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Deliver a pharmaceutical "power lunch"


Pharmaceutical Representative

Once you mast the details behind lunch and learns you can smoothly deliver the most successful sales program available.

You already know the immeasurable value of combined excellent food and fresh thought. You have ordered your share of office lunches and thereby bought some focused time for informed conversation with key physicians. Further, you have hosted interesting national experts who have come to town for evening speakers' programs.

"Lunch and Learns" blend the best features of both of these information delivery systems. A good meal, in your key physician's office with an affable and interesting physician speaker provides, without doubt, one of the most powerful selling tools available.

But lunch and learns aren't as simple as they seem. The lunch and learn process may look casual and spontaneous, but to do it well you have to do your homework and master several sets of details. The good news: Once you master the details you can smoothly deliver the most successful sales program available. The bad news: because you are managing these events on their turf and their time, you and your speaker must arrive polished and carefully prepared.

Peer advocacy

The benefits of using a local speaker/ expert as your personalized, peer-to-peer lunch consultant accrue to both your key physicians and to your speaker. By developing effective peer advocacy specialists, your speaker will realize several beneficial outcomes.

Your peer specialist:

•Â Will become more informed about the use of your product.

•Â Will likely increase the use of your product.

•Â Will likely feel more comfortable advocating its use as they use more of your product.

•Â Will see their practice grow from referrals from the offices they visit.

Your key physicians:

•Â Will use more of your product and improve their understanding of additional patient care issues as they grow through the personalized mentoring process.

•Â Will appreciate your providing the opportunity to speak to informed members of the medical community, thereby setting the stage for more consideration with your time on later calls.

•Â Will find an improvement in their fund of knowledge without having to go to an evening meeting and spend more time away from their families.

•Â Will appreciate the personalized attention to their specific needs.

Remember this one important fact: both your speaker and your key physicians are customers. Keep the business aspect of your mission clearly in mind. Difficulties that arise with the delivery process are more easily resolved if you remain mindful of a business structure and business protocol, rather than permitting assumptions to develop with either set of physicians.

If your speaker has never done lunch and learns, take plenty of time to bring them into an awareness of the objectives and the methods. The secret to the exchange of information resides in their delivery of clear, useful clinical observations, testimonials and practical recommendations.

When choosing a speaker, remain mindful of specific qualifications, and select speakers with as many of the following attributes as possible:

• Experience, knowledge and practical clinical insights.

• Teaching or lecturing experience and an enjoyment of the process.

• Affability and unpretentiousness.

• An ability to adjust comfortably to the variety of agenda difficulties found in many offices.

• A willingness to deliver a five-, 10- or 20- to 30-minute presentation extemporaneously, depending on the requirements of a given office moment.

• Sufficient depth of applied pharmacological understanding to discuss their experience with scientific credibility.

•Â Ability to work with you, accept your feedback and make an effort to communicate according to your basic parameters.

•Â Comfort advocating the use of your product.

•Â A willingness to speak as an advocate and not spend the majority of time speaking favorably about other products.

•Â An understanding that if they can't reasonably advocate for your product, it would be inappropriate for them to serve as a speaker.

While meeting every one of these characteristics may not be possible, these criteria do serve as a guide to the most important qualifications.

Prepare the office

Of all the details you must master to provide excellent lunch and learns, office preparation for your speaker's arrival is without exception the most important objective. The preparation process for lunch and learns should continue from the first inquiry regarding the needs of the office to the moment you begin your introduction for the speaker.

There are several ways you can add value to your lunch and learn:

•Â Highlight the speaking ability and expertise of you speaker.

•Â Reassure the office that your speaker will bring information, and won't be relying on the office to carry the meeting.

•Â Identify their needs and confirm that your speaker can address those specific issues.

•Â Underline your speaker's academic or speaking credentials and years of experience. Encapsulate the meeting as an opportunity for private consultation with an experienced specialist.

•Â Affirm that your speaker will be happy to answer their specific questions regarding diagnosis, treatment or drug-drug interactions.

Setting the agenda

For the most efficient and workable agenda, strive to accomplish this schedule:

1. Food arrives 20 minutes early.

2. You quickly set it out, and staff starts to trickle in for their lunch.

3. As staff moves to completion with lunch your physicians come in – preferably collectively.

4. Briefly introduce your speaker with the aforementioned highlights of why you have suggested this meeting.

5. Your speaker presents a 15- to 20-minute presentation on key clinical insights and pearls regarding the informed use of your product.

6. Your speaker, mindful of the time, opens the floor for a question and answer session.

Dos and don'ts

A lunch and learn will go very smoothly if you remember to follow a few simple dos and don'ts.


•Â Always fax careful office directions to your speaker two days in advance. Add specific objectives for the physicians in that office. With a clear objective and good directions your speaker will arrive with a structure that will ultimately contribute to a positive outcome. Include contact numbers: your cell phone and the office number, and expected times of arrival and departure.

•Â At the office, repeat several times before the meeting, and even post a notice if it is acceptable, that your speaker will make a very brief presentation. Tactful reminders of any kind are helpful. Call it a "brief meeting," not a lunch. Efforts in this regard may more likely ensure a more collective arrival of your key physicians.

•Â Ask your speaker to prepare a one-page outline to highlight their remarks.

•Â This outline may highlight some of the issues that may not fit into the time slot, and may contain contact info for your speaker.

•Â After you have made the introduction, remain quiet throughout unless called upon.

•Â Remember to facilitate questions asked previously on other calls that may not have come up during this Q&A.

•Â Follow up with your speaker by phone or note regarding the presentation.


•Â Take the opportunity to show literature during the presentation.

•Â Discuss the meeting with the speaker on or near the premises after the meeting.

•Â Talk to the staff or have side conversations during the presentation.

•Â Eat during the presentation, and suggest beforehand that your speaker also eat before or after the presentation.

•Â Share your frustrations, fears or problems with the speaker regarding the office he will be speaking at - to do so will change the focus of the meeting and add an unnecessary burden to the speaker's presentation.

Closing the meeting

At the close of the presentation, and upon the completion of the Q&A, you will add polish if you informally thank your speaker, and thank your office physicians as well. Besides demonstrating good manners, it reminds the group that you hosted the meeting and that you appreciate each person's effort to make the meeting successful.

Lunch and learns provide an interesting opportunity to build relationships and customize your product message for the needs of highly targeted physicians. If you make the meeting unforgettable, you'll be rewarded for your efforts on many levels. PR

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