a) Better understanding of the products, communicating the salient features & benefits properly to the medical profession and get them converted to the brands being promoted, are the most important job responsibilities of Medical Representatives in pharmaceutical selling/marketing. One can (deservingly) feel ‘on top of the world’ if he is able to convince a tough Dr through his product knowledge and better communication – Nothing can compensate such a great feeling!.
If a MR is sincerely willing to improve, wants to do a good job, and progress upwards in his career, there are always ways and means to master these two important job requirements:
i) Better understanding of the Products being promoted:
From my experience I can say that a majority of MRs (more so if he comes from other than Science stream) feel that ‘Product Knowledge’ is very tough, technical, hence difficult to learn, whereas in reality it is not so. If such MRs understand the following basics, it is very much possible to master ‘Product Knowledge’.
a) The product treats which disease, and how that disease/illness is caused?
b) How the product treats that disease/illness?
c) The role of each ingredient/composition of the product in addressing the disease
d) Benefits of the product vis-a-vis major competitors’ products
If the above are explained to the Trainee MRs in a simple and easy way to understand, I am sure their understanding of the Products being taught will be far better, and I have seen this happening.
ii) Detailing/communicate properly:
Again if the MR is very sincere in addressing this issue, he can over come it by implementing the following, because good communication can be acquired:
b) The urge to acquire this skill, should come from ‘within’ strongly
c) He should understand that more than 50% of the job is already done, if the communication is good/right.
d) Break lengthy words into many convenient parts, tell them separately, and once comfortable in pronouncing them separately, you can tell the same in one go. For example: ‘Metalloproteinases’. This can be broken down into a)Metallo, b)Protein, c)Ases. Tell them separately, and once you are comfortable, tell the full word in one go, you got it!.
e) Understand the meaning of every word/line in the detailing story. This will help in proper detailing. If don’t know the meaning of any part of the detailing story, check with your superiors and understand it.
f) Use pointer always while detailing.
g) Keep eye contact with the customers while detailing
h) Say boldly whenever mentioning the brand name, and benefits/advantages of the products.
i) If the detailing/communication is good/interesting, Drs tend to give a little more time also!.
j) Develop the habit of reading English newspapers daily
k) Can join spoken English classes on holidays/Sundays.
l) One can stand in front of the mirror, detail, watch your English, body language, and then correct wherever improvement is required. Ravi Sastri, the famous ex-cricketer has practiced like this, before he mastered the art of ‘running commentary’.
m) One can try to converse in English as much as possible at home and also with friends to improve spoken English
Benefits of mastering the communication & Product Knowledge:
a) More Doctor conversions, leading to better results
b) More confidence, not afraid to detail even to a great Doctor and convince him/her.
c) Due to better results, more earning.
d) Career growth
e) Better acceptance in peer group, customers, and also in society.
(The author Mr.V.Srinivasan is heading the Training & Development function in M/s.Nutri Synapzz Therapeutix Pvt Ltd, Bangalore.)