What Does a Medical Sales Representative Do?

A medical sales representative may meet with a pharmacist.
Medical sales representatives may produce and distribute information about new treatments to doctors and hospitals.
Medical sales representatives may meet directly with doctors in an attempt to sell their drugs to hospitals.
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  • Written By: Meghan Perry
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2015
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A medical sales representative generally works in one of two areas: pharmaceutical sales or medical equipment sales. The main goal is the same, however, which is to sell medical products to people, such as doctors, pharmacists, and scientists, and organizations, such as hospitals and clinics. Communication skills and people skills, along with extensive product knowledge, are important aspects of the job of a medical sales representative.

There are also two types of medical sales, inside sales and outside sales. Inside sales representatives generally work from one location and communicate with their clients mainly through telephone conversations and e-mails as opposed to face-to-face. They usually contact their clients not only to sell the product but also to follow up and answer questions clients may have.

Outside sales representatives usually meet directly with clients, such as doctors or pharmacists, for example. An outside medical sales representative often travels extensively and is usually assigned a region or territory in which to work. As these representatives travel to meet with clients, they are often responsible for demonstrating products. This may be done through informational presentations.


In addition to setting up and attending meetings with clients, medical sales representatives may also put together conferences to promote their products. In this case, many clients are brought together in one place to learn about the products. Medical sales representatives should have extensive knowledge so they can provide as much information as possible. As these products are in the medical field, knowledge of medical terminology is important to be able to communicate effectively with clients.

Being a medical sales representative may also require contacting potential clients as well to increase the number of accounts and to increase sales. Once a potential client is contacted, the representative is responsible for identifying what the client may need and then persuading the client that they need the particular product the representative sells. After the client has been persuaded, the medical sales representative closes the sale and then provides follow-up to ensure the client is satisfied. Generally, medical sales representatives have sales targets that they aim to meet, either weekly, monthly, or annually.

Another aspect of the job of a medical sales representative is to study data and research on their own products as well as on their competitors' products. The more knowledge a medical sales representative has, the better foundation he or she will have to close a sale with the client. Most medical sales representatives specialize in what they sell and develop ongoing relationships with clients.


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