Seven Things Every Salesperson Should Know

Seven Things Every Salesperson Should KnowGAWDA’s board of directors offers up advice for young salespeople.

A GAWDA membership has myriad benefits for employees at all levels of member organizations. From the Annual Convention and regional meetings to webinars and regulatory updates, the list of offerings is robust. However, the biggest benefit of the association isn’t any class or event, it’s the networking. The sharing of information among members is what truly gives membership its value. It’s not just the executives who can benefit from this exchange of information. If a young person is willing to put in the work, there is a great deal that can be learned from his or her association peers.

This month, Welding & Gases Today is making it easy for you. We asked the GAWDA Board of Directors to tell us the one thing that every young professional should know about selling in the gases and welding industry. The respondents make up the leadership of some of the most successful companies in the industry and their advice comes from a breadth of industry experience. So read along carefully and remember, advice is only useful if you take it!

“Your attitude is contagious. When you show up to a customer’s location, you should be enthusiastic about the products and services that you are offering. There isn’t a product in the world that you can’t sell if you personally believe in it. Your confidence in yourself will build the customers’ confidence in your ability.”

Jenny McCall, President, Wesco Gas & Welding Supply

“There are three rules that every young salesperson should abide by. They’re not complicated, and they’re not hard to pull off, but they’re the foundation of the sales profession. They are:
• Do what you say you are going to do.
• Follow up on what you say you are going to do.
• Do not make promises you cannot keep.
It’s important to remember that as hard as yesterday may have been, if you don’t get up the next morning and strive to do it better, you will never get the results that you expect.”

Lloyd Robinson, President, AWISCO

“Sales success in this industry is all about differentiating your company and yourself through outstanding service. Work with your key contact at each customer location to create a real value-added offering that is not based on price. Ensure that you are delivering that offering every day and you’ll build a quality relationship. Don’t deliver that offering, and someone else will.”

– Bryan Keen, President, Keen Compressed Gas Company

“With today’s economic climate and all of the technology available, one way a young salesperson can bring more value to the customer is to do his or her homework first. Before you go on a sales call, know your customers’ needs and arm yourself with product knowledge. Use all of the tools available to research your customers thoroughly so that you are not wasting their time or yours. Knowledge is power and will set you apart from your competition. Companies buy from vendors that bring them value.”

– Randy Anderson, Vice President Sales, Oxygen Service Company

“To be an effective salesperson, you have to do what you say you’re going to do and more. If you say you’re going to be there at 9:00, be there at 8:45. If you say you will have a quote ready on a certain date, make sure it’s there on time. If for some reason you can’t make something happen, be up front about it. If you don’t know an answer, find it. Never risk giving a bad answer. It’s no shame to say “I have to go get some expert advice and get back to you.” It’s a far better choice than risking it and giving bad advice. You’re not going to know everything out of the gate, just be willing to learn.”

– Britt Lovin, Vice President, Andy Oxy Company

“The way we sell in this business today has changed with the Internet. Customers often have better knowledge of products before they come into our stores. Be customer-centric and stay focused on exceeding your customers’ expectations. Do business in a manner that makes it easy and quick for your customers to do business with you. Simplify the process and create true value!”

– Ned Pontious, President, Norco Inc.

“Work with the seasoned veterans inside your company. For months, I tagged along with an experienced salesperson from whom I learned a great deal. As he called on customers, he taught me the ins and outs. It is important to understand how each customer works. An experienced salesperson knows the customer’s team and the customer’s processes. Every customer is different. Having an experienced salesperson who can provide you with that kind of information makes it much less stressful than trying to figure it out on your own, especially for the first few calls or quotes.”

– Richelle Smith-Brecht, Executive Vice President, S. J. Smith Company

Gases and Welding Distributors Association