Do Pharmaceutical Reps “Phone it in” During the Holidays?

canstockphoto11651412We all know that in the world of pharmaceutical sales there are ebbs and flows.  As a representative sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days.  Sometimes your motivation is high and sometimes it is low. At times even your rankings are cyclical….there are quarters where you are moving on up and there are quarters when it seems as if there is no amount of selling skills that can keep you from falling down the rankings ladder.  But what about during the holidays season?  Are representatives selling their hearts out during the holiday season, or are the simply going through the motions, “phoning it in” so to speak?

If you live in a part of the country where snow is a possibility, maybe there is a light dusting on the ground.  The air is crisp and nipping at your nose and ears…your fancy business shoes are getting messed up so you remind yourself to wear your old sh*tty ones next time..  There is a cool chill in your bones that you simply cannot shake.  You get in your car to warm up…and you do, only to get cold again moments later you have to get out.  You just ate a ridiculous amount of food for Thanksgiving and now the Christmas spirit is in the air and all you can think about is eating more food and hanging out with family.  You walk into a crowded office and everyone has the sniffles.  You have the feeling, and you say to yourself, “I just want to go home”.

As a representative you are only human and it is natural to get wrapped up in the holiday spirit and the many festivities that go with it.  Many representatives even take vacation time around this time as they believe that there will be less physicians working and less opportunity to get in calls.  If you are a veteran of the industry you know that things just simply slow down this time of year and it is natural as a human to take a beat and slow down too.  But are you missing out on great opportunity??

While others may be “phoning it in”, going through the motions or taking time off, this could be an opportunity for you to get time with that big writer that typically will not see you or historically only gives you a short moment to converse.  Here are some ideas for making the most out of the holiday “selling” season:

Create a Centralized Holiday Hours Spreadsheet:  A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving start to ask your physicians if they are taking time off during the holiday season (and have your partners do the same). Create a centralized spreadsheet that has the abridged or limited holiday hours so that you and your partners know when physicians will actually be in during this unique time.  This spreadsheet will be your best friend from Thanksgiving till the New Year and show you all of the opportunities to get time with physicians.  It will also mitigate wasted time going to offices only to find that dreaded note on the door stating that they office will be closed till the New Year!

If you have Partners….get an Understanding of their Holiday Vacation Schedule: Many organizations still utilize some type of POD system.  If this is the case, you will likely at least have one or more partners.  If they are taking time off for the holiday season, this presents opportunity for you to take advantage of having the territory to yourself.  You always told yourself that if you had the territory alone you would “kill it”….well now is your chance. You can work outside of your normal routing (without stepping on your partners toes) to create a focused plan.  You can go where the “low hanging fruit” is and gain holiday scripts.  ***Remember to keep track of the script data if you are working alone.  This can be a great opportunity to show your boss or a hiring manager that when you had the territory to yourself….you moved business!!  This is the beauty of a sales position….it is black and white…there is no ambiguity…either scripts are moving or they are not!!

Understand the Customs and Traditions of the Physicians in your Territory:  America is a wonderful place where all are free to celebrate whatever it is they want to celebrate.  If you live in a major metropolitan city, there will be surely physicians that have different traditions than you.  For example, in the beginning of my career I worked in Brooklyn, NY.  One area that was a huge focus was Borough Park, Brooklyn, which is the epicenter of Hasidic Judaism.  This is a unique community of people that have different traditions and religious beliefs than my own.  Do your best to understand the cultural makeup of the communities that you work in and look for opportunities to connect and to understand the meaning of their specific holiday.  A holiday that has vast importance to you may not have vast importance to them and vice versa.  All the information you need is a Google search away!!  ****I do not recommend this, but when I started my career and had Borough Park Brooklyn as my territory, I often times would see a Hasidic man hitchhiking.  This was/is very common in this community as they are only going a mile or two to their local temple to pray or study, and the community is typically made up of people of like cultures.  From time to time, I would pick up a Hasidic man and drive him a few blocks to their destination, asking as many questions as possible about their community, customs and whatever else I could learn.  I would take this knowledge into physicians office and find common ground or at least show them that I have taken interest in their customs.

Anyone who has been in this industry knows that during the holiday season, many representatives “phone it in”, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are many opportunities to win during the holiday season and various tricks of the trade one can use some of which are mentioned above.