For some pharmaceutical companies scripted sales presentations have become a necessity to assure compliance with Corporate Integrity Agreements. For others it is a way to ensure consistent delivery of the marketing message. And for a few, it is really intended to ensure that a professional presentation is delivered rather than leaving it to sales representatives to figure it out or just “wing it.”
I’m guessing most representatives see scripted presentations as demeaning, belittling of their competence, and unprofessional.
Let’s think about this. Do stage performers such as for Broadway shows or comedians, feel this way? Do musicians (think of your favorite singer or band) feel this way? Do great orators and professional speakers feel this way? Do even the best of news anchors feel this way? When the president or another politician delivers a speech, do they feel this way?
Hardly. So why do pharmaceutical sales representatives feel this way?
I believe there are several reasons why pharmaceutical sales representatives hate scripted sales presentations. Here are just a few:
- The scripts are poorly written and not honed to perfection through an iterative process using real sales representatives with real customer feedback
- The scripts don’t accommodate different practice settings, physician personalities, patient types, or treatment alternatives
- The scripts are not conversational, sound scripted, and often intentionally avoid opportunities for customer engagement (lack interaction)
- The scripts are more focused on delivering message than they are about how they affect (“land on”) the customer (think emotionally and intellectually)
- The scripts (including answers to questions) are not practiced (rehearsed) to perfection with incorporation of natural voice modulations and corresponding supportive intonations
- The scripts don’t anticipate the questions that are likely to be asked (or reps don’t practice the answers) so it looks like the rep only knows the product message script.
Yes, there are legitimate reasons why pharmaceutical sales representatives don’t like and even despise scripted sales presentations. In the context of the above issues, scripted sales presentations can seem demeaning, belittling of a person’s competence, and come across as unprofessional. That doesn’t mean they have to be.
I believe it is actually unprofessional to think you are so good at sales that you feel you can “wing it” without a scripted, well rehearsed presentation on sales calls.
Like many sales professionals in other industries, professional pharmaceutical representatives should embrace and arm themselves with carefully crafted, engaging, information packed, rehearsed to perfection presentations. And, answers to customer questions they have encouraged should just become a natural part of their well prepared presentations.
It is hard work to get the scripts right in the first place and then it takes more hard work and practice (to perfection, not just random impromptu “role plays” with your District Manger) to deliver impactful scripted sales presentations professionally. firstname.lastname@example.org