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SheSells: Lessons From My Days as a Medical Representative

Updated: Mar 2

No matter what happens, you show up, you do your part and you add value to people’s lives.

I started my career and my sales journey with Johnson & Johnson in the 1990’s (all the stories seem to be retros). After a hectic round of interviews and GD’s, I was selected as a medical representative. The territory assigned to me was JJ hospital to Mahim, a stretch of 10 kilometres, in Mumbai. I was part of the Ethicon division which is a surgical suture used in neurological & cardiovascular procedures. My target audience was super specialist neurosurgeons, hospital pharmacies and well known chemists near hospitals. As you can guess, all these were extremely busy and well informed customers and here I was the rookie medical representative trying to convince them to use and recommend my product.

I started my day at 8.30 am with a team meeting with my boss, the Territory Manager at our office in Mahim, Mumbai. The meeting covered a review of the challenges faced the previous day and plan for the day. Needless to add, we had a very clearly documented route plan and journey cycle plan (JCP) which had to be followed mandatorily, no excuses!

After the meeting at 9.30 am, we headed out to the field to start our doctor visits. From 10.30 AM to 12.30 PM, I had to meet at least 4 doctors at hospitals before meeting 2 chemists/pharmacies in & around the hospital.

The plan required me to be at the first chemist by 1 pm and the second by 1.30 pm. Post this, I headed back to office for a quick catch up with my boss and then to the evening doctor visits + chemists (4 doctors + 2 chemists).

Mumbai rains are torrential & incessant. On one such rainy July morning, I started on my daily calls. I was soaked by the time I reached the metro station and arrived at my destination (JJ hospital). The train was late due to water logging on the tracks and I had to wade through knee deep water to the hospital. I managed to complete my calls and somehow made my way through the waters to the chemist call at 1.10 pm. To my horror, I saw my boss waiting for me while casually chatting with the chemist. We completed our chemist visits and it was time for the dreadful review. He asked me why I was late for the chemist visit (as per my JCP I had to be at the chemist by 1 pm).I stammered timidly about the rains & the knee deep water.

He then told me something that has remained with me all through the sales career. “A salesperson is like an actor. No matter what happens, you show up, you do your part and you add value to people’s lives”.

And since that day, I lived my life by that rule – I show up, I do my part and I do my best to add value.

It is your choice whether you want to spend your life making excuses and complaining or giving your best each day. Your attitude determines your altitude and your mindset determines your success.

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