Great Pharmacists are Great Salespeople

Why Sales is Important and 3 Ways to Sell Yourself Better

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If your job involves interpersonal interactions, then you’re in sales. Too often do I hear pharmacists say, “I’m a healthcare professional, not a salesperson”. Here’s the thing — those aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, it goes hand in hand. Here’s what I mean.

Below are two quick definitions of the word, sell.

1. give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.
2. persuade someone of the merits of.

Pharmacists who despise selling are referring to the first definition. There’s just something about money in healthcare that makes you feel a little sleazy. It gets worse when the money never ends up in your pocket. The feeling is so repulsive that some pharmacists instinctively reject everything sales-related.

The second definition refers to the act of selling yourself. You’re persuading your boss, coworkers, and patients that you have excellent merit. This is imperative everywhere, especially in an industry as competitive as pharmacy. Letting your work do all the talking only gets you so far. It’s the same reason why writing an excellent resume is so important. Your accomplishments never change, how they’re perceived does.

I’ve already touched on 5 new ways to sell yourself to your team. Selling yourself to your patients is a completely different ballgame. Donning a white coat no longer means much to the public. You could be a cosmetician, pharmacy student, pharmacy technician, physician, physician assistant, dentist, pharmacist, and many other professions. You need to quickly convince your patients that you’re a stellar pharmacist, which requires persuasive prowess. Here are 3 off-the-cuff tips on how to do just that.

Show Your Work

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Stop doing things behind-the-scenes. The public perception of what pharmacists do is outdated. Educate them. Be transparent about all the great things you’re doing so your patients can appreciate your efforts. For example, many pharmacists can extend prescriptions. If you’re extending, be sure to frame your service properly. Your patient should know that you’re assessing their health, history, and circumstance. Your patient should know that you’re the one signing off and bearing additional responsibilities. Otherwise, they’ll treat the service like an advance and feel entitled to it.

Follow Up

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Doctors, dentists, and optometrists have files on their patients and so should you. Not just for medications, either. You should document noteworthy facts that come up in casual conversations as well. This allows you to follow up on minor things which demonstrates your attention to detail. Imagine asking about their new cat that they mentioned 3 months ago when they were looking for an antihistamine for their cat allergy. To a patient, there are few things more comforting than feeling heard by a healthcare professional.

Treat the Person

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That brings us to the last tip. Truly listen to what your patient is concerned about because your focus should be to treat the person, not the disease. This was a major point in What Makes a Good Pharmacist. DTPs aren’t all you’re good for. Give that piece a read for more details.

Selling feels the worst when you don’t believe what you’re providing is worth the price. If you’ve persuaded someone of your good merits, “selling in exchange for money” should feel rewarding. Not all great salespeople are great pharmacists, but all great pharmacists are great salespeople.

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