Career Growth On The Job

Are You Cut Out to Sell Controversial Medical Sales Products? Here’s How to Know For Sure


The term “controversial” is one many people back away from — especially when it comes to their careers. But selling these types of medical sales products can be very rewarding.

Even pharmaceutical reps who are dealing with medical marijuana legalization and the opioid crisis — the toughest two controversies today, according to 89 percent of sales reps in our latest report, Selling Controversial Products: Rising Above the Negativity to Find Positive Impacts — can find the positivity amid challenging times.

In fact, 46 percent of sales reps surveyed for the report said they expect a positive impact on their careers from stricter opioid laws and medical marijuana legalization.

However, reaching those positive impacts isn’t without hard work and determination. The struggles these reps face due to social media, the media, and the lack of public knowledge creates immense hurdles.

Let’s look at what those obstacles are so you can decide if applying to a company that sells controversial products is the right move for you:

The public may be misinformed

Consumers are taking education into their own hands. The issue is, what they’re learning is often inaccurate information based on public opinions rather than facts. This lack of proper education is the No. 1 issue for reps selling controversial products, according to 94 percent of sales pros in our report.

When considering selling a controversial product, you need the patience to prioritize educating the public above everything else. While making the sale is always the desired end result, placing too much focus on it in the beginning won’t help you sell your product.

You’ll also need to be honest with yourself and customers. Do in-depth research on the product. Look at the news, social media, and even ask family and friends for their opinions. If you feel you can take that information, be honest with it, and still show its benefits, you’re likely cut out for this type of career.

Social media will be your worst enemy

Your close bond with social media is about to be broken.

In today’s world, social media is often viewed as a reputable news source. Unfortunately, when it comes to sales, this becomes a major challenge. In fact, 68 percent of sales pros in our report say it’s the biggest obstacle they face when it comes to selling controversial products.

At this time, you’re likely used to your company using social media as a fun and interactive marketing tactic. However, in this type of field, you’ll be using it to research how customers feel about a product, offer valuable information, and constantly rebuild trust and connections.

Seek out negative media before applying. Does this make you more motivated to change the public’s perception and ensure people are getting this valuable product in hand? Or does it make you feel anxious and uncomfortable when you think about trying to ‘spin’ the product in a positive light?

Feeling motivated is a good sign you’re ready to take the next step in selling controversial products. If you’re feeling uneasy about a particular product or topic, try looking at other controversial products you’re passionate about before deciding the controversial route isn’t for you.

You need to get doctors on your side

Of course, this seems like a given. In medical sales, however, your relationship with doctors is even more crucial when pitted against controversial products. In fact, the majority of sales reps in our survey believe they should be in charge of educating the public on opioids and medical marijuana.

So, to excel in selling a controversial medical sales product, you’ll need to form tight-knit relationships with doctors. It’ll be crucial in not only convincing them to promote your product as a positive treatment, but also keeping them constantly informed so they can ensure their patients are up-to-date with factual and relevant information.