Pharmaceutical sales isn’t the type of career one just gets into. You have to be driven by your passion and purpose. In this episode, Samuel sits down with Eric Knotts, Field Sales Professional of a pharmaceutical company. Eric shares how he got his start in the industry and how he’s continually evolved in the rapidly changing field. The key? Focusing on your purpose and fine-tuning your weakness. Tune in to hear more of Eric’s journey and get more tips that will help you enter and succeed in the realm of medical sales.
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How He Got Into Pharmaceutical Sales With Eric Knotts
We have with us another special guest and this is Eric Knotts. What makes him unique is he was someone that wanted to get into the pharmaceutical sales industry and he found our show, which led him to what we do here at Evolve Your Success. He took one of our programs. He got into the position of his dreams and then came back again to take our sales training. Now, he is truly living his best life.
Last time, we had Brett with us. Brett was a medical device sales rep that wanted to get into a better position, and he found the program. Eric was someone that was outside of the industry. He was in sales and he wanted to get into pharmaceutical sales specifically. He was able to make that happen through our program.
I want to have him on and tell his story because it is so nice to see someone that started. He found us and got the position in January 2021. Now, in 2022, a year and a few months later, he is living a completely different life and he is still working with us in our sales training program. It is a beautiful thing to see.
His evolution has been amazing to see. It is something that I believe should be shared, so people know what is being experienced out there and they can get their own insights on what this industry means from a couple of different perspectives. I am not going to spoil it. I will say no more. As always, thank you for reading and I do hope you enjoy this interview.
Eric, how are we doing?
I’m good. How are you doing, Samuel?
No complaints. I’m glad to have you on the show because you went through our programs. You had some of our programs with Evolve Your Success. We have become friends through all the work we have done together. I thought it is good that people get to know your experience and what it is led to where you are now. With no more of me spoiling it, why don’t you tell everybody who you are and what you do?
My name is Eric Knotts. I am a pharmaceutical sales rep in the mental health space for CNS or the anti-psychotics, I won’t get into too much detail, but it is a very rewarding career. I got to where I want to be partly because of you. I was hitting a dead end and the interview process. I was getting to the point where I would get an interview and not even hear anything back. I would get to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of interviews and then again not hearing anything back. My resume was great, but I knew there was something missing.
I read every book I could find. I listened to every podcast I could find, which was only one at that time. I think now there are a few more, but yours was the only one. When I was listening to it, I could tell that you knew what you were talking about and a lot of the points you were making hit home. For me, I knew that one of my weaknesses was confidence and having that ability to get through the interview itself because I was selling myself on paper if I was getting those interviews. There was something lacking in the actual interview itself. I remember giving you the call, went to a restaurant, and celebrated that night. It was awesome, but it feels like so long ago now.If you want to keep getting the results you are getting, then continue doing exactly what you have been doing. If you want to change those results, you need to change that up. Click To Tweet
How long ago was that?
That was 2021. It would have been the beginning of January.
Now, as a pharmaceutical sales professional, you feel like you have been locked in for a minute. It doesn’t feel new at all?
The weird thing is that the same thing that I was working on in the interview is brought up in different places because now that I got comfortable with the interview process, I’m getting comfortable with the actual job itself. You have seen me evolve. What I like about the program is you are able to pinpoint the things and the areas where you need the work done.
That is what the value of both of your programs provides. I know it is quite a bit different than when I took the program, but I would highly recommend at least the program to get you the job. Samuel and his team are awesome. They will be able to guide you through and not only get you the job but get you to excel after getting the job. We still got work to do, though.
That is why I like you being on the show because you got to experience the program in its earlier stages. Now, it is so much more built out and we have such a larger team and so many people are working with us to ensure that everybody that comes to our table gets success. What I love is that you use our program to get into the position, and then you are still with us with our sales training.
As you said, you have been experiencing a rapid-fire understanding of how to perform at your highest level in this position, and you are doing it. Talk to us a little bit about what the experience has been like. When we were working on your interview and you had a perception of what the industry would be like, now you are in it and we are working together. What is it like? Talk to us a little bit about it.
