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Jun 5, 2009 12:42 pm

There seems to be a lot of people trying to get into the financial planning industry nowadays from other fields.  I'm getting the sense from a lot of newbies on here that its more of a "Nobody else is hiring right now, I figure I'll try (insert random firm) for a while and see how it goes.  I'm a hard worker and can deal with the hustle and bustle of getting clients, I know it.  I've never failed at anything!" feel right now.  Are people piling in here because there's nothing else better out there and they need a temporary job until the economy picks back up, or are there the same demographics as there has been the past 10+ years?  In your opinions?

Jun 5, 2009 1:24 pm

I can tell you what's happening.  I live in a pharma-rich area, and all those guys that get laid off are being courted by the wirehouses offices that have lost people, and think they would be good "salesmen."

Jun 5, 2009 1:41 pm

I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm in the "laid off pharma" boat.  I'm not looking for some "temporary" job.... I am looking to start a successful second career.  The pharma industry is dead.  This is not a setback.  The industry will never look like it did ten years ago.

Sorry if is newbies are annoying you by storming in here.  I have sought employment in my industry for over a year now.  Eventually, savings will run out.  Am I supposed to have my wife and kids starve?

It's obvious that you don't buy in to the stories of " I'm a hard worker and can deal with the hustle and bustle of getting clients, I know it.  I've never failed at anything!"

You might now buy into it, but fome firms sure are, because they are hiring these people.

You may not have any faith in me or my colleages who are looking to be successful, but I believe in myself and so does my family.  I went from being a homeless 1st generation American living out of my car to an executive with a masters degree with a six-figure income.  Many successful people have experienced multiple setbacks and failures in life, but have kept coming back.  Lok at Donald Trump... better yet, look at Abraham Lincoln.

Yes, 9 out of 10 of us newbies will fail.  That's the way this industry is.  Keep in mind that 1 in 10 will be successful.  Would you rather see people who say, "I don't think I have what it takes!  This work looks too hard!  I'm going to give it a try anyway!"

I find it interesting when people accomplish something extremely difficult, some of them become convinced that nobody else will be able to achieve it.

Jun 5, 2009 1:58 pm
MBA2FA:

I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm in the "laid off pharma" boat.  I'm not looking for some "temporary" job.... I am looking to start a successful second career.  The pharma industry is dead.  This is not a setback.  The industry will never look like it did ten years ago.

Sorry if is newbies are annoying you by storming in here.  I have sought employment in my industry for over a year now.  Eventually, savings will run out.  Am I supposed to have my wife and kids starve?

It's obvious that you don't buy in to the stories of " I'm a hard worker and can deal with the hustle and bustle of getting clients, I know it.  I've never failed at anything!"

You might now buy into it, but fome firms sure are, because they are hiring these people.

You may not have any faith in me or my colleages who are looking to be successful, but I believe in myself and so does my family.  I went from being a homeless 1st generation American living out of my car to an executive with a masters degree with a six-figure income.  Many successful people have experienced multiple setbacks and failures in life, but have kept coming back.  Lok at Donald Trump... better yet, look at Abraham Lincoln.

Yes, 9 out of 10 of us newbies will fail.  That's the way this industry is.  Keep in mind that 1 in 10 will be successful.  Would you rather see people who say, "I don't think I have what it takes!  This work looks too hard!  I'm going to give it a try anyway!"

I find it interesting when people accomplish something extremely difficult, some of them become convinced that nobody else will be able to achieve it.

 
ARe you talking about drug reps that call on doctors? What happened to the industry to cause the layoffs?
Jun 5, 2009 2:10 pm
MBA2FA:

I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm in the "laid off pharma" boat.  I'm not looking for some "temporary" job.... I am looking to start a successful second career.  The pharma industry is dead.  This is not a setback.  The industry will never look like it did ten years ago.

Sorry if is newbies are annoying you by storming in here.  I have sought employment in my industry for over a year now.  Eventually, savings will run out.  Am I supposed to have my wife and kids starve?

It's obvious that you don't buy in to the stories of " I'm a hard worker and can deal with the hustle and bustle of getting clients, I know it.  I've never failed at anything!"

You might now buy into it, but fome firms sure are, because they are hiring these people.

You may not have any faith in me or my colleages who are looking to be successful, but I believe in myself and so does my family.  I went from being a homeless 1st generation American living out of my car to an executive with a masters degree with a six-figure income.  Many successful people have experienced multiple setbacks and failures in life, but have kept coming back.  Lok at Donald Trump... better yet, look at Abraham Lincoln.

Yes, 9 out of 10 of us newbies will fail.  That's the way this industry is.  Keep in mind that 1 in 10 will be successful.  Would you rather see people who say, "I don't think I have what it takes!  This work looks too hard!  I'm going to give it a try anyway!"

I find it interesting when people accomplish something extremely difficult, some of them become convinced that nobody else will be able to achieve it.

