Focus On Your Studies, Part 2

By Malcolm Fleschner

In last month’s pharmaceutical sales newsletter, pharmaceutical sales training and marketing expert Jodie Bender shared her thoughts on the many errors today’s drug reps make in their efforts to use clinical reprints as effective selling tools. For reps discouraged about seeing their own behavior in some of the mistakes Bender lists, not to worry. This month she’s all about solutions. In fact, she notes, clinical reprints are a highly flexible tool that can be used to open a call, brought in somewhere in the middle or even used to conclude a conversation. Here are some of the possibilities she suggests.

1. Lead with the reprint. One way to begin a conversation is to say: Doctor, I have a reprint here from JAMA that has our newest efficacy data. I thought you might be interested in looking it over. Can I leave one behind for you?

2. Use a question to test the waters. A directed question relating to a study can be effective for determining whether that study will be of interest to the physician. Say: Doctor, do you find that your patients are experiencing breakthrough pain during the night with [competitive product]? If the physician says he or she never hears about breakthrough pain, you’ll know this is one study you can keep in the bag.

3. Pick your moment. Based on the conversation flow, find the right point to produce the study. So if the doctor says: I’ve had a lot of patients stop taking their medication because of the stomach problems it causes, it’s time to respond. Say: Well, doctor, as a matter of fact, I have a reprint from the NEJM that shows a much lower incidence of discontinuations due to GI side effects with our drug versus the others… .

4. Relate the study to the doctor’s experience. Studies are most compelling when they confirm a physician’s personal experience with patients. All you have to do is ask: This study from JAMA shows we provide better symptom control over 24 hours than [competing product]. Do your patients ever complain about their symptoms returning hours before the next dose? Another approach might be to ask: Is this something you see with your patients taking [competing product]? Remember, if the study’s results don’t ring true for the doctor, the results won’t help you make a case for your product.

5. Drop it off and go. You also can close the call with a reprint. Ask the physician to review the information and give you his or her thoughts the next time you come in. One way to ask is: Doctor, if I leave this reprint with you, would you review it so we can talk about it the next time I see you? Then, when the time comes, delicately inquire whether he or she has had a chance to look it over.

For more information on Julie Bender, visit or call 215-968-4038.