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How many sales calls are you required to make each day?

In the pharmaceutical sales field the more time you spend in front of physicians or healthcare professionals, the more successful you will be. Most successful pharmaceutical reps make a minimum of 10 calls per day. Some will make considerably more.

There is a direct correlation between the number of physicians a pharmaceutical rep will see and their effectiveness, so it is important for a rep to learn your territory well and make lots of calls.

Some pharmaceutical companies want you to make a minimum of twelve calls per day. Some employers want a minimum of eight calls per day. Your Sales Manager will articulate her minimum call-activity expectations in a very clear manner.

The longer you are in the territory, the easier it becomes to make lots of calls. If the receptionists and other gate-keepers like you, they get you in to see the physician quickly.

You can count giving lots of company branded goodies such as pens, hand lotion and other door-openers to fortify your relationship with the gate-keepers.

What is the hardest thing about being a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep?

It is important to have lots of patience. Most Pharmaceutical Reps will spend time in waiting rooms, waiting to see a physician. Also, every once-in-a-while, you run into a secretary, receptionist, or some other gate-keeper that is less than polite. Sometimes, the gate-keepers will have attitudes but that typically is a personality issue with that individual. However, the positive aspects of the job far outweigh its negative aspects.

You have to also remember that there is a lot of ego- massaging in this job. Healthcare professionals and physicians work in a fast-paced, high pressure environment. Another thing that Pharmaceutical Reps have to deal with is the volume of paperwork that they get. Some sales managers are highly detail oriented and ask their reps to submit several reports, analyses, spread sheets, action plans, weekly synopses, surveys, etc.

Some people have a hard time following orders they disagree with. But your manager will not ask you to do anything that is inappropriate. If your manager asks for a spread sheet 5 times a week, that's what you have to do. Don't argue with your manager - you will never win.

You need to be totally subservient to your manager. If your manager tells you to jump you say "how high". Your manager is your manager because she is smart and experienced.

Please keep in mind that you spend a lot of time in waiting rooms, waiting to see the doctor. Instead of reading magazines or playing with your phone in the waiting room, a smart rep uses this downtime to get a jump on her paperwork.

What is a contract sales company?

A contract sales company, is an organization that hires and then leases employees to a drug company. The drug companies "lease" the pharmaceutical sales representatives for a contracted period of time, usually 2 - 5 years. They work along-side the sales reps of the drug company that has them under contract.

Pharmaceutical companies contract pharmaceutical sales representatives to provide extra noise level for their products. Their benefit and bonus structure can differ from their associates who work for the drug company. But typically pharmaceutical reps who work for contract sales companies do very well and make well into the 6 figures.

Many times contract reps work reduced hours or flex-time. Sometimes contract reps get a car allowance rather than a company car. A car allowance allows you to lease the car of your choice. A car allowance is paid on a fee-per-mile basis or a flat monthly stipend.

Working flex-time has its advantages. It can be a very nice arrangement for a custodial parent or some other care-giver. Many full-time female reps choose to go into contract sales while they raise their kids.

Many contract-sales representatives make the transition into full time sales during or when their contract ends. If you turn out to be a good worker, when your contract ends, there is a good chance that you may be hired by the company that you were associated with.

What If I have more than one job offer. How do I decide?

Talented sales people are in short supply and especially ones who have pharmaceutical industry knowledge and training. The most important factor you should consider is the chemistry between you and your potential manager. You will work very closely with your Sales Manager. If the manager acts unprofessional during interview process, they will probably be really difficult when you're working for them as well.

You should also ask yourself what your goals and aspirations are. For example, if you are in a hurry to get into Sales Management, you might want to go with a smaller company.

Maybe you want to go to work for a company that offers stock options. If you're a risk-taker who is willing to sacrifice job security for stock options, you may want to work for a biotech company. Maybe you want to go with a company that starts you off with four weeks of vacation from day one.

It is important to emphasize that you shouldn't just limit your wish list to one or two companies that are household names. Other companies that don't have the same level of name recognition are also great companies to work for with excellent opportunities and compensation.

When the economy does a downturn, what is the job market like for pharmaceutical sales reps?

Twenty years ago there were 25,000 Pharmaceutical Sales Reps in the U.S. Now there are about 90,000. Any product manager or industry analyst will tell you that Pharmaceutical Sales Reps making face-to-face sales calls are an effective way of moving market share. That is the only reason why there are so many reps out there.

In addition, a recent trend is that European and Japanese companies building their own sales forces in the USA because their profit margins are higher when they sell their own stuff. They are no longer satisfied licensing out their products to American companies. This means that more Pharmaceutical Sales Reps are being hired.

Should I accept a contract sales position if my true goal is to work directly for one of the large pharmaceutical companies?

That's a matter of personal choice. Pharmaceutical Sales contract reps are highly regarded, and their pay and prestige level is typically the same as other non-contract reps. Working as a contract rep could be a great transition into your job of choice.

Contract reps that are good workers have the perfect opportunity to network their way into their dream-job. They can wait and choose the perfect territory rather than grab the first opening that comes up like you and me.

The contract companies are an integral part of the industry. Most new product launches employ contract reps for added share of voice. Most pharmaceutical sales reps end up really liking contract sales and choose it as a career. You can rise through the ranks in a contract company just like you do in a research driven pharmaceutical company.

If I am hired, and I have poor sales, will I be fired?

Not typically. They will give you a year or two. If your sales suffer for two years in a row, then there could be an issue. If you are a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep veteran making good money you will be held to a higher standard and will be more scrutinized. But do not worry because if you are smart and you work hard, your sales will be good.

It's almost a guarantee - the harder you work, the better your sales will be. If your sales are weak, it's more likely that you Sales Manager management will come to you and ask if they can help you. Maybe you need more training other than the general entry level certification programs, or your heart is not in the job.

It is typically difficult to get fired from a pharmaceutical company. You can be fired for dishonesty such as embezzling company funds, falsifying reports, or violating company policies like playing golf when you are supposed to be working.

Most of the time people get fired for doing stupid things such as putting company gas into their boat or off-roader, taking competitor's pills out of the sample bins and throwing them in the trash, getting intoxicated at meetings, posting back stabbing comments on message boards, etc.

Getting a DWI is also a very good way of getting canned. Give your company an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, don't use your expense account as a way to supplement your income, treat your customers and associates with courtesy and respect and you will be in good shape.