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K.C. Warner is a market impact specialist who works with pharmaceutical sales training departments to increase market share and management performance. She can be reached at Warner Development at (800) 845-6108 or via e-mail at KCWarner@ WarnerDevelopment.com.
How to improve on your hard-earned experience.
You are on your way! You are becoming a high achiever by defining, planning and reinforcing your future. You are moving forward in your pharmaceutical sales career by defining your values, and you have used values-driven goals to plan for your definition of success.
Your next important step is to reinforce your future so that you can sustain your early successes. In order to do that in pharmaceutical sales, you must make short-term and long-term commitments, discover professional development, find a coach, look for successes and surround yourself with greatness.
Make short-term and long-term commitments. You have had early success. Congratulations! Now make a commitment to yourself to master the goals you have listed.
Mastery takes diligence. Sometimes you are so busy that you become easily distracted from your plans and begin to turn your attention elsewhere. When this happens, revisit your core values and the plans you listed earlier. Plot them out on project software, such as MS Project, just like you would for a territory project. This project is just as important, or maybe even more important: This project is your career.
Discover professional development. Be proactive about your professional development as it relates to your goals. What do you need to be able to do things differently and surpass your goals? Do you need to improve your group facilitation, visioning or coaching skills? Take the time to improve now. During the first 18 months of your career in pharmaceutical sales, you were probably diligent about improving your selling skills. Then, after months of success, you may have let your professional growth go stale. Your opportunities for success will climb if you continue to push yourself to learn as much as you did when you were just beginning in your territory. Experts have called this "continuous lifelong learning." I call it quick market impact, because, as you enhance your skills professionally, you are better able to respond to rapidly changing marketplace conditions. When you improve your leadership and selling skills, you make a quick market impact, as well as a quick professional impact.
Find a coach. This is not necessarily a mentor or a sales manager, although these are both highly valuable resources. A coach is someone who may or may not be in the pharmaceutical business. This is a person who knows you well and can counsel you on things professional and personal. They know your values, your goals and your strengths, and they are available to help you reach your potential.
Look for successes. Find them. You know you have them; however, sometimes you might forget what they look like. You need to continue to remind yourself of what you do well. You may tend to spend too much time focusing on what you have done wrong and the mistakes you have made. Doing this only reinforces the mistake and doesn't allow you to focus on improving what you already do so well. I recommend starting a "success file," in which you can collect and record your successes, both professional and personal. Just write a few words to yourself on a piece of paper and place it in the file. Then, the next time you need a lift, go to the file. You will be reminded of your skills in which you excel. You will be reminded that you are a successful professional who is moving toward inventing your future.
Surround yourself with greatness. You are around greatness everyday, but sometimes you may miss it. Some people are mediocre in their approach to life and their careers. Others see every day as an opportunity to make great things happen, continually strive for excellence and believe that they are here to impact others. You know who they are.
When you think of great people, do you think of famous people like Martin Luther King, Jr., someone in your family, like your mother or someone on your selling team? These people think and believe and strive for greatness, just like you do. These are the people from whom you can draw extra strength when you are having a bad day. These are people who believe in you and your abilities.
Life is too short for you to waste your time with people who are always complaining, cutting corners and looking for others to take advantage of them. Don't do it. Don't waste your precious time and energy. You know what you believe and where you are headed. Stay the course and surround yourself with greatness - great people. You are the one who can define, plan and reinforce your future in pharmaceutical sales. It is your choice. Only you can make the commitment to reinforce your values-driven future. Reinforce it to make it happen. PR