertain profession or career. Therefore, while selecting a career, it is generally suggestedto introspect and decide if you have an aptitude for a certain profession. Although thereare specific tests to assess the aptitude for a specific profession, they may not be readilyaccessible to all.Passion means obsession with your job and career. Doing your job and delivering resultsusually suffices but doing it with excitement, fondness, and love means something else.People who are in love with their jobs and profession are the ones you usually see at thetop. Involve your emotions in your job and see how you and your sales will grow. Add alittle spice, spirit and flare. Top it up with a resolution to stand out.16
  27. 27. 17Chapter III GEAR UP FOR SALES CALLAfter completing this chapter, you should be able to:  Realize that preparedness is important for every sales call.  Define and Know your Customers.  Set clear Targets/Goals for all sales calls.  Understanding that your appearance is important in the eyes of customer.  Appreciate the importance of time and appointments  Rehearse and practice all sales calls through role plays  Have comprehensive knowledge of Distribution Channels and Distributors.  Recognize why visiting a chemist before physician is critical.  Know how to develop liaison with Gatekeepers.  Be ready for engagement at all times.3.1 WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS? A pharmaceutical salesperson is blessed as well as unfortunate at the sametime. He knows that not every person living in an area is his customer, only the medicalpractitioners are. This allows him a sigh of relief. He has eliminated the non-desiredelements. But then comes the tough part. Who, out of those medical practitioners arethe real customers? The famous Pareto‘s Law now seems to laugh at him. Can heidentify the 20% customers who will give him 80% of the business? If this law holdstrue, (which I believe most of the time it does) and he is able to identify those 20%, 80%of his job is already through. (Fig. 3) Targeting the top 20% of customers is not as simple as it seems. First of all, it isextremely difficult to draw a line between the top 20% and the rest of 80%. Suppose youare lucky enough in identifying the top 20%. Now comes another uphill task. These 20%will inevitably be the busiest practitioners in town because they see 80% of the patients!That‘s why they write so many prescriptions. They are the most difficult people to breakin. You might face a lot of frustration in convincing them to prescribe your productbecause there is big group of other salespeople delivering the same information. Hencethe share of securable time gets smaller and smaller. At this point of time you reallythink of giving up. Should you give up? The answer is obviously NO. So what should you do to secure the prescriptions from top 20% of yourcustomers? The key is to know more about them through colleagues and socialnetworks. You need to ―break-in,‖ not alone at their practices but maybe at a placewhere they like to spend their leisure time or at a17
  28. 28. 18place where they are a bit comfortable and relaxed. The aim is to get as close to thecustomer as possible so that when you send your visiting card at his clinic he shouldhave no difficulty in recognizing your name.3.2 KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS Prospecting according to Pareto‘s Law is easier said than done. While preparinga database of your prospective customer, don‘t forget (besides basic information aboutname, home address, office address, telephone numbers, email address, date of birth,date of marriage, name of spouse, number of children) to include: Medical School (City/Country) Year of graduation. Postgraduate Education/ Degrees/ Diplomas/ Training Courses. Key areas of interest. Clientele (rich, middle class or poor)  Does the doctor receive the type of patients who can afford your drugs? An average number of patients per day. Prescription habits.  Prime mover  Those who have the courage to try and experience new drugs and like to be known as the drivers of change.  Early adopter18
  29. 29. 19  Those who will adopt new therapies without hesitation and much skepticism.  Middle and late majority  They are basically followers of the leaders.  Lingerer  Those who are ―forced‖ by the trends to change themselves. Demographics of the locale  Include basic information like population, number of adults, children, ratio‘s of male female population, disease prevalence. Any specific instructions about the visiting pharmaceutical salesperson.  