Build rapport with physicians

February 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

Using language to establish relationships.

The sales representative's primary goal is to establish relationships with the receptionists, nurses and, ultimately, the physicians. Yet what stops most salespeople from being successful is that they aren't using the right language to build meaningful relationships.

You can make yourself extremely attractive to your physicians and office staffs by using this three-step attraction process. It helps your clients see what's possible for themselves and their patients.

Share who you are

When people know who you are, they're more likely to trust you and share information. Although we usually just give our name and title when we introduce ourselves, sharing who we are is more attractive.

For example:


•Â "My name is Joe Smith, and I organize the continuing education course on heart disease."
• "My name is Allison Goldsmith, and I coordinate support groups for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients."

You also want to use language to show physicians how they will benefit by working with you.

For example:


•Â "My name is Sheila Jones, and I give doctors the information they need before they need it."


•Â "My name is Frank Washington, and I help physician offices manage their patient flow better."

Remember, your customers don't really want to learn every detail about your product during the sales call: They want to know what it does for them.

Naturally, you also want to link your product to how it helps patients feel better or manage their lives better.

For example:


•Â "My name is Mary Schultz, and I help diabetes patients manage their disease."


•Â "My name is Jose Lopez, and I help give AIDS patients hope."


•Â "My name is James March, and I help your back-injury patients reduce lost work time."


•Â "My name is Sally Sharp, and I help your congested patients breathe through their noses not their mouths."


•Â "My name is Chris Hanson, and my company gives people with nausea the confidence that what goes down, stays down."

Key insight: You attract more people and make more money by creating relationships based on how you make clients or patients feel about you, not on how you improve their condition.

Establish your role and goal

Use language to show that you are interested, rather than trying to be "interesting," during your sales calls. Some of us try to be too entertaining when we're nervous or uncomfortable.

1. Find out who your customers really are. When members of the office staff tell you what they do, rephrase it for them so they know you understand.


•Â If they say, "I'm the receptionist," you say, "Oh, you're someone who keeps the flow going."


•Â If they say, "I'm the office manager," you say, "Oh, you're the person who keeps the peace."

2. Show the customer that you know what they need. For example:


•Â "Dr. James told me you were now working for an orthopedics group."


•Â "Susan said you were a board member of the Bone Society."


•Â "Kay said you wanted more patient information sheets."

3. You should also let your customers know the purpose of your call. You might say:


•Â "I'd like for you to know more about how I can serve you."


•Â "It's my intention that you get enough information about this disease so you can make a decision about our product."

4. When calling on physicians, make sure you secure permission during various stages of the call. For example:


•Â "Would you be willing to spend five minutes with me so I can show you the information piece we have?"


•Â "Would you like to see some articles on the approved use of our drug?"

Key insight: People will trust you if they know who you are rather than what you sell.

Gather information

Find out what issues your customers are facing. Is it less time with patients? More cost pressures? Knowing this information will help you address your product's benefits during sales presentations.

Then ask your customers how you can help them. Do they want your empathy or do they want your help? Determine how willing or committed they are to working with you or using your product.

Key insight: People don't mind telling you about themselves if you show that you understand and care.

Building rapport is about focusing on the customer in the relationship. The people who recognize the importance of understanding the customer will win because they know how to attract people to them easily and effortlessly. PR