The upbeat rep

April 1, 2005
Cesar Guerra

Cesar Guerra is a district manager with Wilmington, DE-based AstraZeneca LP. He has been in the pharmaceutical industry for 10 years and has experience in pharma sales, hospital sales and training. He can be contacted at cesar.guerra@astrazeneca.com.

Pharmaceutical Representative

Thinking and acting positively in a negative environment.

With the onslaught of negative media coverage about the pharmaceuticalindustry, increased pressure for the sales organization to remainprofitable with decreasing margins, shrinking access to key customersand the looming specter of Michael Moore's next controversialdocumentary, many reps are not sleeping so well these days. How is arep to remain productive, positive and upbeat in a negative environment?

In good spirits

Here are a few simple ideas you can use to stave off doubt andpessimism and cheerfully spend your days in the field.

Improve your skills. Bycontinuing to work on your sales skills and bringing value to yourcustomer, you will build a high level of confidence and exude optimismas a result. Develop the habit of practicing your product details infront of a mirror before you leave your house. Practice incorporatingkey facts, figures and benefits into ordinary conversations witheveryone you come in contact with.

Maintain a positive attitude with yourco-workers. Collectively, you and your team need to decide notto engage in negative talk or disseminate unpleasant news. If there isa negative article about the industry in the newspaper, be conscious ofit but don't dwell on it. In fact, you can turn the news into a goodthing by actively deciding that you now have even more reason to be infront of your customer with the true facts as they relate to yourproduct.

Use the Internet for good. Donot send negative e-mails throughout your company or visit negative orinappropriate Internet sites. This is certainly not a good way tomaintain a positive attitude among your co-workers. Individually and inteams, you have the power of positive influence. Try occasionallysending along a motivational quote or story instead of a negativearticle. A quick Web search will yield many motivational sites!

Develop habits that will help you stayfocused on the positive. Build in some time during the day tofocus on yourself. Spend time thinking about actions you can take thatwill help you build your business, improve your relationships and boostyour morale. Instead of beating yourself up about a mistake, remindyourself that your awareness of the mistake demonstrates yourintelligence and that you will take the appropriate actions to correctthe mistake in the future.

Accept responsibility. It isrefreshing to discuss business problems when individuals are courageousenough to accept responsibility for their mistakes. In today's businessclimate, tension builds up, teammates run for cover and animosity growsexponentially because of the blame game. Customers and peers will morereadily accept your point of view and business decisions on productsand territory matters when you avoid playing the blame game.

Exercise. Start in smallincrements if you do not exercise at all currently. Carve out 15minutes a day to do calisthenics, yoga or aerobics, or to meditate orgo for a walk. It is a habit that will help you rest better, think moresharply and lower your blood pressure. Plus, exercise provides anopportunity to enjoy a few moments of positive solitude.

Read motivational books or listen totapes and music you love. Schedule some time to read magazines,stories or books or to listen to tapes that will sharpen your mind --not dull your senses. Listen to upbeat, inspirational music that willget you going and put pep in your step. Talk radio can be informative;however, it can also make you angry or put you in a bad mood.

Have fun. Think of ways to makeyour work fun. Have contests with yourself that will drive you to domore of the things that increase your productivity. For example,challenge yourself to see if you can make a set number of pharmacycalls per week. Have a fun contest with one of your counterparts. Theloser buys dinner for the winner!

Staying positive, cheerful and optimistic is difficult. But by buildinga consistent approach to defeat the negativity around us, we all win.Your power of influence can be positive and productive -- make it soand you will be unbeatable!

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