Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Notes from the Frat Boy Pharmaceutical Rep Circuit

'The importance of food in pharmaceutical sales cannot be overstated. The way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, but the way to a doctor's heart went straight through his office staff's collective stomach. Whether morning (cinnamon rolls, Danish, bagles, doughnuts) or afternoon (candy, cake, ice cream) medical office personnel ate as if winter hibernation was two days away and they had gotten a late start. Drug reps did everything they could to aid their cause. Some offices grew so accustomed to receiving free goodies they refused entry to reps arriving empty-handed, prompting salespeople to establish an identity by bringing the same treat every time. One colleague from my training class handed out Blow Pops to every medical employee he saw, while another gave out cookies decorated with purple "Zithromax" strips. Branding oneself was not limited to Pfizer personnel, however; my arch-nemesis the Biaxin guy baked cookes for all his pediatric offices. As much as I hate to admit, it, homemade treats from a man in his mid-40s proved to be a formidable obstacle to my efforts to buy the love of those women. Cattily, I'd tell nurses 'no matter how yummy they are, those cookies can't get rid of Biaxin's metallic taste.' My research found chocolate to be the best motivator for female office staff members. Consequently, I became the M&M's Guy.'
--from "Hard Sell--The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman," a not uninteresting roman a clef by the self-described #1 Pfizer sales rep, a boorish Notre Dame grad who, with a frat boy's arrogance, recounts how he gamed the system and outsmarted everyone during his tenure there. The yucks continue on the back cover: "Transitioning to a literary career, he fears he will have fewer opportunities for naps as a writer than he did as a drug rep."


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