Pharmaceutical Sales Success: Do Looks Really Matter?
All things being equal are you more likely to buy something from a more attractive or less attractive person?
One of the common misconceptions about pharmaceutical sales reps is that they are all extremely attractive. Whether male or female this misconception persists for several reasons. While many pharma sales reps tend to be seen as very attractive by their peers and associates. There are many who are as average looking as in any other profession. BUT, I do believe their is a correlation between "perceived attractiveness" and success in business. This applies even more so to pharma sales. Think about it, all things being equal are you more likely to purchase a product from a more attractive or less attractive person? Of course, the salesperson's looks should not matter BUT in many instances perceived attractiveness makes a difference in from whom AND whether or not a prospect purchase a particular product or service.
(Ok, so I don't have hard evidence to back up my opinion, but I do have 29 years of life experience and 6 years as a pharmaceutical sales rep.)
For example, during my time in pharma sales I went to a few large medical trade shows a year. At these trade shows like Pri-Med, I noticed one particular tactic many companies use quite successfully. Many companies would staff their corporate booths with very attractive females, (sometimes even going as far as hiring models who were not actual pharma sales reps). The rationale behind this is that most of the target customers, physicians, were males aged 40 and older, who seemed to naturally gravitate towards the booths staffed by the attractive women. Is this right or wrong? Biology or vanity, or both?
I also remember times where physicians would allow good looking female reps to meet with them while the male reps requesting to meet with him were left in the waiting room, ostensibly on the outside looking in.
Studies have shown that people who are seen as more attractive tend to be more successful at business and sales.
Is pharma sales success all about the glitz & glamor?
So back to my original question:
All things being equal are you more likely to buy something from a more attractive or less attractive person? On the flip side, are you more likely to hire a candidate perceived as attractive or a candidate perceived as just average looking?
I welcome your thoughts on this topic.
PS: Don't let attractiveness or "perceived attractiveness" hinder you from going after your goal. It's not whats on the outside but whats on the inside that matters most in life.