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Qualities of a Medical Representative

Medical representatives, also known as medical or pharmaceutical sales representatives, market products for medical supply and pharmaceutical companies. They travel to hospitals, clinics, doctors' office and other health care facilities to distribute information about their company's products and convince health care professionals to use and prescribe their companies' medications and supplies. Medical representatives must make many cold calls to doctors who are not always willing to meet with them. As a result, medical representatives should have several key qualities to establish a successful career.


Medical representatives must have strong, outgoing personalities. They must enjoy meeting new people and relate to a wide range of personality types. Medical representatives must develop strong professional relationships with doctors and other health care professionals to keep their customer base strong. Many doctors and health care workers refuse to meet with sales persons, so medical representatives must be pleasant and persuasive when dealing with prospective customers. Even doctors who are willing to take meetings usually only allow medical representatives a few moments to make their sales pitch, so they must use their personality to make the most of the time they get.


Because medical representatives must make many cold sales calls to doctors’ offices and other health care facilities, they should possess a great deal of self-confidence. They must believe that they can convince prospective customers of the quality of their products and demonstrate confidence in the products they sell. Medical representatives must also have enough self-confidence to deal with the inevitable rejection that comes with failed sales calls.


Medical representatives spend most of their time on the road, making sales calls. As a result, they often spend a great deal of time away from family and friends, so they must be able to cope with being away from loved ones. In addition, medical representatives usually work alone and are not supervised while out on the road. They must be able to work well independently and motivate themselves when it comes to finding new customers and making effective sales.

Interest in Science

Because the products they sell are medical and pharmaceutical, medical representatives should have an interest and background in science. Most medical representatives have a bachelor's degree in a science related field such as biology or chemistry. They must understand how their company's products work and be able to explain the science behind them to doctors and other health care professionals. Medical representatives must also understand scientific studies and evaluate their conclusions to determine how the information might relate to their company's products. They must be aware of developments in the medical field and how they might affect their customers' needs.


Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.