Having something to sell helps a bit

Having the right product to sell is as important as choosing the company you work for. It makes the job easier if the customers want to see you and if you can be sure of a steady stream of innovative products to show them, you have a head start over the opposition.

So how do these products get into your sample bag?

Basically, someone has an idea that the company thinks they could bring to the market. Ideally, the product will satisfy a clinical need and also the company's main objective of showing a return on its shareholders' investment.

The R & D boys and Marketeers then go into hiding for a couple of years whilst they work out how to make the product and what to do with it when it's made. They nuture it, and caress it as if it was their own baby until finally perfection is achieved.

The product is launched at a special sales meeting amid much pomp and ceremony. The sales force leave the launch meeting wearing baseball caps and tee shirts bearing the product logo. They leap into their company cars, whooping madly and drive off into the distance wondering which lucky customer to cold call first. How are they are going to prioritise their days in future? How will they ration the product since, naturally, every customer will want to buy a million. Should they book the cruise now, as achieving the new product special incentive bonus is a mere formality?


The reality is that somewhere between the conception and birth of the product, those involved in its development put on rose-tinted spectacles. They carry on developing something that they think the market needs and don't necessarily address its real needs. As a sales representative, you are closest to the customer and therefore have a better understanding of what is wanted. However, you won't be asked your opinion.

Pre-market testing of the product will be carried out by physicians who are 'company friendly' and unless it is a 'real dog' of a product they will give an unqualified thumbs up.

Sales forecasts will be made, manufacture will be ramped up, and the reps will be let loose in the marketplace.

Very quickly, the real world will expose the product's limitations. It will also identify its real strengths. As a representative, you will have to exploit those strengths the best way you can because you can be sure that the sales forecast has been carved in stone, and must be achieved!

That bonus is still within your reach.

N.B. This site looks best when viewed from a distance after drinking six pints of lager.

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