Make a special note of the timing and visiting instructions (if any) for medical representatives. Talkative/Non communicative/Serious/Jolly good fellow/indifferent /difficult /easy /snobbish etc. Rapport with his patients. His potential for your products. Does he honor his commitments to the salespeople? The second last point is very important for the job of a pharmaceuticalsalesperson. If the doctor is not able to prescribe your products (for any reasonwhatsoever) you are simply wasting his time as well as your own. You could capitalizethe same in another doctor‘s clinic. The last point cannot at all be neglected. A ―closing‖ in pharmaceutical salesdoes not end in the shape of a signed contract. It is purely verbal. A doctor may claimthat he is writing X number of prescriptions of your product in one day but do make anattempt to find out if the chemist or the staff of hospital say otherwise. Some doctorsuse the idea of saying ―yes‖ instead of entering into a discussion with the salesperson.They think that by saying yes, they will end the conversation with the medicalrepresentative pretty soon. These customers can cause more harm than benefit. Soprepare yourself to tackle this sort of customer. Dustin Graigner and Thomas Stovall, in their article ―Learn how customers work‖have argued that the key difference between top performing sales professional andthose who fall short is in ―knowledge‖ of the customer and his or her business. The words Know Your Customer in the financial sense describe the process bywhich a bank or financial institution checks the identity, background and other aspectsof the source of wealth of potential and existing customers. Also known as KYC, (KnowYour Customer) legislation and regulation require firms to obtain evidence of identity ofa customer at take-on and to keep a record of that evidence for as long as there is arelationship with a customer. Legislation and regulation also require a firm to keep up todate its knowledge of a customer throughout the life of the relationship, so that changesin the customers activity can be assessed and dealt with – all with the principal aim ofpreventing Money Laundering and Financial Crime.19
  30. 30. 203.3 OBJECTIVE SETTING It‘s now time to set an objective for the call that you are about to make. Theobjective can be as simple as building rapport to a much complex situation like securingthe orders of a newly introduced product from the nation wide formulary. In either case,a specific objective helps a lot in developing and maintaining control of the sales call.An objective is a specific step, a milestone, which enables you to accomplish a goal.Setting objectives involves a continuous process of research and decision-making.Knowledge of yourself and your unit is a vital starting point in setting objectives. The objectives must be:  focused on a result, not an activity  consistent  specific  measurable  related to time  attainableObjective setting is the key part of any planning, this exercise aims to answer two basicquestions: "Where do we want to be?" and, "When do we want to reach there?"3.4 EXAMINING YOUR WARDROBE The kind of clothes you wear make the difference between a cold and warmreception. People feel more confident in nicely cut outfits and have no hesitation intalking to anybody. Wearing a tie with a shirt and trousers cannot solve the problem.You have to make the right selection for the occasion and according to the weather. Alot has been written about the appropriate usage of clothes but I suggest that: You should select a decent combination. Avoid using flamboyant colors. The knot of the tie should be carefully done and its length should be close to the belt around your waist. In winter, suiting is not mandatory but if you can afford one, get it tailored from an expert or buy a ready made one. Spend a little extra money and do not compromise on anything less but exquisite apparel. It will definitely pay you back. Take extra care about body odors in the summer as well as winter. Make frequent use of the deodorant and fragrances.3.5 TIMING Who wants to sell his products? The doctor or you? If it is you then you shouldtake care of the preferences of customer. Investigate the times at which he is available,20
  31. 31. 21not to his patients but to the salespeople. Does he see a salesperson during his routineworking hours? After hours? Before the start of his practice? On weekends only?Specified days? Specified timings? He loves to see the salesperson waiting? Whateverthe case maybe, you have to find an appropriate meeting time that suits him and notyou.3.6 PREPARATION Preparation starts from day one and continues till the last second before youenter in the doctor‘s office. The better prepared you are, mentally as well as physically,the better will be your presentation and communication. If you are better organized, youwill take much less time in doing your job and thus save yours‘ as well as the doctor‘stime. Preparation is the key to good luck. According to one sportsman: ―The more Ipractice, the luckier I become.‖3.7 REHEARSAL AND ROLE PLAYS A rehearsal for a pharmaceutical salesperson would not mean learning one pieceof information by rote and then reproducing it in front of a dumb customer. It is muchmore complex. The success lies in knowing dozens of lines and then reproducing themas and when considered appropriate.Rehearsing: Leads to confidence. Maintains flow of conversation.21
