You enter the doctor’s office with your friendliest smile in place. You’ve got your information pamphlets ready and start flipping through the pages as you present your product to the doctor. But you’re only a quarter of the way through the latest efficacy data when your stomach drops.
The doctor has completely tuned you out.
For pharmaceutical sales reps, this is a common and terrible experience. While you’re passionate about your products and know how much good they can do for patients, the information isn’t connecting with healthcare professionals.
And if you look at the situation from doctors’ points of view, it’s clear why they’re checking out.
A 2017 study of over 1,800 physicians found that 51 percent of the time they meet with a pharmaceutical sales rep, the reps just show information the doctors have already seen. Understandably, this makes these meetings boring and a waste of their time.
If you want your sales pitch to stand out, you’re going to need to spice it up. Here are three tricks to try:
1. Remember that doctors are people
Yes, doctors are a highly educated group. But that doesn’t mean that every other word out of your mouth needs to be medical jargon and pushy sales lingo when talking to them. These individuals work hard to save lives every day, in a very fast-paced environment. Don’t treat them as a means to another end or like they’re not human themselves.
Start all your sales meetings by checking in with the doctor. If you’ve done your job, you already know about your clients and their medical specialty. Revisit a topic you were both excited by in your last meeting, or give them an opportunity to talk about their goals or a life event. This will help you build a better relationship with the doctor.
And if you’re talking with a new client, set aside time to get to know them. Be sure to jot down notes about what was said after the meeting so you can commit important details to memory.
On the same note, don’t be afraid to show more of who you are as a person during your presentation. For example, if you like to scrapbook in your spare time, consider creating a professional scrapbook featuring your sales literature. It’s a more personal and memorable touch than a traditional brochure.
2. Think like a marketer
Many pharmaceutical reps make the mistake of assuming they’re only a salesperson. But that’s only part of the role. As someone who distributes information about your products, you’re also a marketer. That means understanding with whom who you’re talking and what material will speak best to them.
Instead of giving the same sales pitch at every meeting, think about what you know about the doctor before you meet. How is their practice unique? What is their approach to patient care? What type of media are they most likely to understand?
Once you have these answers, refine your pitch. For example, if the doctor has a very tech-savvy practice that caters mostly to pre-teen patients, use that information to your advantage. Present videos to them on a tablet. Show them testimonials from young patients and their parents. This will give the information a marketing framework that resonates better with the doctor.
3. Be involved in patient education
Many pharmaceutical sales reps fill their presentations with basic and repetitive facts that anyone can understand because they believe once they leave the meeting, it’s up to the doctor to convey the details to patients. However, this mindset can put an unfair burden on busy physicians. Instead, find ways to get involved with patient education. When a doctor wants to start a patient on your drug, offer to sit down with the doctor and the patient to answer questions.
This allows you to assist the doctor while getting important feedback from patients. Pay attention to the questions and concerns they have. Doctors have heard this patient feedback a hundred times, but when you get these insights, it’ll give you a better idea of how you can position your product and present educational materials.
You might never get tired of talking about your product, but if doctors keep hearing the same information over and over, they will zone out. By taking the right steps to improve your pitch, connect with doctors, and create valuable educational materials, you’ll become a better-rounded pharmaceutical sales rep.
What are some other ways to spice up a pharma sales meeting? Share in the comments.