I was talking with a friend of mine this week about various individuals we both know and whether they would make good drug reps or not. Some individuals had good technical backgrounds but not selling potential due to lack of communications skills. We agreed that these types of people would not be able to become drug reps. Some others had decent communications skills but didn’t have sales experience which we both agreed was okay since they could be trained.
One particular individual had great communications skills, was outgoing, had the background knowledge since she was a nurse and was due for a career change. We thought about her as a top candidate and whether we should encourage her to pursue a new career as a drug rep. But then we both realized from observing her past history, this person didn’t have tact. She always managed to get into many personal conflicts with quite a few people. She is the type that wants to do things only her way and will step on toes when communicating her position on things.
This type of person would not do well in a pharmaceutical company. Even though drug reps have a lot of freedom, they still must work under the guidelines and business plans set by the pharmaceutical company. This lady has the potential to get into battles with others in a company.
So one of the most important virtues one must have in order to be successful as a drug rep is tact. This is a characteristic that is sometimes missed by both new drug reps and their managers. The result is often termination for the drug rep who doesn’t have tact.
The book “How To Get A Dream Job In Pharmaceutical Sales – Direct Inside Advice and Guidance from a Sales Manager” does in fact cover tact and other factors which would be required in order to be compatible with a drug rep career.
We chose not to tell this individual about the possibility of becoming a drug rep.