Henry Newkirk

Pharmaceutical Salesperson

Henry Newkirk originally from New Haven, IN. Henry is a graduate from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s in Science degree in psychology before attending the University of St. Francis’ physician’s assistant program. At the time, he was the second youngest attendee of the program before transitioning his career goals to providing care to patients as a pharmaceutical representative.

Henry has worked with several different pharmaceutical companies as a sales representative, and been promoted to training roles including national sales trainer at Shionogi Pharmaceuticals. During his tenure as a sales representative, he has won multiple awards with his proudest accomplishment winning President’s Club with Janssen Therapeutics.

While experiencing several downsizings, Henry Newkirk has maintained a positive demeanor of the values learned from each experience and continued to consistently grow sales quickly and effectively with each transition, most recently in neurology as an executive sales specialist with Shire.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I have always had a passion for helping people, yet found it difficult working directly with them in health care while being unable to not bring home troubling cases and distancing myself from that connection that brought stress and anxiety that I was uncomfortable with. Unfortunately, my passion and interests kept me involved in disease states where terminal illnesses and loss were associated making my first career interest not a viable lifelong career. Fortunately for me, I found an avenue in where I could indirectly care for people through working directly with my clients to offer the best possible care options available. This approach allowed me to run my business the way I sought best served my clients, while having the umbrella of services that a larger company provided. Ultimately, it was the best fit for my talents, my interests, and dedication to improving the quality of life for all my clients which continues to be my driving force today.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Each day I set out with a set of goals and plan of strategy to accomplish those goals. Going into each day with strategized and focused goals allows me to have deliverables I can quantifiably evaluate, that if accomplished, will lead to success and allow me opportunities to grow in my profession. Each portion of the day is centered around meeting with clients to discuss and learn how to bring value to them. Everyday is a continuum of previous calls with the goal of learning something new and/or to be a continuous source of value that grows with their ever-changing needs.

How do you bring ideas to life?

First, ideas have to come to life through being observant. Learning through discussions with my clients allows me to unearth needs that need to be addressed. Whether that be through a novel approach or improving upon how they’re already doing things, the central point of that is having conversations with the intent to learn and facilitate their efforts. Then, once the need is established, the brainstorming of how to make the process better, or more efficient comes to light where ideas are then fostered.
Secondly, collaboration is key. The age old saying of 2 heads is better than 1 has merit, and continues logically that 3 heads then are better than 2. Brainstorming, bouncing ideas off one another leads to improvements of the original idea so that the rough draft can become something chiseled, something concrete, and ultimately something that delivers.

What’s one trend that excites you?

In my field, the area of neurology has and continues to be something I’m keenly interested in, and I’m extremely excited by the dedicated efforts focused on expanding care and treatments for neurological issues. The mind is such an amazingly impressive organ that fascinates me and led me to earn a degree in psychology and working in neurology. It is an area we know so little about, but is so pivotal to our overall health. I have always had a passion for neurology, and having had my family be afflicted by the negative effects of a neurological disease, and seeing how devastating it is to the patient as well as the family, it is reassuring and instills hope to see such efforts being placed on developing treatments, and one day hopefully cures to these devastating diseases.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Assertiveness. Understand, there is a difference between the terms aggressiveness and assertiveness. Aggressiveness tries to sell you a sweater that you don’t need today. Assertiveness focuses on working directly with the client to bring a needed value to them. Assertive sales is a process that is about being dedicated to learning where the need is, providing a solution to that need, and being confident in motivating a change to behavior that will result in bettering the lives of my client and their clients as well. The focus is always on the client.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Trust your gut. I’ve always made the right choice when I’ve trusted my gut, and made the ultimate worst mistakes of my life when I didn’t follow my gut or heart. When you have studied, learned, and experience, you gain wisdom and that wisdom can provide shade for you the rest of your life…if you trust and confide in those learnt lessons.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Perhaps not true, but something I faithfully believe at the start of every year is that the Chicago Bears will win the super bowl, and I will continue in my pursuit to persuade the non-believers…if not this year then the year after that!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Set goals. Whatever the task, goals help keep you motivated and focused on the task with a 10,000 foot view versus a 20 foot view. I like to visualize goals like rings on a ladder, and as I climb up, I’m achieving another goal. I’m trying to reach the top of a ladder that I can never reach, but the goal isn’t reaching the top, the goal is challenging myself to be better than I was the day before.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

