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Otsuka People Talk

December 2013

Sales to Nationwide Chain Customers

People here do not give up, no matter how hard it gets.

After joining Otsuka Pharmaceutical, he worked in sales promotion in the Nutraceuticals Division for a year and a half, before working in sales for five years in the same division. In February 2013, he was assigned to the National Retail Accounts Department, which is in charge of nationwide chain customers.

  • In collaboration with NHK Enterprises, Inc.

How I became interested in working at Otsuka

I was in a swimming club in high school, and during a swimming training camp I attended a nutritional seminar given by someone from Otsuka Pharmaceutical. That seminar made a lasting impression on me. Until that point, I knew next to nothing about nutrition, but at that seminar I learned that excelling in sports not only requires practice, but also an understanding of the importance of nutrition. That's why I decided to join Otsuka. I had a strong desire to help support hard-working athletes by providing nutritional knowledge, even after I retired from competitive swimming myself.

Valuing every new relationship

I started by working in product promotion for 18 months, and then moved on to sales for the next five years.

I really value relationships with people. Even though it only takes a moment to meet someone new, it could lead to a lifelong friendship. That's why I always do my best for those I meet as a part of my work; if you make an effort to really understand each other, a lot of interesting conversations can arise, and that can lead to sales. Even when I make mistakes, it's still important for me to be myself. This is the kind of sales style I'm committed to.

But always striving to do my very best can be tiring. Rather than dealing with stress on my own, I like to talk with various co-workers and friends. Since I am also the type of person who can forget his worries by getting a good night's sleep, I'm able to stay balanced. Practices like these and positive thinking help me a lot.

Diversity training on the theme of innovation

During my time in sales, I participated in a diversity training course on the theme of innovation. As part of the training, I was sent on my own to an Otsuka Pharmaceutical group company in Guangdong, China. There, I worked with local sales staff for ten days.

At first, all I felt was anxiety: they didn't understand Japanese, and I didn't understand Chinese - it was a big problem! So I began by being the first one to get to work in the morning, and greeted everyone in Chinese as they arrived. Gradually, I got used to thesituation, and was able to communicate in writing. I also tried to read the emotions on people's faces in order to better communicate. Eventually, I went out with other staff to shopping areas and visited each shop in order to explain our products and take orders. It was really quite a humbling experience. We often forget that the company began with this kind of basic sales work, so I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to do that.

Founding the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Swimming Club

One day at a meeting, my boss suddenly turned to me and said, "Tell me your dream!" So I told him about my experience in swimming and said, "If we bring together all the Otsuka employees from around Japan who have swimming experience, we could win a national competition! It would also be great PR for the company. Can you help me make this happen?" First thing the next morning, he sent me an email saying that he was ready to support the swimming club proposal, and encouraged me to go for it. That's how the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Swimming Club got started.

Seven years later, our swimming club has now grown to 25 members. Initially, there was a sense that the club might be dissolved at any time if we did not produce results. Rather than discouraging us, this only served to make us more focused and determined. We went into the competitions with each member having his or her own personal goals. As a result, both our men's and women's teams won first place at the Tokyo Corporate Swimming Championship 2012, and the women's team won first place at the Japan Corporate Swimming Championship 2012. These result were better than my wildest dreams, so I am very glad to have been a part of the club.

Working hard for the team

As I've been swimming since I was four, I've trained hard over the years. In high school, I was on a four-person relay team that set a new school record. Through many years of swimming, I have learned the skills of rebounding from setbacks, perseverance, and never giving up.

Although swimming is an individual sport, I belonged to the swimming clubs at both my high school and university, so even though I swam alone, I was actually swimming for my team. That made me want to do my best, so my team could get as many points as possible. Even after joining Otsuka Pharmaceutical, I am still doing my best for the team. This is true for me in both swimming and sales.

Starting over in Tokyo and taking on new challenges

I am now working in the National Retail Accounts Department, which sells to companies such as nationwide convenience store chains and volume retailers. I am responsible for certain convenience store clients, and help to create sales strategies and take various initiatives to sell Otsuka products and maximize sales. Since this job is different from my previous sales work, I feel as though I am starting over in Tokyo. There is a fair amount of pressure, but I am really enjoying the challenge of my new job.
Sometimes I get discouraged, but I talk with other team members and benefit from their support. They are always positive, which really helps. The members of my team are motivated by challenging goals and have inspired me to take on challenges in the same positive way. They provide me with all the encouragement I need.

Aiming to support top-level athletes

At the moment I have two dreams. In the near future, I would like to turn the National Retail Accounts Department into an organization that younger employees aspire to join. I think if we work hard, the younger employees will follow. By always looking forwards and never backwards, I am determined to do my best, while striving to enjoy even the tough times. If I can help convey this approach to the younger employees, I think the company will gradually become even more energized.

In the more distant future, because of my love for sports, I would like to support top-level athletes around the world.

Aspiring to become a hard-working mentor

Otsuka Pharmaceutical is the kind of company that lets young employees tackle various challenges, and tells us that it is OK to fail. However, this does not mean it is OK to fail and forget about it. Rather, if you fail 100 times, then you must get up again 101 times.

The company has a lot of products that I can recommend with confidence; each product has been carefully developed, and is backed by scientific data, with a lot of them built on our expertise as a pharmaceutical company. Life here is really hard work, but people do not give up, no matter how hard it gets. The company is the same: Otsuka Pharmaceutical is persistently loyal to the products it introduces. It keeps on explaining and selling a product persistently so that more people will understand it. This approach is hard to find in any another company.

I like to roll up my sleeves and work hard with others, and I want to become the kind of mentor who shares the joy that comes from a hard day's work.

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