Abstract from ‘HOP in the Mind’ by Prabhakar Shetty ( HOP = Hierarchy of Priorities - in the Mind )
The CORD Model is a cascade of responses to the factors in the sequence of communication. CORD is somewhat similar to AIDA, but is better suited for personal selling of pharmaceutical brands to Doctors.
CORD is more intricate, intertwined and complex because the decisions are made by the Doctor, who is the expert. It is not necessary that a decision will be made by the Doctor after going through the entire sequence. Depending on various circumstances, including prior knowledge of the product, there is a variable cascade of responses and decisions as result of the interactions with the Salesperson.
Acceptance or rejection can happen at any point in the cascade. In the later part of the CORD Model sequence there is greater involvement of the subconscious mind. The meticulous preparations made by the Salesperson will be of critical importance at all stages, but he should ensure that the scales are tipped in his favor. We must ‘differentiate ourselves and our brand’.
The CORD Model emphasizes the need to individualize our communication for each Doctor. The individualization process is feasible because each Salesperson meets only around 200 Doctors. Once the thorough prospecting is done, it only needs regular updating.
The CORD Model responses may occur in a single well‐planned sales call or in a series of sales calls spread over a few months. Implementing the process for conversion to prescriber can be done for 1‐2 Doctors on each day.
Focus and concentrate on 1 brand only, during a conversion call. For the remaining 8‐9 calls, the Salesperson may be compelled to restrict himself to reinforcing the existing stages in the HOP (Hierarchy of Priorities).
The Salesperson must be aware of the position in the cascade of response and continue the communication from a suitable point in the CORD sequence of communication. For example, if the Doctor has shown interest in trying the brand for a few patients, start by providing the samples for trial usage and commence persuasion. You will discover that Doctors have excellent memories and that each call by the Salesperson is a continuation of all previous calls.
We need to provide a strong reason to prescribe our brand in preference to others and add an emotional touch to the story.
(The author has over 45 years’ experience in Pharmaceutical Marketing and Sales in India and abroad at various senior positions)