Rep finds ways to get personal

November 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

For John Lumley, who is in his 11th year as a sales rep in Johnstown, PA, for Janssen Pharmaceutica, working in a small town is challenging, but lends a valuable perspective on the personal aspects of selling. Without access to the events and programs available in metropolitan areas, he has learned to watch for unique opportunities to make contact with his physicians and take the time to get to know them as individuals.

For John Lumley, who is in his 11th year as a sales rep in Johnstown, PA, for Janssen Pharmaceutica, working in a small town is challenging, but lends a valuable perspective on the personal aspects of selling. Without access to the events and programs available in metropolitan areas, he has learned to watch for unique opportunities to make contact with his physicians and take the time to get to know them as individuals.

As Lumley pointed out, "access is tough wherever you go, whether it's a big town or a small town." So he goes beyond the typical tactics for gaining no-see doctors' attention and makes special efforts to interact with them in places outside the waiting room, like local hospitals' picnics. He even helped one physician's staff paint their office, and another's move to a new location, with laudable results. He now enjoys "incredible access" at those offices.

Once a social worker, Lumley has experience catering to a variety of people, and molds his selling techniques to doctors' personalities and moods. Sometimes that means stepping back in the short term if a physician isn't receptive. "You should be able to read them and say, this is not a day that I pull out the brochure, give a whole presentation and close them. I'll show up tomorrow." Over time, this approach has allowed him to build a rapport with his physicians. One doctor recently took him out for nine holes of golf, a beer and a sandwich, which Lumley takes as a sign of long-term success. "I look at it as a marathon, not a sprint."

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