This ‘Guest Blog’ Post has been contributed by Mr. Hasan Jamal, a longtime veteran of Pharma Industry. The Guest Blog Posts are also published on https://pharmaveterans.com . You are welcome to contribute. You may write your own story or about some memorable events of your career or about Pharma Industry. Please send your posts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Product Knowledge — A Panacea to Increased Sales
“Knowledge is power” and “Knowledge breeds’ confidence”
These two dictums are deep seeded in our minds as we have been listening to this certitude right from the beginning of our career. Product knowledge in every industry and likewise in pharmaceutical selling plays a pivotal role for making, maintaining and increasing sales. Every marketer will find it written in the preambles of marketing text books and literature and will find every Guru preaching it as mantra and hallmark for successful selling. In pharmaceutical industry insufficient and inappropriate product knowledge impedes effective selling of product to the doctor. Product knowledge is absolutely necessary for the sale persons to perform adequately to produce results and thus, to be successful in their career ultimately.
In the beginning it may take a while to easily articulate the product knowledge, especially with the new products, but over time they will become comfortable and confident in providing the correct information to the doctors, which will pay off in improved sales and achieving desired results in the end.
Following are some points which enable a sales professional to get desired results by using the product knowledge rightly.
Strengthen Communication Skills
To have a thorough understanding of not only your products but of competitors and the market is indispensable. It is all the more important to be proficient in the use of knowledge in an unequivocal manner at the right time and the right place.
Stronger communication skills will enable a salesperson to recognize and rightly adapt his sales presentation for varied situations and to the doctors from different specialties. Salespersons must be well aware to sell the benefit of the products and not the features. And more importantly, to see what the doctor’s patient needs, not what salespersons like.
A smart salesperson with appropriate product knowledge and good communication skills will easily evoke doctor’s interest and enthusiasm about the product. By way of having this quality he can easily eschew any doubt that the product may not be the best solution for that doctor. The most convenient way to become enthusiastic is to truly believe and have full conviction in the product and the company he represents. As the seasoned marketers believe that, the first sale you make is to yourself; and then it is to the doctor.
If a doctor is not fully committed to prescribe, the difference may simply be the presence or lack of confidence and conviction a salesperson has towards the product or on his knowledge of the product. Becoming well versed and knowledgeable on the product will help cement the confidence. The confidence that you are radiating in doctor’s chamber will make him believe in you, and, therefore, in the product you are selling.
Doctors are more likely to trust sales people who show confidence in themselves and what they are selling. An interested salesman can provide further impetus to his confidence and resultantly boost the sales, by continuously improvising on his product knowledge and communication skills.
This is an art which could only be performed by means of having good product knowledge and a well curated commercial talk (detailing). Objections made by doctors on certain occasions could denote to the lack of interest, but mostly they are a strong buying signal, which the sales person has to sense on the spot. A smart salesperson can pick up the message without much effort. If the doctor objects to a product, there is likelihood that either you chose the wrong product for the wrong doctor or the doctor needs more information on your product so that he could decide as to why your product is the best solution for his patients.
This ability comes in the form of product knowledge and in-chamber performance. A smart salesman who is well versed with his products, and selling techniques, manages easily to counter objections and give comparisons, to the satisfaction of the doctor.
Sell Benefits not Features
The most important element of product knowledge is to sell the benefit and not the feature. Too often the salespeople get excited about the features and try to overwhelm the doctor.
A doctor wants to know WHY and HOW that particular feature is a solution to his patients. But here the caution is, never make the mistake of talking about more benefits than what the doctor needs. In other words communicate only the relevant benefits to the doctor that you should know by way of good preparation before the visit.
The bottom line is that doctors need product information. This is how they make the buying decision by trusting you as the salesperson. But mind you; using product knowledge is a skill to be used in the most appropriate way. Do not try to throw up your knowledge every time, no matter how good it is.
Never try to over claim about your product. If asked by the doctor for something that the product does not offer, be bold and truthful about mentioning the limitations of the product. This will enhance the trust of the doctor on you and he will be more inclined to approach you when he needs any solution to his patient’s problem in future.
Understanding your products’ features allow you to present their benefits accurately and persuasively. Doctors respond to enthusiastic salesman who is passionate, to the point and shares the benefits of the product with them in a very concise and precise manner.
How to Build Product Knowledge:
- Get into the habit of reading
- Marketing literature.
- Training sessions and questioning to the trainers.
- Training manuals and product literature.
- By discussing with seniors and colleagues.
- Role playing.
- Practical use in the field.
- Pick up the knowledge, vocabulary and terminology from the doctor by listening to him attentively.
If you sculpt the classic quotes, mentioned at the beginning of my note, in relation to SALES — PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE will be your resulting piece.