Sales skills for medical writers

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a medical writer, not a salesperson. Why would I need sales skills? The truth is, we all need to ‘sell’ our way through our careers (and lives!), even if we don’t know we’re doing it.

As a newbie in the wonderful world of Med Comms, but with a background in medical sales and marketing, I’ve been having a think about how the two worlds are intertwined.

Sell yourself

Whether in everyday life or at work, there is always an aspect of having to sell (or promote) ourselves to others. You should be proud of who you are, your interests and hobbies. Even if they’re not as mainstream as others, like an unusual love of Rod Stewart for example, our interests make us who we are and can often endear us to others. Never be afraid to ‘sell’ who you are to your friends and colleagues; you’re the only you there is . Being confident in yourself and what you can bring to table can help in many ways such as when chatting to clients, joining calls with KOLs, liaising with other stakeholders, and winning new clients.

Sell your skills

Let’s face it, to have entered the field of medical writing you’ll undoubtedly have a lot of experience in the wild world of science and/or medicine. Whether in an interview situation, when talking to colleagues or meeting new clients, don’t be afraid to ‘sell’ your skill set. In the words of Liam Neeson, ‘I have a very special set of skills…’ and these will be applicable in different ways to Med Comms, so make sure you shout about them. For example, illustration skills can be used to liven up a PowerPoint deck and social media skills can be great for promotion of the company. Although I’ve yet to re-purpose my skill, ‘removing intestinal tapeworms with chopsticks ’…

Sell your subject

When you’re writing, whether you realise it or not, you’re always ‘selling’ your subject matter. Whether you’re discussing favourable data for a medical product, or writing up a meeting report, or breaking down the intricacies if immunology for a non-medical reader, your words need to sell the subject. This means to make it interesting to read, accurate, understandable, and relatable, and ultimately to make someone want to read on . Hint: Grammarly is a great tool when you need a bit of support or inspiration on your wording!

Sell your brief

Once you’ve finished a brief and are ready to send it back to the client, make sure you ‘sell’ it ! You worked hard on that slide deck/training doc/congress report so make sure they know. A brief description of what you’ve done and why can really highlight the amount of thought and effort you’ve put into something, so don’t sell yourself short! Give yourself a pat on the back; that’s another successful brief, done!

My top three tips for medical writers (earned from my marketing days) are:

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you think something could be done differently/better.
  2. When writing promotional pieces, less is more (within reason!)
  3. Try and inject some personality into your work where possible!

So, whilst as a medical writer you probably don’t think of yourself as being in sales (and we’re lucky to not be constantly immersed in sales figures and targets 24/7), there are some hidden ‘sales skills’ that we can all use without even thinking about it. Happy selling!

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