 
Actually, I had no idea anyone on this forum was a pharma rep (former).  I was not making a statement that they can't make it.  Actually, I think their skill set is pretty well aligned with our industry.  Good salespeople make good advisors.  Sorry if I infered anything about you personally.
 
I was really just commenting on the trend I am seeing in my area.  But you are right, big pharma is dead (from an employment perspective).  To steal a term from pro sports, that industry is "re-loading and re-tooling".  They will come out leaner and stronger, but it's going to take years and lots of casualties.
 
On the bright side, if you do even moderately well, you will find this industry much more rewarding and enjoyable than pharma "repping".
Jun 5, 2009 2:12 pm

"ARe you talking about drug reps that call on doctors? What happened to the industry to cause the layoffs? "

 
Seriously?  I hope you are just an annuity salesman that doesn't follow the markets.
Jun 5, 2009 2:25 pm
MBA2FA:


Eventually, savings will run out.  Am I supposed to have my wife and kids starve?

I went from being a homeless 1st generation American living out of my car to an executive with a masters degree with a six-figure income.

 
Sounds like you took a step backwards to me.
Jun 5, 2009 3:01 pm

"I have risen to the top of sales forces multiple times and I have always started from scratch and never have needed to call on my friends if I didn't want to."

 
"I am looking to start a successful second career." 
 
How have you risen to the top multiple times if this is only your second career?
Jun 5, 2009 3:30 pm
anonymous:

"I have risen to the top of sales forces multiple times and I have always started from scratch and never have needed to call on my friends if I didn't want to."

 
"I am looking to start a successful second career." 
 
How have you risen to the top multiple times if this is only your second career?
 
Don't forget he used to sell vacuums door to door.
Jun 5, 2009 4:05 pm

There's nothing wrong with selling vacuums.  If he did that, more power to him.


MBA2FA, Please take my questions to you and my comments at face value.   They are just questions and I'm not trying to be a jerk.


Don't believe the 9 out of 10 failure statistics.  It is true that 9 (maybe more) out of 10 fail, but the numbers change drastically if we only look at the people who do what needs to be done on a daily basis.
Jun 5, 2009 4:48 pm
B24:

"ARe you talking about drug reps that call on doctors? What happened to the industry to cause the layoffs? "

 
Seriously?  I hope you are just an annuity salesman that doesn't follow the markets.
 
I think you will be pleased. Thanks to you and everyone like you, for losing your client's money, so we can clean up your mess and clean up on commissions.
Jun 5, 2009 7:23 pm

Okay, I guess I need to clarify a few things.  Yes, this is my second "career"  I am not counting multiple sales jobs I had in college as careers.  While in school, if an employer couldn't work with my school schedule, I got a different job.  For awhile, I had lots of night classes, so I worked as a telemarketer during the day.  When I had a full day schedule, I switched to sell vacuum cleaners at night, etc

To those who are wondering, here's why big pharma is going bust... it's the business model:  Companies research to bring new drugs to market.  On average, it costs about $1 billion to bring a new drug to market. Last I checked, about 1 out of 20 drugs that enter phase three trials will ever be launched.  So if a drug actually makes it, they have to charge $50 a pill (or whatever) to recoup the cost of R&D, the cost of all the drugs that failed... oh yea... you also have to pay to market and distribute the drug too. 

As everyone knows, these drugs have patent protection when they start out.  What many people don't realize is that you apply for the patent when you initially discover the compound.  Most of the time, you have eaten up 12-15 years of the patent life before you sell a single pill.  After you go generic, any joker can sell your $50 pill for $2, so basically, you completely stop promoting the pill the day after it goes generic.  So, what do you do then?  Companies must continually invent new pills that do better things.

One of the markets I have worked in is the hypertension marketplace... very crowded.  There are more than 30 GOOD options for medications for blood pressure that all work.  Most of these are generic.  Why would a doctor prescribe a $20 pill when a $0.50 pill will do?  In many cases, he won't! 

Pharmaceutical companies have been scrambling to develop new medications that have clear benefits over existing treatments.  These are getting harder to find because each time a new compound is discovered, the bar is raised, so next time, you have to come up with even better stuff.  Sure, there are lots of strategies to extend patents and modify the drug to extend the product life-cycle, but eventually, everything goes generic.

So what do you do when a $10 billion drug does generic?  Forget sales growth!  You need to come up with $10 billion in new product sales just to replace a product that evaporated overnight!

In the end, you have to lay people off.  It's not that the marketing department and your sales force weren't effective... you just don't have anything for them to sell!

If fact, you can't even blame the researchers.. sometimes the FDA just says "Thanks for trying... we're not going to approve this drug."

Just like FA's have to fill their prospect funnel, pharma companies have to fill their product pipeline funnel.  Unfortunately, there is no way to predict which drugs are going to make it and which ones aren't... and it costs lots of money to find out.



Jun 5, 2009 9:47 pm

Come on now... Pfizer had something like $10 billion in cash(premerger).. The reason sales people are getting laid off is because hospitals,clinics and other medical facilities are no longer accepting brides(trips, meals, etc) so the sales people aren't really needed(were they ever?). They aren't cutting back in research, just sales.



