Cafepharma: the good, the bad, and the ugly

A lot of people want to know what I think about CafePharma.  Here goes:  I think that it’s a great source of relevant headlines for those of us in medical and healthcare sales, pharmaceutical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, DNA sales, medical supplies sales, medical equipment sales, imaging sales, and pathology sales.  However, beware of the chat room.  There can be a lot of negative information from people who have their own specific axe to grind.  No company is as bad as they are sometimes made out to be, and we should all keep that in mind.  What do you think?

Medical Sales – lots of travel, what to do with Fido?

July 28, 2008 · Posted in Clinical Diagnostics, Imaging Sales, Laboratory Sales, Medical Sales, Medical Sales Recruiting, Pathology Sales Jobs, Pharmaceutical Sales · Comments Off on Medical Sales – lots of travel, what to do with Fido? 

So, the other day I was talking to someone I thought would be a great candidate for laboratory sales–high-energy, great people skills, knowledgeable, everything.  She was interested in the opportunity, too.  Her only concern:  with all the traveling involved, what does she do with her dog?  My answer:  doggie day care.  Many dogs don’t do well when left alone, even with a dog door.  Doggie day care facilities dogs them with socialization skills, so they’re a happier dog when you pick them up and you don’t have to feel so guilty.

Since this has come up every so often, I thought I would find you all some links to help you.  You’ll have to find local facilities on your own, but here’s some things to look for, and how to spot a bad one

Most jobs in medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, DNA sales, medical supplies sales, biotech sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, and pharmaceutical sales are high-travel.  That’s just the way it is.  But they’re also fun and financially rewarding, so don’t let circumstances keep you from a great career.

Capital Equipment Sales: medical equipment, hospital equipment, etc.

Today’s video explains capital equipment sales as it relates to the medical sales industry:  what it is, how it differs from consumable sales in process, and what it requires from its salespeople.  Knowing the difference and where you fit will make a huge difference in how you approach your job search.

The easiest analogy I have is that it’s like the difference between buying a car vs. buying shampoo.  When you buy a car, you have to think about it:  You research it (sometimes for months), ask your friends, look around for a good deal, maybe get financing…it’s a time-consuming, anxiety-producing, big decision that will have an impact on your life for years down the road.  When you buy shampoo, either you go with what you know or you try something new based on advertising or a friend’s recommendation.  No big deal.  If you don’t like it, you’re out less than $10.00.  No long-term impact.

Capital equipment sales is like buying a car.  There’s a lot of money involved, it might require a committee decision…it’s a major investment that will affect that facility for years to come.  Usually, it’s a 3-12 month process, so it requires a significant amount of patience on the part of the salesperson.  Some capital equipment salespeople don’t even make their first sale during the first 12 months.

Consumable products (laboratory reagents, paper for your copier, for instance) don’t require nearly as much commitment or cash, so it’s a much faster, easier process.  Less money, faster results.

Both types of products are found in medical sales, specifically in research laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, DNA sales, and biotech sales. In the medical setting the equipment (imaging, monitors, software systems, etc.) are capital sales and the consumables (gloves, bandaids, wound care products, gowns, reagents, liquids, etc) are not.


Get free training for your medical sales job search in my How to Get Into Medical Sales webinar.

Quick Tip: Job Interview Thank You Letters

E-mail thank you letters after job interviews in medical sales, healthcare sales, biotech sales, medical equipment sales, DNA products sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory products sales, medical supplies sales, or pharmaceutical sales are perfectly acceptable.  But what do you do if you happened to leave without getting an e-mail address?

Google them:  *  For instance,  * would get you mine, and everyone else who works here. 


Job interview tip: Don’t forget the thank you letter

Don’t underestimate how important thank you letters are in the job interview process.  Everybody “knows” they’re critical, but unbelievably, not everyone writes them.  Thank you letters accomplish several things:

1)  They get your name in front of the hiring manager one more time.

2)  They are your last chance to package yourself as the best, most qualified person for the job.

3)  They are polite, and manners count.

4)  They help you land the job.

5) They can be an example of your ability to take in information (the interview) and process and provide feedback or new ideas about whatever the problem was. For example: I thought about your concerns about how to handle xyz delivery issues, when I was a product manager at ABC corporation, we used………
(See what I mean?)

Here’s a link for tips on how to write a thank you letter.  Written ones are ideal (but snail mail may not get to the manager before the decision to hire or not hire), but e-mail thank yous are perfectly acceptable (and I think most valuable because of their timing).  Any thank you letter will put you ahead of the pack in your search for a job in sales, marketing, or managment for medical sales, DNA sales, pharmaceutical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, medical supplies sales, medical equipment sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, or biotech sales.



