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Evolve your sales skills


Pharmaceutical Representative

Continuing to develop throughout your career.

Is your job the same as it was when you started? Has your territory changed? Have your customers and their needs changed? Have you changed? In the midst of all this change, do you sometimes wonder where you are headed?

This article is the second in a series of three articles that outline how to invent your future in pharmaceutical sales. In the first article, we discussed how to focus your definition of success through core values. High achievers define, plan for and reinforce their future. In this article, we will outline how to plan your future with actionable steps that fit your definition of success. The next article will address how to reinforce your future to sustain success.

In the future pharmaceutical marketplace, the following will be necessary: advocacy skills, marketplace identity skills, resource allocation skills, coaching and mentoring skills, visioning skills, group impact skills, listening skills, technology skills, gaining access skills, managing customer resistance skills, demonstrating benefits skills and evaluative growth skills.

The final skill group listed includes planning for the future by developing goals and practicing the new skills. This article outlines how to do it.

Developing goals

In the first article, we used values to determine the direction we were heading. The next step is to place those values into words by setting goals. The goals that we write are our values put into action.

To get from point A to point B, from where we are today to where we want to be in the future, we have to focus. We write our goals down so that we don't get off track.

Before developing goals, determine where you are today. Then you can move to where you want to go. Too often we list the mission, vision and values on the wall of our office and then neglect them until it is time to write them again. If you asked a coworker or family member to list your core values today, what would they say? Would they list the same values that you listed? Do your actions reflect your values? Goals help your values become clear to you and others.

To write clear goals, consider one of the values you selected as your own. Define what that value would look like if you applied it to your career. Write down all the ways you think you might act out that value in your career.

Remember to write actionable items. Ask yourself, "If a colleague watched me act out this goal, would he or she be able to identify the related core value?" If the answer is no, then work on making your goal more closely attached to your value. If the answer is yes, congratulations! You are on target for writing value-centered goals.

These are the unique goals that you write and they are unique to your values. At one point or another, you have probably learned that goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. The goals that you write possess SMART characteristics and more; they are tied to your values. Goals based on your values add purpose to your activities.

Write skills to practice

One pharmaceutical representative put it this way: "These values-driven goals are a way that I have decided to work, regardless of how I feel at any given moment." I couldn't say it better. Demonstrating values through goal setting becomes a skill, not just a "feel good" exercise. It becomes a way of behaving, on good days and on not-so-good days.

One of your responsibilities is communicating your values and goals to yourself and to others. I recommend writing an overall objective, such as a motto or catchy phrase, to communicate your goals. Some of my clients have written "Philosophies of Care," "The 4 Ps of Pharmaceutical Sales," "Customer Commandments" or mottos such as "We are the Champions!" It doesn't matter how it is written as long as it is valuable to you.

Then list more specific goals that meet the "SMART, plus values" criteria. One – the overall objective – is broad. The others are specific. You need to be able to remember and practice them both to make your future come alive.

It takes commitment to define, plan and reinforce your future in pharmaceutical sales. Begin by planning it now. PR

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