The MSL role may be scientific in nature, but at the end of the day, we have realized that this is a customer-facing position requiring soft skills such as emotional intelligence and communication skills. Without the confidence of your customers (i.e. KOLs), you’ll only succeed so much as an MSL career. Here are 5 ways to instill confidence in your customers (bonus tip: these all work well in an interview setting, too!).
1. Be yourself
Let’s start with an easy one; a tip that should come more naturally than any other – be yourself. People gravitate towards genuine people; those who they can tell aren’t putting up a facade. Not only will being yourself help people be more receptive, but it also makes your job easier! Research shows that people who try too hard to cater to their audience’s expectations experience more anxiety – it requires more energy to try to always be “in character”!
2. Be prepared (but not scripted)
When dealing with an audience that can be short on time, being prepared and being able to be concise can go a long way. Audiences value an organized, prepared speaker. If you are anything less, or if you are too scripted and simply regurgitating something they think they could have read on their own, they’ll feel like you’re wasting their time. Enter your meeting with a purpose, be prepared for anticipated questions, and be well-rehearsed without being scripted. (Reminder: candidates are very frequently evaluated for this skill)
3. Quickly deliver on your promises
As we’ve established by now, this is a relationship-focused position. It’s a good rule of thumb to follow through on your promises in any position, but the MSL role is one where you can’t afford to lose the trust of your audience, especially if you want to be welcome back. Take ownership of your tasks and help your customers feel like you’re a true partner of theirs.
MSLs have to compete to an extent for face time with their audience. This “competition” for time can come in the form of MSLs from competing companies. It can also present as having to remind HCPs that you’re not one of the sales reps that call on their office. Set yourself apart by showing how much you care about listening rather than just being another talking head.
5. Ask for feedback
You wouldn’t be a true “liaison” if you only cared about your message to the audience. Ask for feedback from your customers. Make it clear that this is a two-way street and they can be confident you care about your relationship.
Questions or comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC