Dear Pharma Colleagues! I and my longtime friend Javed Akhtar have started writing a book about Pharmaceutical Sales Profession. It reads like a story and will take up all aspects of Pharma Sales. We both started as Medical Rep in 1975 and went through various stages. Javed left as Head of Training at GSK and is currently a well-known and well-respected coach and trainer. I reached the top in line management and am still there. It is the story of all of us; the Pharma Salespeople. Kindly read and give your reviews and comments here or at asrar@asrarqureshi.com 

Disclaimer. All characters and places are fictional. Any resemblance to anyone/anything real is unintentional and purely coincidental.

Continued from last……

It was 12.00 noon so Jamil looked at his list again and went on to check Dr. Akram Shah. Dr. Akram was a bulky, ageing gentleman who was surrounded by patients on all sides. The doctor examined the patients one by one and gave them prescription. No attendant was in sight. Jamil got into the crowd of patients and made himself visible. Dr. Akram looked at him and gestured him to wait. Jamil waited and watched. After several minutes Dr. Akram asked Jamil to say what he had to say because he will always be busy. Jamil started “Sir, I am Jamil from Ambria Pharma. First product I want to talk to you is Lefquin. It is our brand of Levofloxacin, 250 and 500mg.” “Yes, I think I heard about it. Levofloxacin is quite popular these days. I don’t use new medicines. I want to keep my patients safe.” Dr. said. “Sir, Levofloxacin is quite old now” The doctor agreed. “Too many new products come these days. Even remembering the names is a big challenge. I am very busy and don’t have time for remembering new names.”  “ Sir, Lefquin is a small name and is easy to remember. And I shall come regularly to remind you.” Jamil pursued. “Ok. Let us see.” Dr. Akram said. “What else?” “Sir, we have Amproxen, our brand of Naproxen sodium, 550mg.” Jamil presented the next product. “Yes. I like naproxen. I have been using it for many years. It is safe drug. What did you say your product was?” “Sir, it is Amproxen” Jamil said quickly. “OK. I think I may use it” Dr. Akram waved him good bye. Jamil left with a feeling of achievement.

It was already 12.45PM. Jamil rushed to Dr. Arif Kareem clinic. When he reached there, five medical reps were already waiting there. They looked at Jamil and asked him if he was new. Jamil said yes. Exactly at 1.05PM, the attendant ushered all medical reps into doctor’s chamber together. Dr. Arif Kareem was a tall guy. He was standing and looked fresh even after a busy morning. “Yes gentlemen. What do you bring today?” he asked politely. The medical reps presented their products one by one. They kept their talk brief and to-the-point. Dr. Arif asked a few questions. It was technical and Jamil did not understand. Then it was Jamil’s turn. ‘Sir, I am Jamil from Ambria Pharma.” “This is your first visit” the doctor observed. “Yes Sir” Jamil replied. “Remember two rules. No more than two products at one time. And be brief and to-the-point.” Dr. Arif commanded. “Yes Sir, I shall remember”. Jamil was already feeling overwhelmed.

Jamil presented Lefquin and Pantopram. The doctor listened and nodded. “I prescribe levofloxacin and pantoprazole. I may prescribe your products. Thank you.” Dr. Arif commented and closed the talk. “Thank you very much Sir” Jamil said excitedly. It was 1.30PM and he thought he would take a break for lunch and then go to office and see Nadeem if he wasavailable.

Jamil took a quick roadside burger and then reached the distributor office. Nadeem had just come in. They exchanged greetings and Nadeem asked him how the morning went. Jamil said he wanted to tell him and that’s why he came. Nadeem asked him to wait a little as he had something to discuss with the distributor. When he got free, they sat talking.

Jamil told him the story of morning visits. Nadeem listened intently. “You had a good morning work. Good job.” He said. “Thank You Sir”. Jamil was elated.

DEBRIEFING and KEY LEARNINGS

“Let me explain few points to you”. Nadeem started.

“Every customer is a different person. As salesperson, we should understand the customers so that we can do our work effectively. The role of pharmacies is very important. Because they see the patients and the prescriptions of the nearby doctors, they know what kind of patients are seen by the doctor and what are the prescribing preferences. This is a wealth of information. Try and develop relations with the key persons on the pharmacies.” Jamil nodded in understanding.

“Now let us talk about your visits” Nadeem continued. “All the doctors you visited in the morning are important. If you review your calls, you will understand that they are telling you about what they prefer. If you respect their preference, they will like you and support you for business. Let me show you one by one. Dr. Anees complained that no one came. His preference is Regular Visits. If you are always regular and visit him on the same day every two weeks, he will prescribe your products regularly. Dr. Abdul Khaliq thinks about Price. He does not want high priced products. Our prices are reasonable and you must mention prices every time you visit him. Dr. Imran likes to have Relation. If you visit him regularly and spend some time with him, he will support you. Dr. Atiya will not see you but she looks at the folders you leave at her clinic. Don’t stop going there because you cannot see her. Dr. Sohail likes to Talk. Listen to him and he will be good with you. Dr. Akram is a very kind, elder person. Be regular and very respectable to him and he will patronize you. Dr. Arif is kind but he will Discuss and Decide. Be ready for discussion. If you do not know answer to any question, be truthful. Come and talk to me and then reply to him.” Jamil was awed by the expertise of Nadeem. He developed a new respect and liking for him.

“Jamil! Selling is actually dealing with customers. You need to know five products only. But you have to understand one hundred customers, each one you visit. Only then you will be successful” Nadeem concluded.

Part V concluded.

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