5 steps to sampling your product like a pharma brand
Providing free samples to healthcare professionals is the single most effective marketing tactic of pharmaceutical brands, and they spend billions annually to do it. So, lately I’ve been wondering why more non-prescription health and wellness brands don’t employ the same practices. After all, nutritionists, dieticians and other alternative healthcare providers would be thrilled to offer samples of quality products to their clients, and unlike pharmaceutical brands, there are no legal limitations to how and how often health and wellness brands can sample.
If you market a nutraceutical food or beverage or a dietary supplement, consider the benefits of providing samples to highly respected alternative healthcare providers or diabetic counselors in your region. Even if you are marketing a special tea or nutrition bar, there are fitness trainers, acupuncturists and even midwives who find your product complements their goals. I challenge you to make a list of possible alliances and consider making sales calls soon.
To get you started, here are 5 steps pharmaceutical sales reps use in the field. You can use them, too:
Set up a sales call
Call ahead to ask if an office is interested in free samples or simply drop by with lunch and a 3-minute pitch. However you choose to initiate a relationship, keep it simple and make it clear that you’re there to support the healthcare professional. If they are interested in more detailed information, let them know you can return at their convenience, and be sure to follow up.
Prepare a plan before you make a sales call. What are you trying to achieve? Choose one statement that sums up the value of your product, keep testimonials on hand, and don’t forget to bring samples of your product.
You can’t afford to give product away without a return on that investment. Choose your targets wisely and provide only a small number of samples. Let the healthcare professionals know they are welcome to request more if needed. This gives you the chance to follow up and gauge the impact of your efforts.
Follow up to find out who the healthcare professional has given your product to and how it was received. Ask as many questions as possible about why it was suggested, how it will help the patient or client, and whether or not it was well received. Everything you learn, both positive and negative, can help you in future marketing efforts.
Add Value at Every Call
The more information and support you provide at each office call, the better your relationships with the alternative medicine/therapeutic community will be. Building a reputation as a health and wellness partner may lead to word-of-mouth marketing, and in today’s social landscape, that is always the best kind.
If you are marketing a non-prescription health and wellness brand, and you believe in sampling, please write in and let tell me more about your tactics and results.
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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/4580248994/”>Mr. T in DC</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.