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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Friday, May 06, 2005
 
Gawsh, You’re Awful Purdy!
(Important disclaimer: none of the women referred to below are nearly as attractive as the lovely ball-and-chain.)

Doctors are visited by pharmaceutical industry representatives a lot. We call them “drug reps” for short. They occasionally bring us lunch and occasionally bring us small gifts, like plush toys for our kids, and they tell us about the drugs their company is promoting in the hopes that we will prescribe them more often. (I wrote about them and their toys in a previous post. The comments in that thread are worth reading, too.) So far, so good. This is all just an expected part of free markets. Engineers get visits from salesmen touting the latest gadgets. Mechanics, I’m sure get visits from salesmen pushing engine diagnostic equipment, and so on.

What’s distractingly unusual about drug reps is that they are almost all incredibly beautiful women. I know you’re thinking that this makes perfect sense in terms of capitalism, since gorgeous women probably sell stuff much better than men or non-gorgeous women, but from what I hear from friends in other fields, their salespeople aren’t babes. A friend who works for Northrop says that his salesmen are geeky guys in shirtsleeves. Maybe some of you can correct me, but I haven’t heard of this in other fields, though you would think it would be universal.

I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies are very smart and know what they’re doing, but I have to wonder, are female doctors also persuaded by beautiful female drug reps? And am I so shallow and horny that I am more persuaded by a pretty woman than a friendly guy? Quite possibly. I certainly don’t deny it. The weird thing is that I really can pay a lot more attention to the technical details of the medicine I’m supposed to be hearing about when the speaker isn’t distractingly pretty. Otherwise, when she says “So you can see that unlike other SSRIs, Lexapro interacts much less with the cytochrome P450 system.” All I can think is “Gawsh, You’re Awful Purdy!” Is that what her company wants?
Comments:
I interviewed for a number of companies to work as a drug rep. I didn't get a single offer, but maybe if I had implants I would have.

Now I work in ad sales and there is a mix of men and women. From a beauty standpoint it is a mixed bag.
 
Why would the drug companies want you to know what their drugs do? They just want you to buy them! Buy them and prescribe them (when your patients ask you for them by name, of course).
 
This phenomenon was parodied on Scrubs - Heather Locklear played the drug rep.
 
Maybe the reps are different in this area, or maybe my persepective is skewed. I do admit that a significant number are thin, well dressed, bleached blondes in heels, but I find them to be overly made up, overly blown dried, overly anorexic, and mostly plastic. But that is just my opinion, and I only listen to them for the free pens anyway. My usual reaction to them talking is "please finish so I dont have to be polite anymore and can get back to my work."
 
"thin, well dressed, bleached blondes in heels, but I find them to be overly made up, overly blown dried, overly anorexic, and mostly plastic"--and your point is...?

Seriously, when these hot women are in the office, the only thing that occurs to me is: "I'm pretty sure none of these women would ever talk to me if they weren't trying to sell me something."

Of course none of them are as pretty as your wife, Bean.

BTW, I don't care what anyone says, but my wife, is hot.
 
Jack: So you noticed it too. I don't get it. I'm sure you do a fine job selling ads. I'm also sure that the hetero males you sell ads to like being around attractive women. So why could you be a great drug rep?

Sotosoroto: We actually don't buy them, we just prescribe them. The patients buy them from pharmacies. I get what you're saying though, but it still doesn't get to the question: why just us and not other sales fields?

Ralphie: Good. That further reinforces that I'm not making this up.

Dilbert: I second what Psychotoddler said. Either you've got less babelicious drug reps, or what floats my boat doesn't float yours (neither of which is there anything wrong with).

Psychotoddler: Well said.
 
And another thing. Sometimes these drug reps come to tell me about Viagra and Levitra. So they're showing me scientific/medical articles and saying phrases like "successful intercourse" and "satisfactory erections". I gotta tell you, I'm more than a little uncomfortable during those encounters. I'd rather have men or very ugly women tell me about those drugs. Or I'd rather learn about those drugs the old-fashioned way, on the streets.
 
Doctor Bean... I'm sure there is a connection between the trend you described and the growing number of doctor's wives who have decided to work as their husband's office managers... y'know just to keep an eye on things. :-)

Oh, and Dilbert (the comic strip, not your commenter) ran this little beauty last month: http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20050420.html
 
What annoys me is when the viagra reps (they're guys around here) are shmoozing me out in the hallway, and then ask if I need more viagra. I realize what they're asking is do we need more samples for the clinic. But I always have to look around to make sure no one got the wrong impression.