  32. 32. 22 Gives you psychological control. helps in convincing the customer and Gives spontaneity to conversation.The most common practice or rehearsing in the industry is through ‗role – playing‘. Formany reps, this is the most dreaded and scary activity. Instead of writing a few pages onhow this on how this activity becomes nerve – wrecking for most of sales reps, I wouldonly point out some things that you could draw out of this and make it fun instead of acurse.‗Proper preparation prevents poor performance‘ is the most obvious reason for role –plays.. (Jamie St. Peter) We all know its true. You get better at anything when youpractice. The second reason role-play is crucial for sales reps is the dynamism ofpharmaceutical business and reps are always being given new information about theirproduct, new ideas and new tools for selling. The customer is the last person youshould be trying this on for the first time! Through role-playing with your colleagues,youre able to get everything clear in your mind in advance so you dont end up turningyour customer into a guinea pig. Instead, you walk into that customers office knowingyoure ready to flawlessly execute the call, completely prepared to meet any objectionshe might throw your way.Practicing your sales calls through role-play also gives you the opportunity to observeyour colleagues in action and learn their best practices. How do they use detail aids?Articulate the product information? Handle objections? You may like to pick up oneactivity that will give you a leading edge over your competitors. Rehearsing also givesan opportunity to your managers an coaches to see areas for improvement and provideguidance where necessary. Training plans and product messages can then be adjustedso everyone gets the help they need to succeed.It is a great idea to have some scenarios for role plays in advance. This is more fun andmore engaging. These scenarios are more fun if borrowed from real life and real peopleinclude some of the challenges and objections you or your colleagues face in the field. Ifyou write the scenarios on index cards, they will provide a clear structure for role-playand help keep you and your colleagues focused and on-task.An interesting exercise could be as follows: Make two rows of reps and make them stand in front of one another. Keep a distance of about two feet from the person standing on the sides. Designate one row as Physicians and the other row as reps. Give one minute each. The Reps get one minute and they are given a task which could be as follows: o Reinforce your call o Describe a new study22
  33. 33. 23 o Introduce a new product o Describe one feature and one benefit of a product X o Handle an Objection o Introduce a new indication  Etc. Exactly after one minute the role changes: Physicians become reps and reps become physicians This cycle can continue for about 5 or ten role plays Benefits o Reps will be able to react ‗on their feet‘ at all times with all customersYou can rehearse anywhere. Start from the mirror; your best friend because it will justlisten and not talk back. (Fig. 4) Make a group with another colleague. Rehearsetogether for at least half an hour a day and pay attention to the feedback. A moviecamera is a mirror with a memory. The camera never lies; youre going to see whatyoure doing wrong and what youre doing right. You can play your recordings time andagain till you are satisfied with your presentation. Do it with your area/territory manager,training manager or product manager. They will be more than happy to help you out.Simulations and role-plays are even more interesting if you invite doctors to participate.This will give reps an excellent opportunity to practice their skills on a living, breathingphysician, but in a controlled and nonthreatening environment. At the end of the role-play, ask the doctors to score their reps and provide feedback on their performance. Itsa good idea to provide the "doctors" with some scoring guidelines in advance so theyknow what the learning objectives are and what skills the reps should demonstrate.Reps should rotate through the stations, calling on different "doctors" for a specificamount of time. At the conclusion, I suggest debriefing as a group and sharing successstories.Take your pre-call planning to the next level by role-playing with yourself. Write downopening statements and probes, and practice them out-loud in your car. Better yet,practice at home in front of the mirror. Say your statement, and then pretend youre thedoctor and respond to what you just said. Then reply. (Word of warning: Youd better tellyour spouse or roommate that youre going to be doing this -- otherwise they might thinkyoure a little weird!)3.8 TRAVEL Travelling is an essential part of the pharmaceutical salesperson‘s life. Youshould be meticulous about your means of transport. It does not really matter if you aretravelling by public transport, motorbike, motor car or even bicycle, don‘t forget to makesure that:23
