PharmaSell – the challenges of selling in the pharma industry

  • Selling to the Pharmaceutical industry differs in many key aspects to the traditional sales role. This has an impact on the spread and priority of focus areas, and the flavour and tone of the training. Briefly, Pharma reps do not sell – they consult, advise, direct, plan, listen, and do all the things sellers do, but they do not take an order or close a deal. If anything, the relationship, the long-term feeling is even more important in this environment than in the typical sales arena, not to mention the product knowledge and medical acumen that comes with it.

    • Reps are not reps – they are “consultants” who do not take orders. (If they DO take orders, it all gets a bit easier!).

    • It is difficult to measure effectively the amount of business a pharma consultant does – as there is no order book with which to track it.

    • The “sell” is also different. In the traditional sell, the seller solves a specific problem experienced by the buyer. In the pharma industry, the “problem” is much easier to define, as it is a medical condition, but the “buyer” is not the end user. Finding reasons that are strong enough for the buyer to decide in favour of a particular product is much more difficult.

    • The subject area is much more sensitive than a traditional sales environment. It calls for diplomacy, tact, feeling, empathy and sensitivity, while remaining clear, unemotional and focussed on the business. The relationship, always the key factor in a sales relationship, is even more important.

    • The role of the seller as a consultant means that the sellers need to firstly change the self-image of themselves, and then the perception of their customers, and this is sometimes a very difficult task.

    • From the management perspective, it is important to know that sellers are actively asking for the business at the end of a call, and this is also difficult to do in an environment where there are no orders to be taken.

PharmaSell – the parallels to “selling as usual”, and the workshop objectives

  • The key skill is still asking questions:

    • To understand your customer

    • To build and maintain strong relationships

    • To identify pain and problem areas

    • To uncover needs and areas where the seller may be able to offer advice, or solutions


  • Behind every sale is a process, a set of steps that is initiated by the customer. This process is always the same, whether for commodity sales or large solution sales, and all sellers benefit greatly from understand the process by which the customer buys, as it allows them to align their activities in line with their customer’s.

  • Relationship is the most important factor. Understanding the way your customers think, the way they do business, their personality, their negotiating style, their preferences of the way they communicate.

  • Planning, dialogue and making calls as the main roles of the seller. This programme brings these 3 elements together in a logical, easy to learn from model to enable sellers to deal with their customers and their companies in more effective, more productive fashion.

Programme Focus Areas

Acquiring New Business

Defining Business Needs

Handling Objections


Getting Commitment

Listening Effectively

The VALUE Proposition

Finding Decision Makers

Questioning Techniques

Common Language

Cross Selling

Ask For the Business

Sales Aids

During the workshop we explore a number of key sales aids. These are ‘take-a-ways’ to be used directly as they are delivered, or changed and adapted to suit personal style. The methodology that underlies these sales aids also reflects the different stages in the sales cycle.

Sales Aid


Short description


Business Process Template

Understand your customer

  • Create solid foundation for future business

  • Identify areas where your products can help

  • Disengage early

  • Keep and maintain the relationship

  • Create intellectual capital for other situations and sellers

  • Prove competence in the eyes of the customer





Cold Call dialogues

Reference stories

Value Statements

Create interest and generate curiosity

  • Plan calls more effectively

  • Create intellectual capital for other situations

  • Present your company as thought leader and a company that is really interested in the business success of their customers

  • Begin the ROI relationship – gain access to finance officers

  • Sell to the lines of business





Evaluation Plan

Consulting cycle

Control the sales process

  • Document and plan effectively

  • Share professional documentation with your customers

  • Use as internal tool for discussing clients with management

  • Transfer the responsibility of the sale to the customer

  • Turn a sales relationship into a consulting relationship






Question asking techniques

  • Create buying vision

  • Re-engineer existing vision and take business away from competition

  • Increase quality of sales calls






Target Groups

  • Sales representatives

  • Individuals who face customers or who serve and support sales teams

  • Managers who coach sales individuals

  • Human Resource / Personnel staff who develop the sales environment.

  • Customer service representatives


Program Language

  • English


  • Tim Birdsall & Tzvetanka Krasteva


3 days


?? flat rate for the seminar. This fee includes all materials, pre work and post work modules, and 1 copy of the Insights Discovery report for evaluation purposes. 12 Participants.