I have been in the paint business for over 40 years. Originally as a painter and decorator, later as an application engineer, today as a sales representative. As Key Account Manager, I am the main contact person, adviser and salesman in one. I enjoy this – the diversity, the variety, no two days are the same. And of course the contact with people.
Thirty percent of my job consists of talking, seventy percent listening. That may surprise you at first. But I want to understand exactly what my customers’ concerns are, so that I can give them an appropriate answer. I see myself first of all as an adviser, and only then as a salesman. And a windy «gasbag» wouldn’t last long in our company anyway! Quite the opposite: It’s so true that less is often more. Getting your marching orders to turn up four times a year with your samples case and brochures? That is outdated and certainly won’t work these days. Of course you have to keep in touch, but not be insistent – though always ready to react when someone has a question, a problem, or an order.
Every one of our customers is different. Different in his area of activities, different in his company culture, so I need to be very flexible. On the other hand I always learn something new when I get involved with a customer and his projects. As with all business relationships, one particular aspect is very important in sales, and that is trust.
Promising someone the blue from the sky is not my style. Nevertheless, my favourite color is of course blue!