My perception of the industry, first of all, has definitely been changed. It was an interesting time to join the pharmaceutical sales industry for multiple reasons. Everything is in flux with COVID and a lot of the medical environment has changed over time, but it changed within a few years rapidly. It feels like things are somewhat getting back to normal, but I still hear to this day, “A few years ago, if you were here would have been a lot different.” That forced me to become more creative and a better rep because I had to get through access barriers that weren’t presently there. I have to get a little bit more creative with how I approach my customers.
Everyone is a little bit cautious now. It keeps me grounded and focused on strategy rather than the daily messaging that a lot of reps get used to. Your program has helped me pinpoint where I need to strategize and maybe brainstorm ideas of how I can penetrate some of those barriers that are now present with the pandemic in general with myself, as I once stated. A least for you and I, you had found that it was a confidence thing with myself and I have ten times the confidence I had before, but I still think there is room for growth.
I want you to speak about that. There are people reading this who might be someone that has been watching the medical sales industry and they heard about medical device and pharmaceutical, and they are not sure what it means, where they should go, and what they should be doing. Why would you say that it is necessary to have something like a service that can get you into a position? What would you say to someone that is reading this now?At the end of the day, helping people is what gets you through. Click To Tweet
A lot of the advice that is out there is cookie cutter. It is going to be basic services. As I said, I have read tons of books even before I put on your show. I noticed that some of the advice was very generic, repetitive, and that is where you separate from everyone else or every other program, at least that I had looked at that time. Not to say there are no good books or anything like that, but I would say that the differentiating factor is that you and your team were able to fine-tune exactly what it is that I needed versus like, “Here is a general approach that works for everybody.”
It is such a rapidly changing industry, the things that used to work for everybody necessarily work now. Some things like networking, obviously, are important. There are some principles that always hold true, but with things shifting to the internet, Zoom, and virtual, it has changed a lot. You have seen that in your own career. I have seen it in my time and we are going to continue to see that.
First of all, you nailed it. It is shifting fast and because of COVID, everything that we all experienced has been a catalyst for the direction we all are headed anyway. I talk about it all the time that we were headed towards this virtual world. Everybody was, not just in medical sales, but because of COVID, medical sales realized that, “We got to catch up too.” Now, we are all trying to make sense of it and hoping that it works.
One thing I want to know and share with the audience, you see value in getting services as you progress through your career. There are people out there right now that are in the field, and they are reading this. What would you say to them about why it is helpful to have a resource outside of your organization that can give you an added education on how you can perform better in the field and move further along in your career in the medical sales world?
It goes back to if you want to keep continuing getting the results that you are getting, then continue doing exactly what you have been doing. If you want to change those results, you need to change that up. More than anything, you and your team have such a wide 10,000-foot view of everything because you see the medical sales industry as a whole, whereas I’m only able to see this narrow sector of my company and the way that they provide training.
I even learned from people from other companies. It is true because everyone has a different style. The moment that you commit yourself to learn and grow continually, that is the moment when you are going to start to see things that you wouldn’t ever have imagined a few years ago, even. I’m seeing it already. I’m seeing things happen. I could already imagine myself promoting in a year or two. I was trying to get the job before, so it was a whole different battle. It takes growth. There are some people that maybe have that continual dedication and are willing to learn on their own, but it is hard to learn if you don’t have that feedback from others.
That is 100% correct. It is hard to learn if you don’t get that feedback from others. One thing I want to also get from you, Eric, is I want you to speak to those people that have not made a move yet into medical sales and they are thinking about it, wanting to do it, or trying to do it. What would you tell them to look out for after they get into the position? Not so much what they need to do to get the interview, but more so when they are in the role, what do they need to look out for?
