Bad Rep? A Q&A with Jamie Reidy - Pharmaceutical Executive


Bad Rep? A Q&A with Jamie Reidy
Jamie Reidy wrote the book on how to slack off as a pharma sales rep. Now, the sales manager's nightmare unveils more scams, sizes up the corporate selling culture—and reveals what finally made him care.

Pharmaceutical Executive

You went to Arkansas from California, and to feign being at this grand opening you called the local flower shop and had them deliver flowers? How did that go over? Didn't the doctors see through that?

No, they just thought: "That's so cool. Jamie Reidy sent flowers." My bosses never knew. I mean, they knew that I sent flowers. Because they had a sales receipt.

What have your friends in the industry said about your book?

One of my friends from Lilly called me up and said, "Reidy, You hit it on the nose, man. This book is hilarious. It's like reading my journal." And then he called me a bunch of names and said, "You ruined it for us all." He meant that nobody can work only 20 hours a week anymore.

I also heard from a district manager at another company who mailed me ten copies of my book to sign for everybody on his team. He wanted to show them that he knew all the tricks now, and that they shouldn't try to get away with anything. But he also said he thought there were some sales gems in there that they could learn from.

So are reps going to have to work more than 20 hours a week? How much has the job changed?

I've heard from people at Pfizer that they're totally cracking down on everything now. They are being a lot more vigilant and checking things out, possibly looking for different receipts. And then there's another old manager trick, which I hear they've used a couple times since the book came out. The manager calls you at lunchtime on Tuesday and says, "Hey, where are you going to be at one o'clock? I want to meet up with you." That is the ultimate panic attack right there.

You seem to have gone your own way on selling, too, by rejecting some of the regimented scripts and detailing procedures that Pfizer used, developing your own relationships with doctors, and trying to think on your feet. As far as you know, how do other people feel about doing things the company way?

I think there are two reactions. I think the public reaction is always, "Come on, we're grown-ups. We're smart, educated people. We can do our own thing. Don't baby us." And people really push back on the script outwardly. But I think for a lot of people, the script makes the job even easier because you know exactly what you're supposed to say. And so now you've got this job where you're already programmed and you just—the phrase is "show up and throw up." You just regurgitate the sales pitch and the data that you've been taught to share.

And how well does that serve the company?

As my first boss always said, "Enthusiasm sells." And I would add that conviction sells. So if Pfizer or any company has spent thousands and thousands of dollars to come up with the marketing plan and the sales pitch, and you then take that and enthusiastically share it and don't make it sound like it's some canned spiel, that works. If you can sort of flavor it a little bit, I think it helps the company, because they know exactly what they want us to say. If they have their soldiers talking the company line and the company's research is correct, then that should further sales.


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Source: Pharmaceutical Executive,
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