Much More Than Just A Sales Rep

Alex MundtMy father, Charles Mundt, founded Church Towne Gas & Welding Supply (Cochranton, PA) in 1999 when I was 11 years old. I’ve been working here in some capacity ever since. I started off doing small jobs like filling propane tanks and cleaning up. Now, as a 21-year-old, I’m in my third year as a sales representative.

I handle both inside and outside sales for our company, which means I’m doing sales calls out in the field as well as helping customers’ in the shop. However, being that this is a family business, I often handle much more than just sales duties. I suppose you could say I’m like a manager without the title. I spend the first half of my day making sure all of the company’s administrative needs are taken care of. I make sure that all the deliveries get sent out and that all of our employees know what they should be doing for the day. Then, in the afternoon, I hit the road selling.

Overcoming Perception
Being a 21-year-old in an industry like gases and welding isn’t always the easiest prospect to face. Sometimes customers who have been in the business for decades don’t take me seriously at first. They see me as a “kid” coming around trying to sell to them. That means I have to work harder than our competition to earn their respect.

I have found there are two effective ways to do this. The first is to admit that I don’t know the answer to everything. If a customer asks a question and I don’t know the answer, rather than rambling off a half-truth, I will consult with the veterans at the company and come up with the right solution.

Also, I do everything I possibly can to accommodate our customers. For instance, if a customer sends us an order late in the day, I’ll still do my best to get the product out, even if it’s past our delivery deadline for the day. Customers notice the effort and respect me for it.

Building Toward The Future
Over the last few years, our company has really come into its own. We’ve been here 10 years now and customers are finally starting to realize that we’re not going anywhere. My personal goal is to mirror the company’s growth in maturation with my own career. I want to put myself in a position where I am an industry expert. I want to get to the point that, when a supplier sends over a sales rep, I know as much about his products as he does. Right now, I’m only a sales rep in title, but I feel like an owner. To me, this company is a joint effort between my parents and me. What I’m doing now is going to help me in the future. I might get to run this business when my father retires and that makes me very excited.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Alex Mundt Meet the Author
Alex Mundt is a sales representative for Church Towne Gas & Welding Supply, located in Cochranton, PA, and on the web at  www.churchtownegas.com