In the pharma industry, there are three main ways of getting our message across. First is the popular VISUAL AID DETAILING. One must necessarily know the text (knowledge), use a pointer, handle the visual aid correctly, use good voice modulation and detail with confidence (ensuring adequate eye contact). However, sometimes in clinical situations, it is not possible to detail with visual aid. Either the doctor is in a hurry or is surrounded by patients. This is where EXTEMPORE DETAILING AND DIALOGUE DETAILING comes in to play. In the former, one must know the product profile points and some important salient benefits by heart. With out a visual aid, the MR makes his interesting sales pitch and gets his message across. In the case of dialogue detailing, the MR engages the doctor in a conversation, puts questions across and tactfully puts product benefits across; thus, wins over customers with effective message transmission.
SELLING IS VERY MUCH A GAME OF CONFIDENCE. The MR gives confidence to the doctor on his products. This confidence in the doctor on the product translates in to prescriptions. And thus, in to sales for the MR. In the game of confidence, a crucial aspect of communication (ie the process of sending message(s) across to the recipient(s)) is BODY LANGUAGE. An important component of the body language is ACTIVE LISTENING. The appearance, dress, gestures, body movements with confidence, eye contact and ability to listen; all play a key role in building confidence and thus generating prescriptions.
Getting the doctor to listen to your message and convincing is an artful experience. The success of your call depends on the barriers to your communication. The most important barrier is defensiveness. The doctor may think you are just a salesman with glib talk out to manipulate him or your detailing may make him look inadequate. Another barrier is the tendency to evaluate or judge rather than listen to you. A very important third barrier is preoccupation (the mind of the doctor is more with his patients or preparation of the OT) rather than being with you. This is why many doctors have a separate time for MRs to visit. There is a famous case study at Alembic: a doctor was just not getting Althrocin in to his pen habit despite regular calls by the MR. Once, it so happened, the doctor was on his way to the urinals and he met the MR on the way. The MR only mentioned ALTHROCIN. While micturating, the mind is usually relaxed. And during this relaxed and free moment the work Althrocin played on the doctor’s mind. Althrocin had entered in to the prescribing habit. This was because the doctor’s mind was not preoccupied. In fact it is routine procedure for Pfizer MRs to make doctor calls when the target doctor is not preoccupied with other things.
Other barriers to successful communication include, language, memory failure and emotional reactions. For instance, the doctor emotionally reacts during conversation with the MR on a delicate issue; this makes message reception ineffective. Assumptions and prejudices too play a role in message transfer. For example, a doctor may think herbal products and nutritionals are unnecessary or placebos. Or the doctor may feel only top Indian companies and MNCs produce quality products. Hence, it is important for the MR to discover the prejudice or assumption in the mind of the doctor and tackle it before making the actual product sales pitch.