  34. 34. 24 You have thoroughly checked all the routes and timings if you are using a public transport. You have reserved your seats (if required) all the way. Your driving machine is in perfect working order, will take you to all your planned meeting places and bring you back safely, without any trouble. You have paid all the taxes and your documents are complete. You have valid driving licenses for respective driving machines. You have made an alternate arrangement if in any case your means of transport breaks down. Your vehicle will remain safe wherever you take it. (Either it is comprehensively insured or you park it at designated parking areas only) Your first travel is to get out of your home and reach the office or your firstmeeting point. If in the morning you get ready wearing your best suit and come down tofind out that your car or motor bike has some problem with the ignition, your whole dayis gone! Why not have checklist in the earlier evening to make sure it will kick off in themorning. Assuming that your means of transport is all good but you do not have theshortest route to reach your destination or the shortest route is busy or blocked atcertain specific times. Do you happen to be there at the busiest of times? You havecalculated a distance at your average speed but there are three schools and twomarkets en route. How much time do you think you will have to wait or what will be youraverage speed then? When you are travelling out of town, you are like a lone climber on his way tomount Everest. There are hardly any climbers who reach the top without their gadgets.So whenever you are out of your base station, don‘t forget to carry all that may berequired during that visit. I have myself made a very detailed list of things that I usuallycarry. The necessities might vary from time to time and place to place but if your visit isthoroughly planned on the night before, you will hardly miss a thing. One of the biggest safety hazards these days is cell phone. We are very temptedto use it while driving. I have even seen people driving a motorbike with the phone heldbetween shoulder and ear! If you really think connectivity is important, use a hands freekit. For God‘s sake avoid sending a text message while driving. This is a real killer ofyou as well as others.If you are traveling for business meeting, remember to take all necessary informationand equipment. Presentations, product samples, pens and notepads, literature, posters,overheads and any necessary equipment like laptops, cords and batteries, you need tocarry all. You can‘t figure out what you may need where?Have all contact numbers handy. You may need an air ticket, a train time table, a taxicab, limousine, bus, or a rental car. Sometimes you may even need a ‗vehicle recovery‘24
  35. 35. 25service in case you meet an accident. How about having some emergency numbers likePolice, Medical help and the like?Make use of traffic news on the radio. They will tell you which roads are expectingblockages and the time schedules of these blockages. This will help avoid unnecessarydelaysLast but not the least, confirm all appointments before leaving home. It may cost of Rs.2 to make a phone call and Rs. 500 to make a personal call only to find out that themeeting was cancelled due to some unknown reasons.Avoid road rage and aggressive driving, not because you have to demonstrate that youare a good citizen but it is in your interest to keep your mood and your outlook cheerful.Moreover it is now a common practice to identify your job and industry by your outlook.If I can easily ‗smell‘ a pharmaceutical rep from at least a 100 yards, so can others. Inorder to establish the dignity of your profession, avoid unnecessary clashes.Traveling is time consuming and exhausting but there is no escape. If you make it funyou job becomes a round the clock fun.3.9 DISTRIBUTION AND DISTRIBUTORS The main point of interaction between yourself and your line manager is theoffice of your distributors. (Usually) When sitting at your distributor‘s office, don‘t wasteyour time in sipping a cup of tea. Do go to the contact person and ask for sales figures.This will be an eye opener for you and a clear indication of your performance. Ask himabout the availability of stocks and the safety stocks so that your products stay in themarket. Ask the distributor about the work plan of his team. In case of complaints fromthe chemists, try to make yourself available in the area when distributor is visiting thechemists so that the issues are promptly resolved. This will ensure an even availabilityof your drug in the market.3.10 CHEMIST FIRST!Chemist has always played a pivotal role in pharmaceutical and biotech distributionchain because of its position as the actual point of monetary transaction between endconsumer and the company. However its role is now changing from a mere retailer todispenser, educator, counselor and medical services provider. Patients as well asphysicians are in regular contact with the local pharmacy at all times.Pharmacists are important because they: Advise patients on product usage. Can suggest generics and/or alternates.25
