Cutting-edge creativity employs new technology

November 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

You don't have to be a technology-savvy "sales nerd" to showcase product and company information with easy-to-use digital cameras, image manipulation software, scanners, laptops and color printers.

You don't have to be a technology-savvy "sales nerd" to showcase product and company information with easy-to-use digital cameras, image manipulation software, scanners, laptops and color printers. This article is about how some reps have creatively used such technology to impress clients and close sales.

Consider, for example, a self-proclaimed pharmaceutical sales "Houdini" in Los Angeles who does magic with his computer. "The trick is to get my new customers to like me, remember me and give me 'guaranteed' access to the doctors," he said.

New technology helps him distinguish himself from other sales reps. Using an inexpensive digital camera, for example, he took a picture of an office manager and her staff. He teasingly told them, "I have an interesting surprise for you. See you in 10 minutes." He then went to his car, where he downloaded the image from his digital camera into his laptop computer.

Using a template in his desktop publishing program, he inserted the picture into an attractive background and typed the name of each person above his or her face. He then typed in the big bold headline: "Dr. Redmond's Super Staff - Champions of the Office!" He printed the high-resolution picture from a battery-powered portable color printer onto photo-quality high-gloss paper, inserted it into an inexpensive frame and delivered it (with some fanfare) to the staff 10 minutes later.

The gesture was a hit with the office manager and her staff, and they wanted to immediately hang the picture up in a prominent place. (Fortunately, the prepared rep had also thought to bring picture hooks and a small hammer!) It now serves as a constant pleasant reminder of the rep when he's not there.

Another rep from Houston used technology to build rapport with doctors at a downtown medical center by making them 11" x 17" picture mementos. One influential doctor, for example, was an avid yachtsman. With the help of a design student from a nearby art institute, the rep scanned the doctor's photo from a hospital newsletter and seamlessly attached the doctor's head to the body of a figure standing next to a yacht and holding a trophy.

A caption in gold lettering read: "Dr. Smith Heading for the America's Cup?" She printed the image on a color printer using high resolution paper and gave it to the doctor. It now hangs right next to the doctor's diplomas! And she has been repaid for her time and investment in additional sales and referrals.

A Minneapolis rep found an innovative way to say 'thanks' to a new client. On his company's stationery, he wrote a personal thank-you note to the client. He had a printer enlarge the note to flip chart size and he then mailed it to the client in a tube. Needless to say, this creative approach made a "big" impression on them.

One sales vice president from New Jersey had to give a presentation about his company to a group of 23 important doctors visiting from Europe. Instead of using traditional visual aids such as overheads or electronic slides, he asked his group's graphic artist to enlarge a photo of the company headquarters to six feet in height. He then mounted it on thick plastic core board and attached eight windows on tiny hinges to create a three-dimensional effect. At the top of the model building, he posted a sign that read, "Our Windows of Innovation."

Each time the sales executive made a key point, he opened a window to disclose and discuss brief information about new drugs or research and development. This theatrical and compelling visual aid helped create a lasting positive memory with the audience. It also made a potentially dull presentation cutting-edge creative.

Another highly enterprising and hard-working rep from Atlanta made excellent use of his computer to create personalized newsletters, announcements, certificates, thank-you letters and note cards for his customers. Moreover, he produced a quarterly four-page newsletter (11" x 17" paper, folded in half) In his simple, but professional-looking newsletter, he included interesting medically related quotations, entertaining stories and tips he researched on better ways to run an office and deal with all types of patients.

Used in smart ways, creative selling with digital technology can help you stand out from the crowd, make your information more lively and help you make a positive, lasting impression. Walt Disney once said, "It's fun to do the impossible." With today's advanced and easy-to-use computer hardware, software and accessories, the "impossible" in selling gets more and more possible every day. PR

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