It goes back to you and this is the way I think. It is not for everybody, but don’t become complacent. Don’t get comfortable with the way things are being done. As I have said, things are rapidly changing. The industry is changing itself. Individual companies are changing. They are doing a lot of restructuring right now. With my company in particular and I know a lot of other companies are too.
Especially in the pharmaceutical industry, smaller companies get bought out by larger ones. The moment you become complacent, you can get left in the dust. Commit yourself and also commit yourself to the fact that things will change, but you can adapt to it. That is exactly what I have been doing with you on a one-on-one basis. I know you also have a whole team behind you that you can get workshops and fine-tune exactly what it is that you need to work on because everyone is going to adapt differently to change.
Some people freak out by it. Some people run away from it. Some people attack it head-on, but it is good to see those things that you need to work on to get to the next level because, as I said, it is not only competitive, but it is rapidly changing. That is not to scare anybody off but that is more to say, “Prepare yourself for what you are going to go through.” It can be stressful, but it is very rewarding at the same time.The one that makes the sale, believe it or not, is the one that is there for the patient. Click To Tweet
At the end of the day, you are helping out patients. I don’t see how there can be many jobs aside from being a doctor itself. There are a few other jobs I’m sure that are more purpose-focused and patient-centric where the impact can be seen a few weeks out from when you were there with those doctors talking to them. You are helping people and that is, at the end of the day, what gets you through. The change part doesn’t matter. It is the patient and you got to stay focused on your why and your purpose. That is why a lot of people stay in it.
That segues right into my next question. I was going to ask you, why shouldn’t someone get into pharmaceutical sales?
If you are getting into it for the money, that is a bad reason. There are easier jobs to pursue if you are going to go in it for the money itself. If you are getting into it for any other reason other than to challenge yourself and also to fulfill that calling that I was talking about, at the end of the day, you are helping out that patient.
The doctors that you call on were see through the ones that are there to help the patients and the ones that are there to sell. When they pick that up on you, the one that makes the sale, believe it or not, is the one that is there for the patient. It makes sense, but you would think it is those hard closers, but that is not how it works in the medical sales field.
You are talking to highly-educated people who, I would say, for the most part, are in it for the patients as well. They will see through that. That is what my advice would be if you are considering anything. If you are in sales and you think this is the pinnacle of sales and makes the best money. There are those that can do well if they are competitive, but as I said, at the end of the day, it is got to be about that focus because that is what is going to get you through.
The money will come and go. It will be a by-product of you focusing on that purpose and fine-tuning your weaknesses, as I said. It is a lot to know. You have got to know sales, disease states, about patients, industry, insurance plans, and a lot of stuff. The more you work on it, the doctors and customers will see that. At the end of the day, the patients will benefit the most from that.
I got one more question for you, Eric. Answer it the best you can, but I want to know from your end because even though it feels like you have been doing this for a minute, you are relatively new. You got into the game of medical sales in 2021 and we are only in 2022, but you have already experienced so much.
For those reading that want to get into the industry, when it comes to what field they come from because we have helped people from all kinds of fields, teachers, customer service, salespeople, and people that are hung up on, “I don’t have the science. I don’t have the sales,” what would you say it is about from your experience as far as getting into a role like yours?
It is not about what you know when you get in. It is your dedication to being willing to learn those things. You may not know those things. Sales is a skill like anything else. It can be learned. Medicine and learning the medical terminology, the disease states, and becoming comfortable with it just takes practice.
I was someone that had a science background and maybe that is why I was a little bit more comfortable with the science and a little bit less comfortable with the sales side of things, even though I do have a sales background, no matter where you are, anything can be learned. It is a skill. As long as it is a skill, somebody has been in the same place before, done it, and excelled at it.
Sometimes, I think that the best advice comes from my teammates and my partners that are from different backgrounds because people are from a science background, and I’m looking at it from a scientific way of looking at things. They are going to look at it from a microscope and dissect it and say, “What is the disease state and what are the symptoms?”
