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The Pharmaceutical Salesperson's Manifesto

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Message Dan Abshear
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The word, 'manifesto', is of Latin origin, and means, 'to make public'. This needs to be practiced regularly in the pharmaceutical industry. It's basically an open statement or statements of standards related to good behavior, based on principles, as suggested by a representative who has been in the business for about twenty years.

What follows are not the rules or commandments from one individual pretending to be a moral entrepreneur. I am just offering thoughts and information for readers to contemplate.

Suggestions for pharmaceutical representatives regarding the nature of their work:

Never park your company car closest to the entrance of a doctor's office or medical facility. Obviously, both locations treat sick people--some more sick than others. Consider parking towards the back of the parking area. After all exercise is good for you.

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When walking into a medical office and happening to notice more than one pharmaceutical representative, consider coming back later. Don't worry. You won't get fired. Don't be so insistent or persistent that you risk disrupting those in the waiting room.

If you enter a waiting room with no other reps but a few patients, strike up a conversation. This rarely happens--reps initiating conversation with patients. They are not lepers, and it may be good public relations for your industry.

To the male representatives, when working your territory, consider avoiding $1,000 suits, especially in rural areas. Why? First of all, doctors rarely wear suits when practicing medicine.

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Secondly, whenever a man wears a tie, it is a non-verbal statement that such a man wants money, which clearly is not an image you should create. I'm not suggesting that you wear jeans and/or an AC/DC black T-shirt. A sport coat with a shirt with a collar should be fine, and more appropriate, considering where you may be working in order to blend in. This will set you apart from your peers.

Conversely, if you are a drug rep in a high-class area of a big city, then a suit is in fact appropriate. Regardless, this suggestion fractures historical yet unspoken boundaries regarding the dress-code paradigm.

If you are invited into the medical office's patient area to 'check samples', this gives you an opportunity, but not a right or entitlement, to speak with the doctor or healthcare provider. Strive to read the environment and those that are present. Are employees moving quickly as you observe them? Does the doctor appear overwhelmed?

If so, absolutely do not discuss your business immediately, which is the ultimate reason you are there. You won't get fired, and the doctor and their staff may well have more important things to do that talk to you. It would be to your benefit and others to realize this, as you visit this office in the future, and the clinic may respect you more than other reps as well.

I've read juvenile and angry statements on boards such as Cafepharma. I know the concerns of some representatives, such as the curious activities you are coerced to do without apparent reason or purpose.

So I suggest that you as a pharmaceutical representative avoid being in a constant state of frustration. People are more transparent than many realize (with the exception of psychopaths). Those in the medical community that you interrupt (and you do to some degree) would rather not view you as being unhappy or combative.

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Make every effort to be in an upbeat mood before entering a medical office. You actually might make another person's day and make members of the medical staff smile or laugh.

Speaking of this, your job is not about your looks or personality, but rather what benefits you may offer patients. Secure your ego during your interactions with medical professionals.

With pharmaceutical corporations, and perhaps with all corporations, there seems to be a constant theme with sales to make a favorable impression. This is understandable and somewhat necessary for job security, yet don't ever confuse innovation or creative acts with what may be criminal acts. It happens, and it is not a good thing to do.

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My intrinsic pain has become annotated. Before my life was wrecked about 3 years ago, I was involved in pharmaceutical sales with very large corporations. I did this for about a decade. Before that career, I did patient care for about a (more...)

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