A Loyalty Force
Mike Capaldi, Associate Vice President for Sales Training and Leadership Development at sanofi-aventis, interviews Duane Sparks, Chairman and Founder of The Sales Board and creator and author of Action Selling, about the trends related to sales in the pharmaceutical field and how to transform a sales force into a loyalty force.
In your opinion, what are the biggest hurdles that pharma sales people face today?
From my experience, we’re having some difficulty establishing trust with doctors and earning the right to get more of their time. It seems like we’re being squeezed and getting less time rather than more. To go along with that, it’s very important to use this time productively in order to get more time in the future. I’m also seeing that it’s difficult to gain “appropriate commitments” from doctors. Those are the three things that I think are the greatest challenges we are facing today in the pharma marketplace.
We’ve heard similar things pertaining to sales professionals’ issues in this field. Additionally, doctors now have significantly limited the time available to see salespeople. What’s your advice for sales representatives on this issue?
In my opinion, the time limitations that we, are experiencing are a symptom of the problem. Think of it this way: When customers (in this case, doctors) make a buying decision, there are a series of minor decisions that are made. Pharmaceutical and medical salespeople are selling appointments to meet with doctors. Appointments become the product, not pharmaceuticals. We normally think that we’re selling a pharmaceutical or a medical product. We need to change our thinking here. The value of a meeting is what we are selling, and the price decision that the doctor makes is not about a product, but is about the time that they will give you. The doctor will invest time based on the …