Saturday, 7 January 2017

The salesman

The salesman.

After an hour of waiting outside, the receptionist said “You can go in”
 A young pregnant girl was accompanied probably by her husband or her lover.
I went in.
The doctor was washing his hands, after some procedure.
I had been around enough doctors to know that it was a quick scan of the fetus and he might have a vaginal examination also just to check if the head of the fetus is engaged or not. It was a routine examination.
This guy was my client for almost a decade now. He bought the drugs I sold and we had a good business relationship.
This was my third decade into the pharmaceutical sector. I knew almost everything about it.
This was the only industry in India which was growing consistently and rapidly year after year, even with all the controversies over how the big pharma companies exploited the patient, how the doctors prescribed drugs to the patients just for their incentives.
Yes, all of this was true. It was happening. The whole healthcare system was controlled by the big pharma companies.
It was all about money and control. The one who had the most capital controlled everything.
The pharma industry was extremely competitive, because you don’t need a large investment to start off. We can do it small just with a couple of common drugs but the problem was selling it. The big companies could just crush the startups by offering more incentives to the doctors. And if one made an effective, ground breaking drug then they would simply buy out the drug outright or if not they would spend the cash on R&D and make a better drug. It was only matter of time.
 The only way to succeed in this sector was huge investment or a drug which would blow out all the competitors.
It was possible.                                      
I first started a s a rep for a pharma company which was in the early stages, they had made a simple drug for fever and cold. The drug wasn’t a breakthrough with respect to its chemical formula or anything but it was launched when the pharma industry just started to bloom in the country, so they had very few competitors. So it worked. Just in a year they had made millions in revenue and today it was world’s fifth largest drug maker.
I gained a lot of experience, ten years grinding as a sales rep and made decent money but the company didn’t offer any stock options, only incentives which was ok because with that I had to keep selling to make money.
I wanted to build an empire, have my own company.
So with that I started on my own.
I started small and started as a distributor and went for the most selling drugs, the fever, cough and the gastric drugs.
With the contact is developed over the years with my doctors, it worked. I targeted the general practitioners because they were the ones who prescribe the massive amount of drugs.
My company was generating good revenue but then the second year, my doctors didn’t renew my contract. The other companies came up with better drugs and offered more incentive.
I couldn’t do that, because then my margins would be crushed and I needed capital because I was expanding to the other areas like psychiatric, respiratory drugs as well.
My revenue gradually decreased and then I went into loss within a year.
It was a rapid fall, I lost almost all of my savings.
I was in my early thirties then. So I had no other option but to become a rep again.
The next twenty years I worked under the company making the rich even richer.
Now I was fifty-five years old and today I was going to present my product to the first doctor.
The doctor wiped his hands dry and sat opposite to me in his rotating chair.
It was busy day for him and I knew he didn’t have a lot of time or the patience.
His eyes were dry; he was tired after checking on his patient.
I took out my product.
It wasn’t a drug. It was a contraceptive device. I had worked on this product for the last twenty-year s and I knew it would be a breakthrough product and change the way people conceived. It would change the whole process of performing the sexual act.
Realizing that it wasn’t a drug, the doc got interested.
He leaned forward for a closer look at my innovative product.
“Sir, I have made this new product”
I placed it on my palm.
Like any other condom it was folded flat to a small flat packet.
The only difference was that it was much more thin, it was feather light compared to the latest super thin ones.
Just to prove my point I blew, and like a feather it flew away and landed slowly on the table.
“Sir, this…….is the product of the future. This is the future of the contraceptive industry. Sir, I have worked on this for a long time and have this, it has almost no flaws. And Sir.”
I needed to demonstrate it as I explained.
I rolled it out just like any other condom.
“Sir” I ran my index finger along the smooth part.
“Sir, most of the manufactures use latex, rubber or mix it up. I have used the perfect combination of all those and have included the sheep skin also, which smoothens the surface but the drawback of spreading STDs is reduced because of the spermicidal component is have mixed. I have the perfect chemical combination sir.”
“Sir, then the interior” I rolled it inside out.
“There are microscopic groves and ridges, just to give the grip during the friction. This will reduce the chances of it slipping out. No one has this grip sir and no one can ever have it. I have patented it”
“Coming to the exterior” Rolled it back out.
I ran my fingers along the product.
“Smooth as silk sir, you won’t get a grip on that” I held it out for him to try.
He tried pulling it but slipped away.
He nodded and agreed to it.
“Sir, then come the most important part. The rim”
It was thickened portion, the starting point of the condom. The part which rested at the root of the penis once inserted.
“The thing about is……. unlike any other device……. It can be rotated Sir”
I rotated it clockwise and the latex part deflated like a balloon loosing air.
I saw that he was impressed.
“Yes Sir, the size is adjustable. Deflate or inflate” I turned it anticlockwise for the inflation. It kept rotating till the maximum. It grew almost across half across the table.
He took it from me for closer examination.
“Sir, the whole product is patented, all of it. And to top it all. It has a very high contraception rate. Other product offers 98 to 99% contraceptive rate. This is 99.5 Sir. Actually in all the subjects I have tested, no one has conceived but we have kept a 0.5 error for safety.”
He didn’t look at me once, just at my product as if it was his new love.
After about five minutes.
“Well, I have to say. Truly a revolutionary product……”
I nodded “Yes Sir”
“But the thing is this product needs to be marketed. It needs to be demonstrated and all. There a lot of things.”
He was right.
“Just give me some time. I will let you know” He handed me back the product.
He was an honest man, either he would do a deal or not. Never cheat me and also he couldn’t. It was patented.
I just needed his deal. I would offer a decent share for the investment. He had a huge hospital chain and also his endorsement would make me a millionaire overnight.
I went back that day.
Waited for a week. Nothing. Two weeks. Still nothing.
He was out of country. I took it as no deal.
I had an idea, it would cross my ethical boundaries but it would make me money.
I approached a few prostitution rings and asked them to try my product. If they like it, they would order more.
And the clients were all over it. I got the feedback that now the men wanted my product more than the girls. There were instances where they would order my product and have the pleasure alone, no girl. Just alone. My product took the pleasure level to whole another level. It would make the whole experience, the sexual act not just a pleasurable one but also it would spiritually enlighten them just how it was supposed to be.
But the best feedback I got was that the pleasure, the whole experience with my product was in fact better than not wearing anything. My product made the whole sexual act natural again. It was a barrier which destroyed the barrier of lovemaking.
That was the greatest compliment I could receive as a contraceptive maker.
And the orders came in large numbers.
I was making money on something bad. But I wasn’t the first honest guy who didn’t get rewarded for his hard work and turned bad.
And in this, I couldn’t get arrested. I wasn’t running the ring. I was just the provider of the contraceptives.
Legally it was ok. I didn’t want it this way but I was making money and I count penetrate the healthcare industry after so many attempts.
I made a lot of money for about a few months.
Then I got a call.
It was from a huge pharma company.
They wanted to buy my product.
By word of mouth my product had reached everywhere though officially I didn’t start a company.
The sum they offered was huge. I would be a billionaire. The offered me stock also.
I had two choices, either continue like this, start my own company or sell it.
I just took ten seconds to reach a decision. I would sell it. That would make sense.
I could have all the money in the world and just relax for the rest of my life. I was done with grinding it out. God finally rewarded me for my hard work.
It’s never too late or early to start. You never know when your time will come.

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