The pharmaceutical sales profession often gets a bad rap from professionals in other sales industries. Outsiders may think pharmaceutical representatives are “tellers,” not sellers; glorified lunch-delivery professionals wearing fancy new suits. As a former pharmaceutical rep, I believe my time in the industry has helped me immensely as I have progressed into my new role of healthcare marketer. Yes, I can admit the pharmaceutical sales profession does have its limits, but pharmaceutical reps can and do serve a great purpose.
Gone are the days of showing up at doctor’s office with a new set of golf clubs in hopes that he or she will write more prescriptions of the products you represent. With the new Open Payments program (Sunshine Act) requiring pharmaceutical and medical device reps to report any transfer of value to physicians, my “wining and dining” typically consisted of soup and salad from Panera. Providing lunch at a clinic was simply a way to open the door to conversation with a group of physicians. My job was to change their prescribing behavior. I did this through selling benefits – clinical, financial and well-being – followed by a strong, clear call-to-action. It was my job to show doctors how my products could benefit their patients.
As I have progressed into my new role of healthcare marketing account executive, I take the same approach as I help hospitals, clinics, manufacturers and other healthcare organizations market and sell the benefits of their products and services. It is critical to make an immediate, emotional connection to your audience, sell benefits to motivate them to take action and provide a measurable result that will move the needle on their health and your bottom line.
If they do their jobs well — and are passionate about helping patients — everyone involved in your organization can make a difference. Even pharmaceutical reps.