Stepping into any new industry comes with its challenges, and becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative is no exception. Whether you feel confident in your current skill set or are eager to learn more, knowing these challenges in advance will help you prepare and succeed in the field.
Pharmaceutical sales reps will face various obstacles in their line of work, but some are common. Here are the top challenges for new pharmaceutical sales reps and how to overcome them.
1. Know Your Target Customer
As a new sales pharmaceutical representative, your first challenge is knowing your target customer. If you don’t succeed here, it will hinder your ability to meet your set target.
The average pharmaceutical sales rep will target renowned physicians and established hospitals. However, there’s a lesser known market of non-physicians in the office. This includes office managers, personal assistants, and receptionists. A majority of sales reps are either ignorant of this fact, or they simply haven’t
2. How to Get Past Your First “No”
Studies have shown that a sales representative gets an average of 6 minutes with a customer. This limited window can be very discouraging for some salespeople. The environment can be tense with numerous disruptions and distractions. And sooner rather than later, you’re going to be met with your first “no.”
Don’t let this mental-battle exhaust you! As of now, you know about this obstacle and can start to prepare yourself. Get yourself psyched up, be realistic about your expectations, and realize that being told “no” is a part of the process. If you see a repeat problem, you may need to seek training to get ahead of the game.
3. Find Motivation in Mentorship
A great way to maintain motivation through those “no’s” is by finding a mentor who has already had those same experiences.
Take time to talk to those you look up to. This can be a successful pharmaceutical sales rep, a salesperson in another area, a business person in another profession, or someone successful in a completely different career that you admire. Read their best-selling novel or the novel written by their heroes.
You will find out that these success stories include the same challenges you’re facing and worse. Find out how your hero got motivated and achieved their target. Where possible, adopt your mentors’ relevant “best practices.”
4. Meeting your Sales Target
Meeting a sales target usually the biggest challenge for new sales pharmaceutical representatives. If you ask the top sales reps if they met their first sales target, many will say no. This may seem discouraging, but the most important thing you can do is prepare and be willing to change methods that aren’t getting you to where you want to be.
To meet your sales target, know not only your target customers but also your plan for reaching them. Many pharmaceutical salespeople will use customer relationship management (CRM) technology for this. CRM will allow you to measure your relationships with current and potential customers. With this information, you’ll have the data you need to discern what works and what doesn’t. React to these findings by promptly changing tactics accordingly. Even better, push yourself to exceed your sales target to really find out what you’re capable of.
5. Communicating with Potential Customers
How you approach a prospective customer or a physician will determine if you will get their attention. Assuming you get their attention, you need to be prepared to convey your ideas in a clear, meaningful, and persuasive manner. Communication is a key skill for any sales rep.
Some tips for approaching your potential client:
- Pinpoint your customer or physician’s personality and employ the best strategy to relay your information. You’re not just delivering information about what you can do for them, but listening to your customer to find out what they need from you.
- Take some time to build a relationship of trust, analyze their problems, and offer a proper solution rather than focusing solely on pitching a product.
- When approaching a potential customer, be friendly. Make eye contact, ask a useful opening question, and find out what opener works best for you to use as your go-to approach.
Remember, you’re new to the industry, so don’t be discouraged by these challenges. Find inspiration in the brilliance of those who came before you. In addition, don’t ever give a physician the impression that you are coming to pitch a product. Rather, you’re here to establish a mutually beneficial partnership. To succeed as a new pharmaceutical sales representative, stay bold, confident, and well-informed.