Updated: Jan 3
It has been a long, long road selling the products I have over the years. I have sold everything from insurance and tires, to rental service and restroom products, to engines, transmissions, and fuel trailers. Absolutely crazy when I think about it. But in the end, I am still selling, it's just a different product, my son reminded me of that when I shared the recent change in companies with him. And, the experience has been invaluable.
As I have grown older, I started to feel like I needed to stay put no matter what issues surrounded me in a sales position. After spending almost nine years at Jasper, I struggled to adapt to a new position in the fuel trailer industry. I went to work for a great family owned business out of Iowa. As the company grew, so did the changes, which is expected when you experience the growth they did while I was employed. It was an exciting time, sales came in large numbers and often. Dealers were happy, end users were happy, and the overall feeling at trade shows were positive.
And sales grew which brought on changes in the sales management. Our small team of seven sales reps was now managed my a new VP of Sales who came from an international company. Following this, a Regional Manager was added to help manage this team of seven, and not long after, a dealer manager was hired to add more assistance. Unbelievable really. Turn over began not long after the VP was hired and continued for almost two years. No matter how much I made, the job was no longer fun, no longer enjoyable, and I love to sell. The inexperience of the RVP and the brutal and misleading management style lead me to 'brushing up' my resume and getting my name back out in the field.
I learned quickly a fifty year old rep with experience and the ability to build relationships was something many companies were looking for to lead their sales teams. Persistence and patients paid off, almost a year passed but the very perfect opportunity with the right company made itself available. I made the changed on November 4 and started a new position with a company based out of Minnetonka Minnesota on November 14.
In short, the last 6 weeks have been the typical 'whirl wind' learning a new product and working myself into a new culture, but it has been exciting. This company is a TEAM! 55 years of industry experience building a quality line of products and the only wireless product in the industry. The future is bright and the opportunity unlimited. Respect has been growing for the people I work with from day one and I feel like I once again have an opinion that counts. I didn't have that where I last worked. Selling and building a territory is now FUN once again.
This position will require some more lengthy travel as my current territory is the the western United States and western Canada, but that piece is exciting to me. I love the relationship side of the business and I so much look forward to the new relationships I will build and grow over the years. And a piece of this job that I find most appealing, there are so many established customers that have not had contact in years, literally, that I will get the honor of getting in front of these people on a personal level and give the attention and genuine interest they deserve. Helping others! That is very exciting.
Like I said in the beginning, I really felt I had no where to go and that I wasn't in a position at this stage in my career where I could be successful, but I have proved to myself that is not the case. I saw one of the best salesman and managers get terminated from his last position, for no clear reason, rebound and find happiness in sales once again in New York. He has been a great resource for me in my job change, and in sales conversations and life conversations. People like this are invaluable, although our previous manager saw this great rep as a threat rather than a resource. Thank you sir (you know who I'm talking about).
Surround yourself with positive people. If you're opinion is not taken seriously and communication is limited or nothing, if you feel and know you don't fit into a certain sales dynamic or feel like you are working within a sales management team that operates more like a group of junior high girls making you feel as if you bring no value, be strong in your own values. If the job is no longer fun, keep in mind, good sales representatives are needed. be patient and find a new opportunity. Life is way too short to work within a toxic situation. I really didn't think I could find a position filled with promise, respect, opportunity among a great group of like minded people with a common goal in mind....and to get paid better to boot, but I did and you can too!!!!! And I know not everyone needs to make a job change, but maybe just some small changes. Maybe it's a simple conversation if you have a management team that will listen, that you trust. Have those conversations. In my case, there was no trust, but this is not the situation in all cases.
I know pieces of this make me sound a bit bitter, and I was, I cannot lie, but I have moved on and do wish my previous employer success. In the end, its a choice I made and it was the best decision I have made in several years.
Send a note, call, whatever. I'd love to chat and share anything I can to help someone out. More than anything, I just like talking sales in general.
The sales team I came from did give us a few books, one sticks out, The Gap and the Gain. Its Ironic now, but I was in the Gap the past 18 months...I am now in the Gain. The book is a great read and in the end had a positive influence on me. I have a few other reads that may help others as well.
Next week I am making calls in the Metro before show season begins. I will do my best to keep up on a weekly post or more. Take Care and Good Selling.
Sell Sell Sell!