Negotiating a Salary for a Pharmaceutical Sales Position

Published: Jul 09, 2009

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According to editors at, the average pharmaceutical sales representative starts out making $45,000 to $55,000 per year but has the potential to negotiate a much higher rate. What's more, this base rate is only a portion of the total earnings, because sales representatives are also paid hefty performance bonuses that have the potential to double that salary. Confident, skilled pharmaceutical sales representatives can often negotiate with employers to gain not only the highest base rates but also the highest bonus packages.

Step 1

Start negotiations based on their offer, not yours. Respond to questions by saying you deserve to be at the top end of the salary range, but don't give a number.

Step 2

Pause to think over the offer. Avoid jumping on the salary offered, as it portrays you as too eager and doesn't allow you room to negotiate.

Step 3

Educate yourself. Conduct extensive salary research as well as specific research about the needs of the company, such as their drug sales stats and the new drugs they have in development. Take this information and give concrete examples of how you would improve sales and aggressively market new drugs. This helps establish a solid framework for why you're worth more money.

Step 4

Sell yourself, as this is, after all, what you'll be doing on the job. Show off your sales abilities by marketing your own experience, skills and abilities. Practice your sales pitch and prove that you are worth every penny you're asking for. Frame the conversation to showcase what your skills can do for the company and how you can improve drug sales rather than just celebrating your accomplishments.

Step 5

Negotiate both parts of your salary . Don't neglect to ask about your bonus cap and benefits packages, as bonuses alone have the potential to double your salary. Negotiating only your base pay can simply result in lowering your bonus cap, and you'll essentially be paid the same. Ask for your complete salary offer because it shows off your confidence and your knowledge of the field.


Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs

US Department of State Salary Negotioation

Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute by Jack Chapman

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PHRMA)

Pharmeceutical Sales Reps

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