They want to learn all the intricacies of things. There are some people that have higher EQ and then there are some people that like to teach, as you were talking about teachers. You also have to remember to be a student too because doctors also love to teach. You have to be adaptable no matter what and be willing to learn.
If there is one skill that you got to have, it is that willingness, hunger, and desire to learn because if you do, there is nothing that is going to stop you. I have been at the bottom. I have been at the top. It took dedication and perseverance, but more than anything, it took me taking that chip off my shoulder and say, “I don’t know everything.” I got to stand back and assess what my weaknesses are and what I need to work on. That took that willingness to learn and that hunger.
Eric, it is an amazing thing to watch you grow. The fact that you started with us, you are still here doing things and making things happen. You are evolving as we very firmly believe in Evolve Your Success. You are living that. I’m so glad you are with us.
You too, Samuel. I appreciate you having me on the show.
That was Eric Knotts. Cool guy, right? I love that story because Eric is truly an example of evolving your success. He wanted something, found the resource, and made it happen. He wanted more, found the resource again, and he is making it happen. That is what this life is all about, evolving your success to have a bigger impact on the people around you, whether it’d be the patients, family, or the people in your inner circle. You want to have an impact and you want to do something good for them, so you are consistently evolving. You are reaping the rewards. They are reaping the rewards. Everybody is winning.
For anyone that is in the medical sales industry, I find it hard-pressed to not see that they care about significantly impacting people. You are impacting patients, doctors, providers, the staff, administrators, and a lot of people in this industry, but at the core of it, you are impacting the patient. It is hard to give it your all every day if you do not care about doing that. Most of the people that I have met care about doing that, and that is exciting.
It is exciting to be a part of, help people become a part of it, and help people thrive in it because we are all doing something that is so impactful. Your health is so important and to be a part of that mission is a wonderful thing. Maybe you are reading this episode and you are someone that wants to get into the industry. You have been thinking, “I want to make this happen. I’m not sure what to do.” You have put your name out there and got a few interviews, but nothing is happening or you have gone to a number of interviews, and you can’t get an offer.
I want you to go to EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Attain a Medical Sales Role and get in touch with someone that can help you, have a conversation, and get to the bottom of what you need to do and how you can make that happen. If you are someone out there that is infield and you are saying, “I want this year to be my most amazing year. I am ready to be the ultimate resource. I am ready to impact the patients that I somehow touch at the highest level.”
Again, visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance, get in contact with someone from the team, have a conversation, and learn what you can do to show up in a completely different new and impactful way. Why do we do this? It is because we care. We care about the growth of individuals, professionals, and what is happening to the patient, so why not be a part of the thing that happens when good talented people want to put their career focus and energy into doing better for patients? That is what we are all about.
It is all about evolving your success, and that continues. You can get the job, you can succeed in the job, you can get into leadership, you can succeed within leadership, and then you can take things to entirely new heights. You are consistently evolving and that is what we care about. As always, thank you for reading. Make sure you tune in next time for another episode and have yourself an amazing week.
About Eric Knotts
I am a pharmaceutical sales representative with a passion for learning and a strong desire to help others. I want to use the skills I’ve attained in my current role, along with the many valuable lessons I have learned from mentors and my own personal development to ultimately make a positive impact on the lives of the people who need it most.
“When I first embarked on my journey to break into the pharmaceutical sales industry, I was feeling quite discouraged. I was doing everything I could to really stand out, but only finding that I was able to make it to the first and second round of interviews. A full year and a half passed with many courses and certifications under my belt when I came across the Medical Sales Podcast by EYS.
From here, I heard about the Medical Sales Career Builder and immediately enrolled! I knew that I was doing something right to get me into the interviews, but something was still preventing me from getting past that final interview. The program gave me the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what it was that was holding me back. With Samuel’s coaching and after going through the relevant learning modules and workbooks, I completely mastered my approach to interviews. It turns out this is exactly what I needed to break through and get me the job. I was ecstatic when I got the job offer and I couldn’t have done it without Samuel’s help and support. Thank you Samuel!”