Friday, January 25, 2008

Free Gifts for Doctors

This was from Minnesota Public Radio (thanks to Denise). Duluth-based SMDC Health System removed over 18,000 branded items from their clinics and it took 20 shopping carts to haul it all away.

Although doctors are considered to be above-average intelligence, they are human and influenced same as anyone else and want to reciprocate for a gift. Since prescribing specific brands does not cost the doctor personally, he will likely want to please someone who was generous to him - same techniques used by the lobbyists on Capital Hill.

In the field of influence and persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini, the most cited social psychologist in the world today, defines six “weapons of influence”: Reciprocation (people tend to return a favor), Commitment and Consistency (if people commit, verbally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment), Social Proof (people will do things that they see other people are doing) Authority (people will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts), Liking (people are easily persuaded by other people that they like) and Scarcity (perceived scarcity will generate demand).

I remember seeing another video in which a pharm rep said that they would size up doctors to see which approach to use. They classified them as analytical (give them research stats), drivers (wanted to be in control, so salesman stays subservient) or amiable (people pleasers).


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