There was no reason to pay someone $125K to go talk to doctors about what they already know about the drugs..

Jun 5, 2009 10:28 pm
chief123:

Come on now... Pfizer had something like $10 billion in cash(premerger).. The reason sales people are getting laid off is because hospitals,clinics and other medical facilities are no longer accepting brides(trips, meals, etc) so the sales people aren't really needed(were they ever?). They aren't cutting back in research, just sales.



There was no reason to pay someone $125K to go talk to doctors about what they already know about the drugs..



That's a pretty harsh generalization. Not entirely unfounded... but not entirely accurate.

I worked in sales analytics and I can tell you that pharma companies are very sophisticated with their marketing spend.  We would analyze every terrory for potential and ROI.  We would measure the impact of territory vacancies.  Depending on the product and the potential, we would often leave territories vacant if the ROI of placing a rep was not worth the expense.

The fact is, many doctors are quite ignorant about the drugs they use and are so busy working that they use pharma reps as their primary source of knowledge.  There are multiple marketing studies (check out the marketing department website for University of Chicago Graduate School of Business) that show the direct link between detailing physicians and product use... even for drugs that have been on the market for a long time.

As for the bribery stuff... I was never allowed to do that... I could buy lunches for offices in order to do sales presenatations... typical spending limits were $10-$15 per head.  I was never given a "Bribe money" budget.. I'm not exacly sure how I would enter that in on my expense report.

The PHRMA guidelines that restriced marketing activities were put in place long before the industry started to crash.

Just because Michael Moore made a movie about something, doesn't make it so.

Jun 5, 2009 10:34 pm

I have a client who used to run a large clinic for Advocate, and was offered everything from US Open Tickets, Sporting Events, Etc... But Advocate said no doctors allowed to take anything from pharma reps, so they stopped coming.



I find it hard to believe that doctors get all their info from pharma reps... That is like saying I am going to choose a mutual fund because the wholesaler said it was good(but actually way worse because the dr went to med school where the pharma rep normally didn't)..



I equate Pharma Sales to people who sell beer and wine.. You aren't really "selling" so much as an order taker.

Jun 5, 2009 11:11 pm

I've heard accounts similar to MBA2FA from other pharma reps and doctors.
Family doctors are seeing 15-20 patients a day. They don't have time to do due diligence on medications. When they find a rep that is knowledgable that they can trust, they prescribe his products.



Jun 6, 2009 1:31 am

Of course doctors don't get all their info from reps.  They are required to take continuing education classes each year (called CME)

These can be quite expensive.  Fortunately, you can get all your credits for free at a Pri-Med conference http://pri-med.com/pmo/Home.aspx

It just so happens that these conferences are generously hosted by the pharma companies.  For your convenience, we have placed a 500,000 square foot exhibition hall of pharmaceutical exhibitors in the "Lobby" of the classroom area.  Don't forget to stop by the Pfizer booth for your free cappuccino.  Also stop by between 2-4 PM and have Lorainne Bracco from the "Sopranos" sign your free copy of her latest book on Bipolar Disorder.

Gee I miss big pharma...

Jun 6, 2009 7:24 am
chief123:

Come on now... Pfizer had something like $10 billion in cash(premerger).. The reason sales people are getting laid off is because hospitals,clinics and other medical facilities are no longer accepting brides(trips, meals, etc) so the sales people aren't really needed(were they ever?). They aren't cutting back in research, just sales.

There was no reason to pay someone $125K to go talk to doctors about what they already know about the drugs..

 
Chief - I used to date the HIV pricing strategist at GSK and I can tell you that MBA is correct.  Sales people aren't the only people who get laid off.  A lady whose little girl dances with mine also got laid off.  She has a Ph. D. in microbology as well as a Pharm D.  And she was in R & D.
 
Also, in med school physician candidates are given classes in pharmacology, but often not as specific as the latest and greatest drug.  It is highly unlikely that your average oncologist knows that much about how Provenge works, since it hasn't quite made it to market yet.
 
Jun 6, 2009 8:20 am

i don't know about everyone else, but if a post is more than 5 lines, i usually do not read it.
especially, when it is someone writing a 30 line post about themselves...

For me to read more than 5 lines, it must be: interesting, funny, rude, sexy or ignorant (in a funny way).

just my 2cents


Jun 6, 2009 10:22 am

Chief, as I said before, I live in a very pharma-rich area. MBA is right. It's hard to be cynical about it. The model is destined to fail eventually, as there are only a limited number of compounds that could ever work (well, not necessarily, but economically speaking, that is the case). It was sort of like tech in the early 90's. Lots of companies discovering new technologies like crazy. At some point you find diminishing returns, as there are only so many useful applications of technology.



So yes, you can blame the government, pharma, managed care, whatever. But the truth is that there are only so many ailments left to fix, and only so many compounds to satisfy them.



Biotech is the new frontier in pharma.