„Tell me your patient story… I don’t listen…“

“Yeah, yeah…. and then the patient lived happily for many more years…” The answer of the Doctor was quite cynic.

The sales rep did everything she was expected to. She was well trained, she perfectly knew the clinical trial data as well as the benefits of her product. More than this, she was committed to present the patient stories she has been provided to. So, what did drive the harsh reaction of the doctor?

Recently, a dermatologist told me he has to listen to 4 to 5 “patient stories” every week. He added “I can tell from the very beginning how they will end; all stories are the same. It’s like watching the same movie 3 times a day”.

Most pharmaceutical companies use the power of stories; for good reasons. Unfortunately, they seem to forget two fundamental rules of good stories.

First: good stories are tailored to the audience. Stories are like pyjamas, “one size fits all” never worked.

Second: good stories have the audience as hero. Your stakeholders, like all humans, will be most attracted by stories about themselves.

Last year, a haematology rep launching a new therapy, provided a great example of how to do it. The rep was meeting a very experienced haematologist, known for being a late adopter. The rep just asked “Doctor, do you remember the struggles you had with Diabetes patients and the relief you had when the first biosynthetic human insulin was available? (ed. Humulin, in 1982)”. “Oh yes, I remember very well Humulin. That was a revolution!! I felt so proud and relieved to have this new option!”. The doctor continued sharing his memories with shining eyes. Thereafter the rep just replied “Doctor, now you have this new therapy in haematology. You can change the life of Haemophilia patients as you did in the past for diabetes patients”. No need to say, the doctor didn’t hesitate long…

Do you have tailored stories with your customer as hero?