I suspect there are quite a few docs who dip into their own samples, and the reps know it.


and none of your business
 
Jack: So you noticed it too. I don't get it. I'm sure you do a fine job selling ads. I'm also sure that the hetero males you sell ads to like being around attractive women. So why could you be a great drug rep?

Often there are few distinctions between products and I am sure that this holds true with the drugs the reps come to push.

So when you reach the point at which you can say that drug A & B both satisfy the needs of your patients it is a matter of relationships.

Which rep. is easier to work with, who do you prefer to see, who works with you, who does the best job of meeting YOUR needs.

From the sales side it is simple formula. Listen first so that you can identify the needs of your prospect, tell the story of how you can meet their needs and then courteously reply to any objections or concerns.

Do more listening and less talking and you'll find yourself in good shape.

And certainly it doesn't hurt to be nice to look at in your prospect eyes.

In my case I deal with both men and women who are frequently fresh out of school.

At 36 to their 23-26 I am starting to look a little dated.

Laughter is a great solution, but I digress.
 
David: There's nothing to keep an eye on. I'm too awkward and introverted and also too devoted to ball-and-chain. The cartoon is hillarious. I'm gonna show it to other docs. Thanks.

Psychotoddler: I would love male Viagra and Levitra reps. However bad you think you have it, imagine a beautiful woman asking you the same question in the hall.

Jack: Sorry. That was a typo. I meant "So why couldn't you be a great drug rep?" I agree with everything else you said, but especially with the relationship part. That's just the thing. I have no relationship with most of them. I don't even remember their names. I only remember their pretty. I'm sure if you came by instead, I would remember you, I would remember what you were trying to teach me about the drugs, and we would eventually build a relationship.
 
" I do admit that a significant number are thin, well dressed, bleached blondes in heels, but I find them to be overly made up, overly blown dried, overly anorexic, and mostly plastic."

... and that's not hot? :)

Personally for me, I don't mind the aesthetics of a bottle blond who hasn't eaten more than a third of a rice cake for the last three days.

I work for a financial investments firm and although the brokers "sell" investments to clients, there are 0 good looking women doing that here. Obviously, financial investments is an "All Boys Club" and people would be more likely to invest with Ken as the would with Barbie.
 
While we're on the subject, I have a quick question about Levitra. You know how the ad says to seek help if your erection lasts for four hours? Should you actually wait the full four hours, or should you start making your way to the ER at around, say, three and a half?
 
Hagrin: So you're another voice confirming that this is more or less unique to pharmaceuticals. Weird...

Ralphie: I don't like to take any chances. I call 911 after 15 minutes.
 
I'll even take it a step further. Even the girls that work in the Pharmacy at CVS here are all gorgeous and don't know anything and they all have the one Physics like professor old guy who actually knows what he is doing.
 
Hagrin: Our drug reps aren't dumb.
 
That's just the thing. I have no relationship with most of them. I don't even remember their names. I only remember their pretty. I'm sure if you came by instead, I would remember you, I would remember what you were trying to teach me about the drugs, and we would eventually build a relationship.

Doc,

I would imagine that the hardest part of the job for the reps is getting time with you. And no matter how good you are at sales, you need a few moments to explain the features and benefits.

I can understand why Merck and Co. would use pretty women because men will stop to speak with them, especially when they are exceptionally friendly.

The challenge for them and for all salespeople is to get beyond the superficial so that you remember them.
 
If only women could become doctors, we Adonis-type men might be able to become drug reps ourselves. Oh, well, a man can dream. For now, it's off to my next personal training client.
 
"I don't even remember their names. I only remember their pretty."

I'm terrible with names too. I try to keep focused on their eyes when they talk. Unfortunately, their nametags are affixed to the...ahem...more southern regions...which necessitates an embarrassing glance downwards to the area in question.

I guess that I could explain that I'm not really trying to gawk at their hooters, I just can't remember their names. But I guess that's not much better.
 
Jackie Mason on when you should call the doctor after taking viagra-type medication: If the effects last too long they want me to call the doctor? I'm calling another woman....
 
Jack: Makes sense.

Ralphie: You might be able to fool our readers...

Psychotoddler: We have to figure some kind of prize for being the first to use the phrase "gawk at their hooters" on our blog. Congratulations!

Dilbert: Very funny! Thanks!
 
I still don't have a PDA, so my wife suggested I program my meetings into my cell phone. I programmed the "Breast Clinic Advisory Panel meeting" for 9am last Wednesday. I gave it a custom ring on my phone. Guess what song I picked?
 
Psychotoddler: I give up. "Tush" by ZZ Top?
 
The Can-Can
 
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