“Big Pharm” Does Good
One of my most profound experiences—professionally, anyway—occurred about ten years ago while visiting my doctor. Doc was standing with his back to me, entranced in whatever it was he was fiddling with, not saying a word, when I said to him, “I guess having all those pharmaceutical reps running around here all the time gets pretty irritating, huh?” It was more small talk than visiting—an attempt to break the silence. I certainly didn’t expect my question to solicit the response it did. Doc stopped what he was doing, turned, and said, “Actually, no, it’s not irritating at all—I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
“Say what?” I thought. “Did I hear you correctly, Doc?”
“I swear I’ve gotten dumber every day since the day I graduated from medical school, Will. I wouldn’t know what the heck was going on if it weren’t for the drug reps.”
Needless to say, I was surprised by his response. He went on to explain that he’s so busy messing with insurance companies, paperwork, billing, seeing as many patients as possible and, oh yeah, being the CEO of his medical practice, which includes the same HR/people issues that all managers must contend with, that he doesn’t have time to keep up with the latest techniques, procedures and clinical trials. He relies on pharmaceutical reps to keep him informed.
Not coincidentally, the reps that keep him best informed are the reps for whose products he writes the most scripts. And that’s when it all came together for me: teaching is selling, and selling is teaching. If you’d like to get your tellers selling, get them teaching.