Take home the message

What can GPs learn from their pharma reps? The first reaction to this question might be ‘drug information’, and, of course, there is some basis for this thinking.

A more interesting answer, though, is selling ability. Not just the ability to sell a product, but an understanding of how to motivate people to make them interested in buying or using that product.

With chronic diseases making up the bulk of medical consultations, and with lifestyle issues a main cause of chronic disease, motivational skills are a vital addition to the modern medical kit bag. 

A quick look at one of the marketer’s ‘bibles’, Dr Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Allyn and Bacon, NY, 2008), gives some of the basic ideas for not just selling drugs, but motivating patients to be more likely to comply with your prescription.

Dr Cialdini, from the psychology department at Arizona State University,