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Customer service sets rep apart


Pharmaceutical Representative

Joe Sharpe came to pharmaceutical sales with a strong background in customer service, and it shows.

Joe Sharpe, a 22-month rep with Abbott Park, IL-based Abbott Laboratories, came to pharmaceutical sales with a strong background in customer service, and it shows. His focus on serving the needs of the doctors and offices he visits is apparent in both large and small gestures. To start with, Sharpe pointed out the importance of simple courtesy as a sales tool. "Doctors are very busy, doctors' offices are very busy. ... Be concise when you go in, be very considerate of their time, and make sure you meet their needs."

Sharpe has found ways to work around doctors' schedules, like visiting in the morning before the offices get busy. He noted that breakfasts are particularly successful. "I'll bring in a griddle and make pancakes. ... In the morning, they're not stressed out yet because they haven't had any patients ... so I get valuable time with the doctors and the staff."

One of the larger ways that Sharpe has made himself a resource to his offices is by offering 30-minute training seminars to office managers and staff on stress management, customer service, communication and team-building. He has even presented these workshops at meetings of the Florida Physicians' Medical Group.

The success of Sharpe's approach is evident in his sales performance. Six months after joining the company he was named rookie of the year for his region, and in about year his regional sales ranking jumped from 42nd to 7th. Said Sharpe, "All of the things I've done to be a value-added service have helped my sales, helped me gain respect from physicians."

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