On-job fearlessness: a necessity
The most important quality among sales personnel is fearlessness. A pharmaceutical Medical Representative (MR) has to knock on clinic doors of the most qualified medical personnel. It can be intimidating! Yet the MR has to do it with elan, smile, authority, confidence (fearlessness) and tactfully. Getting the message across to prospects and committed doctors, who are sophisticated, highly qualified, wealthy, intelligent, dedicated to superordinate goals … is a challenging task, the essential requirement for this job - being confidence (fearlessness).
People work due to various motivations, an entire body of literature is available on this issue, most popular being the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is safe to surmise that people work constantly to be in a state of perceived security (absence of fear of loss or absence of need).
In any case, day-to-day working takes place due to several factors including:
e) Need for subsistence and meeting family requirements (including children’s education)
f) Desire for high level experiences (eg., luxuries etc)
g) Emotional bonding with co-workers or with the institution (where work is being performed)
h) Work ethic: where work opportunity itself is seen as a reward rather than being an instrument for meeting one’s material and other needs
i) Work as an engagement for joy, keeping oneself from boredom and ensuring mental well-being (psychosomatic health), for many being away from productive work contributes to negative thoughts, depression and lack of self-worth (loss of self-love)
j) Need to be secure and comfortable in present and future time
k) Superordinate goals or higher ideals (eg., workers in NGOs)
Yet the most important quality for performing any job is fearlessness (a response behavior characterized by confidence). On-job fearlessness has many benefits:
a) On-job fearlessness is not being a contrarian, anarchist, Mr. Blunt, irreverent or an upstart … it means being comfortable with oneself and others, ensuring effective on-job communication and transactions
b) On-job fearlessness is infectious and positive: healthy confidence makes others confident. In sales personnel, on-job confidence, gives an appeal to the salesman’s persona. It makes the prospects and doctors comfortable - their confidence level too gets a boost.
c) On-job confidence (absence of fear) is required for success: fortunes favour the bold! A courageous salesperson will create confidence in prospects and customers about his or her product. This confidence in the customer or prospect creates the prescribing decision in doctors, or purchase decision in customers. Generating confidence in customers and influencers like doctors, is the key for success events
d) On-job confidence creates a base for adaptability: Learning from experiences is a key to career growth and ability to contribute. On-job confidence gives a person the drive for learning and apply them in situations, including critical ones, such as during crisis management
e) On-job confidence is a morale booster: being confident in the work-spot means having presence of mind and even-mindedness in the face of risks, uncertainties and volatilities
In day-to-day activities, experience of fear and greed are commonplace happenings. The intensity of these emotions varies, which depends on the person’s psychological profile and actual circumstance.
Ability to manage these emotions, unlocks opportunities. A MR may get intimidated with a doctor’s in-clinic intellectual aggressiveness and authoritarian bearing. The MR may cower down and avoid such doctors – settling to meet less – intimidating (but less business potential) doctors. Hence, the MR’s fear has created loss of opportunity in this scenario.
If a doctor is intimidating, one can ‘fight or flee’. Another approach is getting a grip on these emotions and participating in the transactions to ensure win-win relationship. This comes through training and knowledge (wisdom and experience). Hence, it is said by Rabindranath Tagore: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high … where knowledge is free…
Lack of confidence, also hampers doctor-call efficiency and effectiveness of a MR. A less-confident MR will likely make a postman-call, with very minimal impact. A confident MR or executive will have more elan.
Fear and greed are facts of life! They are key emotions to help us understand the situation. However, using one’s reasoning, patience and imagination, one can control the response behavior to replace fear with cautious confidence, and greed with tempered desire, so that various achievements can be notched up in a balanced way.
Confidence is not being flamboyant … such sales-personnel are often hollow, covering their inner fears with a cloak of aggressive flamboyancy.
The pharmaceutical industry is an ocean of opportunity for confident participants. People who know how to manage their fears are exploiting the market opportunities. In post-independent India, over the 60 plus years, many pharma personnel and institutions have gathered experience, learning, knowledge and hence fearlessness, it is translating into major growth for pharma organizations. The Rs. 88,110 crores Indian pharmaceutical industry is having a MAT growth 14.1%. Welcome to confidence, welcome to opportunity … here is the Indian pharmaceutical industry.