How to Succeed in Pharmaceutical Sales

The world of pharmaceutical sales is competitive. There are numerous sales representatives who would love to have the same job and a great sales career. How can you be sure you have what it takes to get the job? Let’s take a look at some of the top skills recruiters want to see in a candidate.


Good People Skills

You need to have good people skills when going out to market a product. Get to know your client before you step foot in the door in order to have a leg up. Do they like a friendly, personal tone? Or are they strictly business? Good sales reps do their homework.

Active listening is an important part of having good people skills. Don’t just talk at your client and pitch the sale. Be sure to take a step back and listen to what potential clients are saying: They just might be giving you the clues you need to close the sale. With a bit of sales experience, you’ll learn how to listen and use what you hear to create an end game.

Sharp problem-solving skills are also key to a good sales presentation. You may be ready to pitch your product in one way, but being flexible allows you to adjust to your client’s needs as you go. By listening to what your client is saying and using your knowledge of your field, you can adjust the pitch and work together on a solution that fits everyone’s needs.


Strong Product Knowledge

The pharmaceutical industry is constantly changing. Technology and science are rapidly evolving, and it is important to stay on the top of these updates. You must demonstrate a strong knowledge of the product you are selling in order to answer questions and show the product in a positive light. No one will take you seriously at the entry level if you don’t sound knowledgeable in your field. Check this list for some ways to read the latest news in your field:

  • Have a list of reputable websites bookmarked for easy reading.
  • Subscribe to magazines with the latest information in your field.
  • Follow relevant drug companies and professionals on social media for updates.
  • Find podcasts that discuss relevant information.
  • Know the FDA guidelines and regulations.
  • Sign up for sales training courses to help you become a better sales representative.

Consider investing in a tablet for on-the-go reading opportunities. Magazines are now delivered digitally, and your bookmarks are available on any device. Grab your tablet when you have time to read and you’ll be ready for any upcoming meeting.


Comfortable with Public Speaking

Pitching a new drug usually requires a presentation. People considering pharmaceutical sales, even at an entry level, will need to be comfortable speaking in a public setting. Whether it be one-on-one with a doctor, or to a purchasing committee, clear articulation is important, especially when using industry jargon. Prepping your pitch before you get to your presentation will help you to stay calm and focus on the information. Be sure to know the proper pronunciation of drug names to avoid looking foolish. It doesn’t take much to accidentally convince someone you are clueless.

If you have prepared a PowerPoint presentation to accompany your pitch, be sure everything is ready to go before your meeting. There is nothing more embarrassing than making a client watch you fumble with your device to get it working. Arrive at the location a few minutes early and ask the receptionist for help getting connected to the Wi-Fi network. If you hit the ground running, your presentation will make an even bigger impression.


Manage Your Own Time

You need to be your own project manager as a pharmaceutical rep. Figuring out how to manage your time can be tricky, so it’s important to have good time-management skills:

  • Set goals. Make your goals manageable so you can be sure to meet them step by step. Don’t forget to set both short-term and long-term goals for yourself.
  • Plan ahead. Use a planner to record deadlines. Having it written down in one place you can refer to as needed is helpful for getting things done on time.
  • Put tasks in order of importance on your to-do list. Do highest the priority tasks first and early in the day while your concentration level is at its peak.
  • Know your strengths. No two people work in the same way, so know yourself and how you are the most productive.
  • Self-motivation. One of the hardest things about managing your own time is motivation to reach your goals. Work out a system of rewards for when you reach your goals. Reward yourself with something small, like your favorite drink or a brain break for small goals, and a larger reward like a weekend shopping trip or dinner at a favorite restaurant for meeting larger goals. Having something to look forward to will make reaching your goals a lot more fun.


Industry-Specific Skills

It pays to know what you are talking about. Brush up on your industry-specific skills and language. If you are working with a drug for a certain illness, know about the other treatment options why this one will help patients in a different way. Having the knowledge to back up the information will be the key to landing the deal over someone else who didn’t do his or her homework.


Be Ready to Travel Anytime

The more you are willing to travel as a sales representative, the more jobs you will land. Leaving room for as much travel as possible in your schedule will expand your client base. Traveling may seem tedious, but it actually gives you a chance to catch up on your reading or listening to podcasts. Bring your tablet on the plane and make a plan of action for your meeting. This will keep everything fresh for when you arrive. If you are driving, download a podcast or two to play on your drive. Travel time is a great opportunity to absorb new information.


Get Your CNPR Training

One of the best ways to stand out as a sales representative is by having your CNPR Pharmaceutical Training Program certificate. This certifies you have the proper training to have a pharmaceutical sales career. Employers are going to check your industry knowledge during the application process, so being able to show you passed the industry standard test means you’ll have a leg up on other candidates. The course is self-paced, and students must pass a 160-question exam in 120 minutes.

Want to give yourself the boost to stand out at your next interview? SNI offers a variety of trainings to take your sales career to the next level. Our Influence and Persuasion training will help you to make your pitch and explain why your product is the one the doctor should be prescribing.

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