MARYSVILLE, WA (PRWEB) August 20, 2004
In pharmaceutical sales, itÂs one thing to manage your time in a day of activities; itÂs another to manage time effectively when you might have only 60 seconds to talk with your client: the prescribing doctor.
ÂIt goes back to the old saying,Â says Frank Heasley, PhD, president and CEO of MedZilla.com, a leading Internet recruitment and professional community that serves biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and science. ÂYou never get a second chance to make a first impression. In pharma sales, you might get as much as five minutes to educate the physician, gain his or her trust, build a relationship and accomplish your goals, including asking for the sale. That takes planning, precision and allows for no mistakes.Â
WhatÂs your mission?
Ron DÂAndrea, executive vice president of the performance improvement company BayGroup International, says pharma reps are facing increasing competition and resistance from busy doctors and staff.
ÂThey really need to expect the unexpected,Â DÂAndrea says. ÂThey donÂt want to be perceived as a sample dropper or a lunch caterer. They do have to differentiate themselves in a very crowded marketplaceÂsometimes crowded within their own companies.Â
According to DÂAndrea, you have to grab the interest of the physician immediately and understand what your goal is for the meeting. You have to know what to do if you have 30 seconds with that client, or five to 10 minutes.
ÂEntering into the meeting with a specific objective in mind is critical,Â he says.
Mark Ellwood of Pace Productivity training and consulting, Toronto, Canada, conducted a time study last fall for a major pharmaceutical company and says that one of the most important recommendations to come out of the report was that sales reps need to better clarify their missions. Time management, he says, begins with knowing what you want to accomplishÂwhether it is to secure an order, secure the next meeting, or have the practice join a clinical study.
ÂThe whole idea of just meeting people doesnÂt go far enough,Â he says. ÂYou really have to consider: What is my mission?Â
Know whom youÂre talking to and what youÂre talking about
The successful pharmaceutical representative, DÂAndrea says, understands the physician and the drives that might allow him to move to action.
Your power is the ability, he says, to adjust yourself to the time allotted for the meeting so that you are still able to grab the doctorÂs interest, create a dialogue and show the physician that you know him and his practice.
Once you know the physician, you can better formulate your opening position statement. Then, you use your knowledge of what drives that physician to make decisions to end the meeting and get a commitment for whatever the next step might be.
ÂIt is a planning process,Â DÂAndrea says. ÂNot only [involving] how IÂm going to begin the conversation but also what are the two or three questions that IÂm going to ask and how do I build my knowledge of this physician and the physicianÂs practice into these questions so that I have a better chance of creating a dialog.Â
Once youÂre into that dialogue, you had better be prepared to answer the tough questions. Successful reps not only know the products they represent, but also what the company literature says and what the competition is saying, according to Sam Heide, a sales representative with Janssen Pharmaceutical.
Review the notes from your last interaction with a doctor, nurse or office manager before you go into your next appointment with that person. Ask yourself: ÂWhere did I leave off and what was of interest to that person?Â
Armed with that information, youÂll be in a position to build on the last meeting.
According to Ellwood, the second key recommendation to come out of the report was the importance of promoting good relationships, or relationship building.
ÂThere is an indication that the more successful reps spend longer with their customers and they spend less time waiting,Â Ellwood says. ÂSo, you canÂt just go in there pushing your products, you have to work on building those relationships with the gatekeepers.Â
Heide says building that relationship and getting to know the physician often means getting the physician away from the office, patients and other sales reps. He is persistent in asking physicians to lunch or dinner. HeÂll even bring dinner to the office, after hours, so that they can talk in peace.
He says physicians are more likely to divulge the truth about their needs and prescribing patterns if reps can get them at a more ÂcomfortableÂ time.
ÂIÂve had times when a doctor has told me for six months that theyÂre writing my product and I know theyÂre notÂ ,Â he says. ÂThen, I get that doctor in a lunch or dinner setting and theyÂll finally come clean and say this is why IÂm not writing your productÂ . Once you know that, you can get to the real root of the problem.Â
ÂThere is a lot that goes into the often very short meeting with the doctor,Â says MedzillaÂs Marketing Director Michele Groutage. ÂWe often post information on our forum from pharmaceutical reps about how important it is to plan and be flexible for that encounter. ItÂs hard to make the transition from a social discussion to the meat of the product discussion in 60 seconds unless you plan ahead.Â
Established in mid 1994, MedZilla is the original web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. MedZilla databases contain about 10,000 open positions, 13,000 resumes from candidates actively seeking new positions and 71,000 archived resumes.
MedzillaÂ® is a Registered Trademark owned by Medzilla Inc. Copyright Â©2004, MedZilla, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this text in its entirety, and if electronically, with a link to the URL http://www.medzilla.com. For permission to quote from or reproduce any portion of this message, please contact Michele Groutage, Director of Marketing and Development, MedZilla, Inc. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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