Friday, January 29, 2010

Life Technologies commericals on television!

I was flipping channels last night and stopped on an advertisement on NBC for the Olympics.  I was shocked to see that Life Technologies, Inc was the local sponsor.  Right there on television a science ad!  Life Technologies Marketing machine is full swing these days with models at ASCB and television. 

My guestimate is there are 3-8000 life scientists living here in San Diego.  How in the world can television ads targeted to that few people in a city of 3 million, on one channel no less, be effective?  I guess it could be a ploy to attract investment dollars since it is a publically traded company, but I cant see how this campaign is going to sell cDNA kits.

Love to hear what you think about science ads on t.v. Let me know if you see more in your town too please.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Competition in Life Science Sales

There are 17 life science suppliers that manufacture Taq Polymerase with another 10 or so that wholesale it.  The prices range from a few cents to dollars per reaction.  My question to you is which company is getting my business?

At the moment my lab buys Taq from Qiagen.  It is by far not the most economical (we could make our own for pennies), so why do we buy it.  I asked around the lab last week as well as emailed a few old lab members.  Turns out we have been buying Qiagen Taq for over 12 years in a row, because 12 years ago a post-doc tested against "several" other companies enzymes.  Qiagen Taq worked the best in our genotyping assay, so we have used it unquestioningly for the last 12 years.  Amazing, we call our selves scientists!

So I suspect that's what you are up against, when you are trying to make and sell a better taq or anything else that has been in use for decades.  Faster Western blot? Wonder why that thing is so hard to sell?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leads are walking by your booth by the hundreds - grab them!

I went to a "vendor show" at my University recently put on by Scientists Solutions Events.  This company puts on small 10-12 vendor lunch meetings at Universities and Pharmaceutical companies, where vendors show their wares to scientists right on campus.  Since I am indirectly involved with this company, I wanted to see how the vendors themselves interact with scientists and see how this compared with my experience at the ASCB meeting a month back.

For the most part the sales staff of these vendors were friendly and responsive to my queries.  Most were more than happy to give me the details of their newest product lines. I was surprised at how much prodding it took to get answers from some and, I got the feeling that others were more interested in getting my contact info for later.  I was right there obviously engaged, the perfect time to get to know me and my story.  And to be truthful some tried, but most seemed taken aback that I was interested in them and their story.

Admittedly, many of the "scientists" at these events are there looking for a meal and an ipod, but the decision makers are usually right back in the labs they are going back to later.  Here's how you can plant a seed with the 'lower downs'.

Engage them with a joke or quick funny story.  Then ask them, "Is anyone in your lab struggling with (techniques, kits, finding the right antibody)?".  If they say yes, give them a card and WRITE your number on it, even if its already on there.  Tell them to pass your contact info on to the right person, or better yet get the scientist's name, or better yet ask if they will introduce you later that day.  That is a hot lead.  That is a struggling scientist that will buy your product, because they need your help.

You see all labs have lab meetings every week, where scientists get up, present their experiments, and discuss all the problems they are having.  Every scientists from technician to PI that walked by your booth knows 10 scientists that are struggling with an experiment, because of these lab meetings.

Use this knowledge to your advantage! Write down and practice 10 questions to ask scientists that will lead to you to the decision maker that is struggling with an experiment.  Feel free to post your potential questions as comments below.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Learn More About a Scientist Today.

Its a new year.  We all made those resolutions we won't keep.  We all got fat over the holidays.  I'm challenging you to do something today that will make you better at your job selling to scientists.

Go take a bench scientist out for coffee. Don't say one word about your product.  Just get to know how he or she operates in the lab.

Do it!