Doctors usually believe they are immune to persuasion tactics, and drug reps know just how important it is to maintain that illusion. Not only are reps trained to assess their personality, practice style, and medical preferences, they’re also instructed to sniff out personal information, like the names of family members, birthdays, and family interests — as well as the physician’s professional interests and recreational pursuits. All of this information goes into a database for future reference. When the time comes to devise an “incentive” — say a dinner, sporting event, or membership — it is custom tailored to suit the prey.
It’s all about establishing personal rapport. Oftentimes doctors mistake the reps’ cleverly disguised interest in them as personal friendship. This is exactly how it’s designed to work.