Selling suppositories

by Daniel Batten on October 15, 2009

Last week I was having lunch with Aki. Aki is a larger-than life 6 foot 3 German and a great all-round guy who also had the decency to agree when I asked him to join the board of a then-little  company called Biomatters some time ago.

We were talking about “Authenticity” after he foolishly volunteered to read my thesis last time we met called “Aesthetics, Authenticity and Anonymity: Responses to Poetry Using Electronic Meeting Technology”. He told me that when he started off in the Pharma industry they were all given sales-rep training. At his first post-training meeting, he not only failed to position the product, but the methods he was asked to use grated. He asked top sales people at the company “Hey does this sales training work?” They all said “No: be yourself but also have total  conviction in what you’re selling…”

The second meeting he went in and literally just made a connection, talked about the weather and started by saying “This is just the 2nd time I’ve done this, so I might stuff up, but lets just have a chat.” At the end he said “By the way, they want me to leave this with you”. “Whats that?” said the Dr. “Its a suppository – it’s supposed to be quite good.  “Leave it with me” replied the Dr.

How did Aki’s career work out? Not too bad – he got a little job as the EU President of Bristol Myers Squibb managing a budget of a handful of billion, before moving on to better things (he emigrating to New Zealand). One very intelligent person all around – showing once again what we already knew that connection matters more than perfection, and authenticity trumps “technique” every time.

………………………of course authenticity + technique and you are on rocket-fuel !

Aki von Roy

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