Ok word on the street is that young attractive women are the preferred choice for selling pharmaceuticals.
Ok, I give up: why? Why on earth? It can’t be just because attractive women can sell things just by their own precious existence. The car salesmen aren’t young women at the local dealerships, nor the circuit city types. Why just this one field? What is with pharmaceutical sales and hotties? I don’t get it.
And how are they selling to female doctors, of which there are many?
My WAG is that for all of the strides that women have made by entering the medical profession, it is still largely controlled by horny, male doctors whereas your electronics and car customers are more gender balanced.
Not all pharmaceutical sales representatives are attractive women. A good number of them are attractive men. There are straight women and gay men working as physicians, after all.
I’m in a different sort of corporate sales, but I know a good number of pharm reps; at least four of my best people have been poached by the pharm industry. Prospective outside sales rep benefit from being hot for the some of the same reasons that actors do. There’s always a few outliers, of course.
Attractive people have an edge in several retail fields. In my 1990s retail sales manager incarnation, I saw several good-looking young girls leave to go work for jewelry stores, and I can recall two of them telling me that they were recruited specifically for their looks. “We want beautiful people to sell beautiful things,” one of them quoted her hiring manager as saying. She had been an electronics salesperson before that, and I once overheard her talk a customer into a useless extended warranty by pointing out that she was required to sell them and that she would get in trouble if she missed any. As you might imagine, she had trouble with married couples.
I only worked at one car dealership, but all the female salespeople there were hot as well; the converse was not true of the male salespeople. The males were still the vast majority, though.
I met A LOT of drug reps (I’d guess over 200, I’d recognize (and they’d recognize me) 100-150 of them and I’m on friendly terms with probably somewhere between 20 and 40 of them. I can tell you that they are not all good looking, but I’d say better then 80% of them are. Most of the guys are good looking guys as well (come to think of them, a lot of them are quite tall as well). On top of that, they’re probably the best dressed people that you see outside of a cocktail party.
The thing to remember is that pharm sales reps don’t sell directly. They get measured on how many prescriptions are written by the doctors in their area, but they don’t take orders. So I suspect that besides the making time reason, if a doctor needs to choose from competing drugs, he or she might remember the one associated with the attractive person.
I was sitting in the waiting room of my pharmacy the other day and the most stunning woman I’ve ever seen walked in. Turns out she was a rep. I told a friend in the medical field about it and he confirmed it’s the norm.
I bet a lot of it is that male docs are busy guys, it takes a lot to get their attention.
My mother has a chronic illness that requires lots of doctor visits. She can’t drive, so I’m her driver. I spend quite a bit of time sitting in my car, parked right in front of the door in the gimp parking spaces. Although I see the occasional hottie, of the people who are idenifiable as pharm reps, the average seem, well, average.
Of course, it could well be a regional thing, and my region is just not representative.
So far there have been a lot of posts pointing out that sex does indeed sell, but not so much explanation of why this would be especially true for pharmacy reps relative to other sales positions.
I would guess it’s like this: being attractive is valuable for any customer-facing position, and attractive salespeople know this and are therefore able to negotiate higher salaries. This means that the hottest salespeople will go and work for the companies which are willing to pay the highest premium for attractiveness. Logically, you’d expect this to be the case in markets where there is a large profit margin on the product.
As Voyager pointed out, doctors don’t pay out of their own pocket for the prescriptions they write, so they have no particular incentive to keep costs down. When you’re buying something with your own money, you’re more likely to look past the salesperson’s cleavage and go for the cheaper product, rather than the one which needs to be sold as a higher price because the company which produces it has to spend extra money on sales staff.
When you’re making buying decisions for someone else, you have no reason to go for the lowest price. So the optimal strategy for the pharma companies is apparently to sell at a high markup and then spend some of that extra money on hot salespeople.
On what street are you hanging out? “Pssst…them pharma babes are HOT!! Pass it on!!!”
Being a pathologist, I don’t get to see drug reps, but there are lab equipment and supply reps occasionally passing through, few if any of whom could be considered especially attractive. Except maybe for that one woman who worked for the cytology company, and I’m not sure what advantage that would have provided the firm, seeing as how most cytotechnologists are women and pathologists are getting to be fairly evenly split between men and women.
Besides, if you’re going to waste my time with sales come-ons, looks are insufficient. I just remembered that one firm the past couple of years has sent us a box of really good frosted cookies at Christmastime. Unfortunately for their marketing efforts, I can’t remember who it is (and it’s the hospital that makes the buying decisions anyway, not us).