  36. 36. 26 Communicate with physicians more often than reps. Are well informed about how products are used, who uses them, the most popular dosages and formulations, competitive information, and buying decisions. Can refuse to allow shelf space for your drugs. Can also suggest drugs to those who ask him for advice regarding Over the Counter or potential Over the Counter drugs. Guide/misguide you regarding the prescription habits of nearby doctors. Influence both physician and consumer‘s choice. Give you feedback on pricing, clinical concerns, adverse effects and dosing etc. Before you try to establish a relationship with pharmacist, review some pertinent information about the pharmacy itself. You should know: The size of the pharmacy The demographics of its customers o Customers attitudes, opinions and desires Important location factors o Proximity to a hospital or Shopping mall o Reliance of pharmacys business is on individuals or hospital. Buying and pricing behavior of pharmacy Range of products on shelf Contracts with hospitals for local purchase Contracts with clinics Status of relationship with insurance companies Return goods policy Stocking policies Last but not the least, knowing the pharmacists names and the names of key personnel is a must.Pharmacists are primarily concerned with: Health of their patients Business As health care professionals, pharmacists are required to maintain drug information,inform doctors and patients of drug interactions, advise patients of possible side effectsand maintain records. They need relevant clinical information to reinforce efficacy,safety and other product-related benefits. They also need educational materials to giveto their customers. (This may sound a little bit too optimistic in a local setting but thingsare changing and changing fast!) Pharmacists are now ever interested in products andrely on reps to keep their technical knowledge up to date. And when pharmacists arebetter-educated, they help reps further patient education. In fact, they can be idealpartners in patient education because they frequently have more time with doctors.Reps should cultivate this side of their relationships.26
  37. 37. 27 As business people, pharmacists have other needs. They need to increase sales,reduce costs, increase profit and improve service. They are interested in companionsales to improve sales of a product. They are concerned with fast delivery, handlingcredit or order problems, returns, education and personal customer attention. Anybusiness information reps can provide on deals or co-promotions of highly prescribedproducts is of great interest to pharmacists. They also turn to reps for help with otherissues, such as delivery, credit problems and returns. So while reps need to use the same professional approach, product knowledge,competitive product knowledge and market share knowledge that they use when sellingto other health care professionals, they also need to use some basic businessknowledge of retail economics. Good chemists usually have comprehensive science background, includingextensive training in pharmacology. Many physicians now depend on pharmacists toeducate their patients about dosing, drug interactions and side effects because they areshort of time and want to shift their responsibility. If physicians are experts in diseasediagnosis and treatment, pharmacists now have to be experts in pharmaceuticaldisease management. Pharmacists are also expected to train patients in propertechniques for using sophisticated medications like metered-dose inhalers, bloodpressure monitors and injections. Physicians also sometimes rely on pharmacists formonitoring potential drug-drug interactions and recommend appropriate drugsubstitutions. A lot of walk – in patients trust pharmacists to know the details about disease andmedication and to make recommendations about common diseases like cough, fever,cold and flu. Sometimes they even seek advice on long term management for diseaseslike hypertension and diabetes, often looking for cheaper and better choices. Patientscount on pharmacists to tell them how to take their medications, what outcomes toexpect and how to react if something goes wrong. Pharmacists can have a tremendous impact on ‗marketing‘ activities of drugs withintheir territories. Pharmacy support is crucial for successful medical camps, patienteducation and supplemental physician contact. A pharmacist has ready informationabout the purchase procedures at all clinics and hospitals, competitor prices and patientfeedback about safety and efficacy of drugs. It should not come as surprise that the pharmacist can replace one brand of drugwith another, or replacing one molecule of drug with another from the same family withor without informing the patient. In this case who gets replaced and who getsreplacement? Although it isnt appropriate for a pharmacist to recommend that aphysician prescribe your drug instead of your competitors, the more educated apharmacist is about your product, the more effectively he can present relevantinformation (including benefits) to prescribing physicians.27

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