That assertive mentality discussed above and understanding that it’s always important to ask for the business. Whenever my son asks for a cookie, he gets a cookie because quite simply, he had the fortitude to ask me for it. It sounds like I’m making light, but there is some truth in this.

In sales, I believe that if you have come in with a dedicated approach to bring value, that your efforts are in line with your clients and that you have done the due diligence of establishing a need that you can provide a viable solution for, you deserve to ask for the business. Not because of your hard work alone, but that in not doing so, you are doing a disservice to your clients and the people they are trying to help. By asking for the business, you are asking for a call to change, a call to motivate a behavior change that will serve your clients, and help them provide the best service they can to their clients. You must have that belief in what your product provides and the reason in your asking for the business in fortified in your belief of providing them the best choice for their business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I had a situation in which I lost three of my top five clients, and therefore significantly jeopardized a goal I’d set for myself. At that point I had two options, 1) sulk and dissect how life was unfair, or 2) look at the challenge presented and formulate a strategy with a goal to overcome the obstacle presented to me.

I chose the latter and collaborated cross functionally with several different business heads and formulated a plan of attack. While doing so, I focused on what I could control and developed a new business plan that concentrated on potential opportunities previously not pursued. This obstacle forced me to look at alternatives that prior to it, I’d not considered and helped me understand hurdles are simply learning opportunities that each of us can grow from.

In utilizing this new found approach I delved deeper into the market analysis and coordinated that information with information learned from deeper, more direct conversations with my clients that unearthed needs neither of us had considered that if resolved, could better their business. This new approach allowed me to consider different alternatives to their practice, and better position my product to best facilitate their needs resulting in 13% growth at the end of the year despite the loss of three of my top five clients.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I have several, but don’t know that I would want to freely share that information, because the ideas I have, I’ve put a great deal of time and effort into. Whatever idea it is, I think one thing that beats out all competition is customer service and time after time, that earns my business over all other factors and that any business venture you’d undertake must have that as a core principle.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

On a bike for my daughter. Nothing is more impactful and rewarding than seeing the joy and happiness I once had as a child seen through the eyes of my own children.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Excel spreadsheet. While I am not a paid advertiser for them, I must say that this software has been instrumental in my success. I utilize it routinely to sort and clear the ever abundant surplus of information regarding my clients so that I can organize that plethora of information which allows for a deeper understanding and usefulness of the data. It allows me to pinpoint my approach so my presentation delivery is efficient and effective, while being respectful of my client’s busy schedule as it allows me to focus on topics that motivate and are important to them. At the end of the day, it’s about knowing your clients and structuring your call to them, not what you want to say.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Dale Carnegie-How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book is well written, extremely insightful and has lessons that have lasted decades and hold true to this day. It is a motivating read to any entrepreneur or salesperson, and will help you learn new tools that can assist you in improving upon already learned traits.

What is your favorite quote?

Two quotes resonate with me:
Without action, the best intentions in the world are nothing more than that: intentions. -Jordan Belfort
Make a decision, commit to it, and make it the right decision. -Eli Manning

Key Learnings:

  • Needs based sales is an active process that discovers and highlights a need, then provides a solution to that need for the benefit of your client.
  • Approach your interactions with a dedicated focus on learning how to best serve your clients needs.
  • Be assertive and committed to asking for the business; if you bring value, you owe it to your clients to encourage that call to action.
  • Be goal-oriented and set goals throughout each aspect of your life.
  • Hurdles and obstacles are simply opportunities to learn and grow.