Rep embraces change

January 1, 2003

Pharmaceutical Representative

After spending 28 years as a pharmaceutical representative with Boehringer Ingelheim, Bruce Kullberg will not rest on his laurels.

After spending 28 years as a pharmaceutical representative with Ridgefield, CT-based Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., Bruce Kullberg could easily rest on his laurels. After all, he's won a place in the company's President's Club nine times, and was named Rep of the Decade, 1990 through 1999. But as Kullberg noted, it was the challenge and the opportunity to learn that initially attracted him to pharmaceutical sales, and that's what keeps him interested now. "Because it's always on the cutting edge, there are always changes, there's a lot of new information. I'm very goal-oriented, so I like to keep abreast of the latest."

During his career, Kullberg has witnessed a lot of changes in the industry – from the rise of managed care to the growing scarcity of access to caregivers – so the ability to adapt and stay current has been crucial to his success. This doesn't just mean keeping up with his products and his competitors; it means learning from everyone around him, especially his customers. Kullberg explained, "It's fun to be able to interact with physicians, nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners and learn from them each day." And he's quick to point out that a vital part of this is mastering the skill of listening. "A lot of reps want to go in there and rattle off every fact, fiction, benefit and feature they have. If you let the doctor talk, and maybe ask a probing question, it really pays off. You'll learn more and do better if you let the doctor get his thoughts out in the open."

Another secret to Kullberg's consistent success is his willingness to constantly reevaluate himself; he starts each day with a plan, and ends each day by asking himself what he could have done differently. Said Kullberg, "You've got to reflect on those times when maybe it didn't go as well as you'd like and learn from that. You can always learn something new every day, even though you think you know it all sometimes. I think that's really the key."

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