Andrew Hui

Prognosis is healthy for medical sales

Wong Yat-Hei

As the global middle class continues to grow - especially in Asia - health awareness is improving and the demand for pharmaceutical products has never been higher. Professional sales staff with good knowledge of medicine play an important role in providing medical practitioners with the latest drug developments.

Andrew Hui, Asia-Pacific sales and marketing director for ALK-Abello, travels to Europe frequently to bring back European pharmaceutical products to the mainland market. His clients are doctors and nurses.

"As in any industry, medical-sales staff should have good communication skills and product knowledge," he says.

Understanding a client's background is the key to success. "Good salespeople should try to understand a client's social network. Find out who his or her 'influential others' are. You should also understand the 'buying circle' - who is the gatekeeper, who is the decision-maker. Believe that there is nothing you cannot sell, but never forget business ethics. These are very important," Hui says.

Many pharmaceutical-product sellers have educational backgrounds in life sciences such as biology, chemistry and biochemistry, or a business management degree in areas such as marketing or business administration. Newcomers generally start as sales representatives and move up to account managers, sales managers and district sales managers.

As the market for pharmaceutical products in Asia continues to grow as demand rises, opportunities in pharmaceutical sales can only follow.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Prognosis is healthy for medical sales