Tag Archives: sales

Salesmanship As We Know It

The first four years of All My Clones collected in a book now available at https://www.createspace.com/4166055

A spotlight centered on a microphone stand in the middle of the darkened stage.  A figure strode up to the microphone and spoke in a low rumble.  “Iron. Heavy.  Hemingway. Light.  Profound, isn’t it?”

The crowd of sales representatives went wild as Iron Hemingway took the stage and screamed through its one-hit wonder from 30 years ago.  The crowd danced and gyrated, even the reps who were born years after the band fell off the hit parade charts.

Rupert Madasheck inserted his earplugs as subtlely as he could and texted ‘Do they really like this stuff @ sales mtgs?’

Gamela Nuryandi looked at Rupert two feet away and at her team of sales reps on the dance floor.  She smiled and texted, ‘They luv this band!’  She added a few emoticons and hit Send.

Rupert frowned, shook his head, and texted back, ‘Do they realize most will be laid off 2morrow?’

Gamela put her hand over her mouth and nodded.  She texted, ‘Why not let them enjoy 1 last fling?’  She glanced out over the crowd, following some of the dancers as the band played its one hit for the seventh time.

Three hours later, Rupert and Gamela left the banquet hall and went into a conference room.  Rupert shut the door, fidgeted nervously, and asked, “Now that we can hear again, could I ask if you’ll have any sales force left over?”

Gamela groaned, sat down, and said, “Tomorrow I’ll lose 75% of them.  I wonder how many more will quit.  Can’t Research make more drugs?  We can sell anything but we need actual drugs to sell.  Now that we can’t spend anything on swag or gifts to physicians, we have plenty of budget left over.”

Rupert paced the room and growled.  “I blame the FDA.  Our drugs are fine as far as I know.  They haven’t killed anyone in clinical trials lately.  But now they complain about ‘efficacy’ and stuff like that.”

“I don’t understand much about all that,” Gamela confessed.  “After the FDA approves ‘em, we sell ‘em.  Someday could you explain how drugs get developed and approved?”

Rupert looked away at the closed conference room door and sighed.  “No, I don’t think so.  Remember I started out selling beauty supply products.”

Gamela leaned back in her chair.  “No!  Really?  How did you get from beauty supply to pharmaceuticals?”

Rupert sat down and leaned close.  “Reverse merger.[1]  I woke up and found myself CEO of a pharma company!”

“But now all my sales force will wake up and find themselves left out on the curb.  I still don’t understand why we need to cut back that much.”

“Your own sales people told you they were getting turned away at the door, right?” Rupert asked.

Gamela sighed.  “Yes, ever since that Dr. Evans spread the word about how to keep sales reps out of doctors’ offices.[2]  They don’t even take our notepads or laser pens any more.  They’d rather waste their time on seeing patients than get the information they really need.  What happens when the nation’s physicians are ignorant of our life-saving drugs and deplete their stock of Cappuccino Pharmaceuticals coffee mugs?”

“Think how bad it must be for all the other companies,” Rupert said.  “It’s not just sales forces, either.  The US pharma industry already laid off about 6400 people this year and it’s only June.”[3]

Gamela sobbed.  “Rupert, that isn’t the least bit consoling.”

Rupert put his hand on her shoulder.  “Well, it’s unbecoming of a professional to cry.  After all, I still have a job.”

Gamela jumped back.  “How is that supposed to help, you insensitive lout?”

“What I mean is, I can’t stop the layoffs here at Cappuccino.  But I can make exceptions.”

“You are planning to keep me employed, aren’t you?” Gamela asked.

“It looks like you are keeping yourself employed without my help,” Rupert said as he closed his eyes.

Outside the conference room, the intensity of the sales meeting swelled as Iron Hemingway  began playing their hit for the 97th time.



[1] Yes, this can happen!  Look up Venus Beauty Supply and Fermavir Pharmaceuticals.

[2] Evans et al., “Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Lessons Learned from a Pharma-Free Practice Transformation,”available at http://www.jabfm.org/content/26/3/332.full

[3] As reported by Pharmalot at http://www.pharmalive.com/and-those-pharma-job-cuts-just-keep-on-coming

Think Your Way Out of a Paper Bag

 “This is the most dismal sales report I have seen in this company,” Rupert declared to the Board of Directors.  “How about if I fire the sales force, the whole lot of ‘em?  Let’s move into digital marketing exclusively.”

“I understand Eli Lilly is doing something like that,” said CFO George Contenumbaes. [1]  “I can let you know the annual cost savings.”

Rupert read the next item on the Board meeting’s docket, a report that lab scientist Dr. Erin Q. Stewpydde was found reporting good results on mice that didn’t even exist. [2]

“Our entire FrankNFrzerol program is shut down since its premise was based on data from non-existent mice,” Mantissa Polatis said.

“What?  How could you let that happen?” Rupert roared, frothing at the mouth and suddenly towering over the cringing woman.  “You’re the Vice President of Research!  Can’t you control your department?”

“But I’ve only been here for three days,” Mantissa said as she shivered in her chair.

“Oh.  Still, plenty of time to find the problems and shift the blame,” Rupert said as he glanced around and sat down.  “Yes, and where did you find these non-existent mice?”

“That’s the problem, they never existed,” Mantissa said.  “No such mice were ever protected from saturated fatty acid-induced atherosclerosis.  So the decision for Cappuccino Pharmaceuticals to proceed might never have happened.”

Rupert put his head on the table and moaned.  “So we wasted millions of dollars chasing rainbows again?  Can’t we ever do real experiments that work?”  He sat up and announced, “I’m revising my plan.  Maybe we should drop out of therapeutics and move into medical devices.  I read about this stomach sucker patent [3] and I figure the next step is a brain sucker.”

“Is that a lollipop for zombies?” Ima Punk asked.

“Very funny,” Rupert said with no hint of a smile.  “This is serious.”  He waggled his fingers over his tablet, then showed the glowing surface to the Board members.  “It says here the original patent might be a treatment for morbid obesity without invasive surgery.  Patients can eat and drink as much as they like. Twenty minutes later, they drain their stomach by connecting a pump to a valve surgically installed on their abdominal wall.”

“That might destroy the game of beer pong,” the CFO said.  “But besides losing our appetites, what are you proposing here?”

“Well, so the logical next step is to attach a brain pump.  Then 20 minutes after watching TV, you can get all the crap sucked back out.  Or, if you’re watching Factsless News, leave the pump running.”

Mantissa sighed.  “What kind of budget will I get for this?”