According to PharmExec, the top issue reps face in their daily work is too much competition in the field. As a result, doctors end up ‘very sick of eight reps coming in each week, talking to them about the exact same product.’ Terry Thompson, director of training and development for Bristol-Myers Squibb says: ‘The challenge for a rep is – how do I distinguish myself from everybody else? Because unless the doctor sees me as someone unique, he isn’t going to remember me, and if he doesn’t remember me, he’s not going to remember my products, and if he doesn’t remember my products, he’s not likely to change his writing habits.”
This is a huge stress factor reps have to face on daily basis. No wonder high salaries are just not enough to retain the representatives for more than a maximum of couple of years on one post. If MedReps community survey is to be believed, 43% of employed representatives say they are either highly or somewhat satisfied with their jobs, but over half report being actively looking for a new job. Of those who are employed, nearly half are very concerned (19%) or somewhat concerned (24%) about layoffs at their current company, and 71% of unemployed respondents lost their job due to layoffs.
So what can they do to sell their products and stay satisfied with their wok?
Chase the doctor – It’s a game most reps play every day. They have to catch the doctor in the clinic or hospital hallway, running behind him and asking for ‘a minute’ of his time. This is a stressful habit, as the rep really has only a minute or two to tell something about his product and provide promotional materials. Another variant of this technique is cutting in line between patients, providing a probable yet irritating reason to those waiting in queue, e.g. ’I will just sneak in to get a prescription. Just one moment’. And then risk getting thrown out by the doctor right away.
A good alternative to this practice is organizing small Group Meetings with physicians. It’s the best occasion to present a product to physicians, who sit calmly and wait for more info. But it cannot only be slipping through a couple Power Point slides, because such practice will only irritate the audience. As said before, reps must distinguish themselves and their products from many others, already knocking on the door. Physicians need some extra value from the presentation, preferably solid education; something they would need to check in the Drug Reference Encyclopedia or learn on symposiums. The good representative will learn a lot about his medicine or equipment and talk about it, maybe ask some engaging questions, so the physicians stay active listeners. The outstanding representative will use an innovative presentation tool, which adds fresh educational approach: a prerecorded Key Opinion Leader video, explaining in medical terms all the things physicians would like to know, non-linear slide presentation mode and decision based education program. The physician learns basing on choices he makes during the presentation, like when he is asked to choose from several options or to answer a specific question and the app enables many possible solutions and results. This way the doctors are really engaged in the presentation and are more likely to remember the product.
To summarize, the rep either manages to catch the doctor’s attention by providing him extra interesting content in the hallway or he organizes a good meeting where he engages doctors while presenting his product. He must always forget about his sales targets for a moment and concentrate on educating the doctor with capting content and methods.