How to get the most out of your field visit

OK, so you have a field visit arranged. How will you make best use of the time? How can you go the extra mile and obtain optimum benefit?

Here are some guidelines:

Spend the whole day on the road. Part of a pharma representative’s day involves ‘setting the day up’. This may involve an early start and ‘dropping cards’. Make sure you experience this, as the skills involved with this element of the role are vital.

  • Make copious notes throughout your field visit. Things are always forgotten. Ask questions.
  • Look for opportunities to discuss your pre-call objectives
  • Post-sales call – ask your escort to de-brief you on the call and to discuss ‘moving the call forward’ or next-call objectives
  • How was the day planned?
  • How is business targeted?
  • What works best – sales targets or activity targets?
  • Is a business plan important?
  • How is success measured?
  • How do you become a top performer/top bonus earner?
  • Look to discuss ‘gate keepers’
  • Ask about effective time planning and geographical planning
  • How do you develop the toughness to handle rejection?
  • It would be wise to examine the structure of the sales calls that you witness, as well as considering the questions above.

The following is a guide:

  • Did you witness evidence of pre-call planning / SMART objectives?
  • How was the right climate created in the sales call?
  • Did you witness the use of open questions?
  • How were they used and what type of information did they elicit?
  • Did you witness the use of closed questions?
  • How were they used and what type of information did they elicit?
  • How were the customers’ needs uncovered?
  • Having uncovered the customers’ needs – were benefits sold to the customer? (sell benefits, not features)
  • Did you witness listening skills on the part of the sales professional? (selling isn’t about telling – it’s about asking questions)
  • How did the sales professional respond to the customers’ behaviour and ‘buying signals’?
  • How were customer concerns / questions / objections – dealt with?
  • How was commitment gained?
  • In your opinion will the customer take action on the basis of this call?
  • Were SMART objectives reviewed and how were next call objectives set?
  • What went well?
  • What did you learn?

The above is only a guide. Remember that you’re not there to interrogate or judge the effectiveness of the pharma representative who’s been kind enough to take you out. Remember that being watched can be quite unnerving.

Above all, make the most of your time on the road and ensure that it’s a positive learning experience. Take the time to reflect on what you’ve learned and perhaps be prepared to document your findings. By doing so, you’ll give yourself increased confidence and a clear ‘winning edge’ at interview. Average candidates do not embark on this level of research. Average candidates don’t excel at interview.