Job Search Tip: Keep a Brag Book

If you’re looking for a job in medical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, DNA sales, medical supplies or equipment sales, pharmaceutical sales, or biotechnology sales, marketing, or tech support (or you will be soon), it would help you tremendously to have a brag book. 

A brag book is a list of your accomplishments (stories for behavioral interviews, right here), new skills and training, stack rankings, performance reviews, e-mails or letters from satisfied customers, and awards.  You can keep it in a kudos file for easy updates for your resume, job interview preparation, or a morale booster.  One source says you should bind it like a book to give to potential employers. Note: You do not have to leave a brag book with the interviewer.

Either way, it’s a tremendous resource for you.

Interview Skill: How to Handle the Money Question


Salary negotiations can be the most stressful part of the entire interview process in medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, biotech sales, molecular products sales, cellular products sales, medical device sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, or pharmaceutical sales.


The video below is designed to help you navigate your way through.


So:   How do you answer questions in the interviewing process that have to do with your financial situation?


You don’t. 


The first person who mentions a specific number in the negotiation process is usually considered a loser.  Because, if you’re the candidate and you name a figure that’s too low and later realize you could have gone higher, you can’t go back.  But, it’s a delicate process.  The company has its own agenda and doesn’t want to make a mistake, either.  If your interviewer asks you directly how much money you currently make, you can antagonize him or her by refusing to answer, so you have to say something.  One option:  answer honestly, but qualify it by saying, “I am not sure that it is relevant because this position requires…x, y and z…”


Another option:  Deflect it by saying, “So if you are talking money, are you making me a job offer?”  Some clients will actually say “yes, I am interested.”  So now you have a new conversation that gives you a little more leverage.


Another thing you can say is:  “I am certain that given the responsibilities that this position has, and how important you have described that it is to your organization, that you are going to financially compensate the right candidate with an appropriate amount of money.” 


One of the most critical things you can do is to research salaries in your specific field, in your part of the country.  Knowledge is power.  Here’s an article on the Top 25 Salary Negotiating Tips to help you. 


Job search tip: Choose your references wisely

Recently, I had a candidate who was going to get an offer–it was all over but the references.  And that’s where it all went wrong.  We began calling to check (yes, we really do that) and two days later, only one was done.  It wasn’t even a matter of them trashing my candidate…they just wouldn’t return our calls. 

If your references don’t even think enough of you to call back, it doesn’t reflect well on you.  It cost my candidate a job.

Choose your references wisely.  The best references are past managers.  Not necessarily the one you’re just now leaving, but previous ones.  Hopefully, when you left those jobs, you asked if you could use them for a reference should it become necessary, and told them that you would be happy to help them in any way you were able.  Just ask, “Can I count on you for a reference?”   Then keep in touch with them.  Knowing their personal e-mail addresses will make this easier. 

 Know what your references will say about you.  You need to be in control of the information that will be provided to your future employer.  It’s not acceptable to wonder if they’ll give you a good reference.  Your job search is too important.

When you are applying for a job, call your references to give them a heads up.  Don’t let them be caught off guard.  You can use this opportunity to coach them on what to say for the best impact.  The qualities that will make the best impression will vary slightly depending on which company and which particular job you’re applying for in medical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, molecular products sales, cellular products sales, biotech sales, or pharmaceutical sales.

See 10 Tips for Top Notch References for more information. 


Job interview advice from across the pond

Hey, look!  I’m being watched in Ireland!  (My videos, anyway.) 

Paul Mullen, a career coach in Ireland, has highlighted my online videos as offering excellent advice (I have to agree…).  Turns out, Paul offers some excellent advice, himself.  His Measureability website offers psychometric testing (ability and personality assessments) and career coaching.  It includes a career blog, with a post I like on Reasons for Interview Failure.  He also has a Careers and Jobs blog focused on jobs in Ireland, but with lots of applicable advice for us here in the States looking for jobs in medical sales, laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical device sales, surgical supply sales, molecular products sales, cellular products sales, biotech sales, pathology sales, or imaging sales. 


Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Sepracor lead the direct to consumer marketing push!

July 8, 2008 · Posted in HealthCare Sales, HealthCare Sales Jobs, Medical Sales, Medical Sales Recruiting, Pharmaceutical Sales · Comments Off on Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Sepracor lead the direct to consumer marketing push! 

Here’s an article to show you just how big direct-to-consumer advertising is in pharma.  Someone is making money here.

I thought you would find the article interesting.

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