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Is there a good day not to sell?


Pharmaceutical Representative

Overcoming those bad days.

Imagine the following scene: You're in the doctor's office and it's the first day of a four-day week. The flu season is raging. Everyone is in a flurry. The doctor has a flushed face, and has just snapped at the nurse.

You're with your new manager, who is known for her driven personality. You really want to impress her. You end up in the sample closet, weighing your desire to sell and your desire to impress your manager. You begin wondering what you should do. Is this one of those days when it's better not to sell?

Let's make some assumptions about what might be going on in this office that could affect the outcome of your sales call.

First, a four-day work week to a doctor's office means that all that is scheduled in a normal, five-day work week is compressed into four days.

Second, the doctor's face is flushed. He may be angry, sick or both. He just snapped at the nurse, so the frustration level in the office is high.

Third, you are in the sample closet. Even though you have a great personality and normally have a great relationship in this office, today you are viewed as one more obligation, or worse, as one more annoyance.

With these points in mind, what are your options? Do you grasp your pitch book and forge ahead with your sales call? Your boss is waiting and management has been mentioned in the same breath as your name.

Fortunately, you have several options. Making the right one will determine the success of your call.

Sales options

Your first choice is to forge ahead with your sales call. For all you know, the assumptions you've made about the office are wrong.

Another choice is to place your samples in the closet, leave your cookies at the nurses' station and get a signature. This could also be called the "no promotion" approach when your manager is working with you.

A third and better approach, in my opinion, lies somewhere in between. Find the nurse you've befriended and ask if the doctor has a minute or two. Comment on the busy day, and ask if there is a better time to come back. Ask the nurse if your manager should wait in the waiting room. Two people waiting to talk can be intimidating to a busy physician. Better yet, request to set an appointment to ensure quality time with the doctor.

It's your call

When faced with the decision to sell or not to sell, remember that selling to a physician is a long-term process. If today is a bad day, come back next week. Set an appointment. Make assumptions about the situation but don't act on your assumptions until you ask for more information.

Remember your objective is to sell the physician. Nothing more and nothing less. It does not matter if your manager is driven; your promotion shouldn't ride on the success of one call. The choice not to sell may seem to hold the most risk, but it also holds the promise of the most reward. Don't make guesses. Ask questions, then make your decision. PR

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