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Personal Qualities That Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Should Have

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The pharmaceutical industry is a huge business arena. People always need medications to prevent or combat mental and physical health conditions and diseases. Manufacturers and distributors of drugs rely heavily on accomplished sales reps to establish accounts and maintain relationships with medical practitioners. While sales reps across all fields share some common traits, pharma reps need distinct traits.

Professional Attitude

While professionalism is integral in many sales fields, pharma reps need an especially strong professional attitude. Pharmaceuticals is a huge industry with many billion-dollar companies. Projecting a professional image is important to maintain a positive reputation. Additionally, pharmaceutical sales reps spend significant time meeting with doctors and other medical professionals who won't give a rep the time of day if he doesn't dress professionally and act with proper business etiquette.

Goal Oriented and Ambitious

Pharma sales is a highly competitive, cutthroat environment. Companies can't afford reps who don't meet quotas or keep up with peers and reps from competing companies. Being goal oriented and ambitious drives reps toward success and helps them overcome obstacles. A goal-oriented sales agent is more likely to operate efficiently, manage her time and assert herself at the close. Additionally, competitive reps don't stop at the first "no." They continue to overcome objections and use persuasive language.

Self-Motivated and Accountable

Selling in pharmaceuticals means a significant amount of travel. Thus, the rep works independently and without much oversight from a manager. Self-motivation is vital to set appointments, go on the road and avoid wasting time. Getting to see doctors is often difficult. Pharmaceutical reps must aggressively call to get an appointment and often wait to actually get into the office. If an order is incorrect or a client is unhappy, the rep holds much of the accountability to correct the problem.

Positive Outlook

Selling can beat you up in any industry. Because of its competitiveness and pressure, pharma sales is certainly not a field for the weak at heart. You need an overall positive outlook to work through the hard days and to deal with hearing "no" multiple times on a daily basis. A positive attitude is also essential to developing and maintaining relationships with medical professionals, receptionists and other staff members.


Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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