When I first came to Sunbelt Industrial Trucks in May 2009, it wasn’t necessarily the best time for a salesperson to be starting out in the material handling business. The country was still mired in a recession and not many people were buying. At the time it was a struggle, but looking back, I don’t think I could have picked a better starting point. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of hustling, but I managed to pull off a pretty good first year in the business and, more importantly, I got my name out into the marketplace and began to lay the foundation for my career.
One of the reasons I was able to adapt to the industry so quickly was the combination of education and experience I had leading up to my employment. I attended Texas A&M University where I majored in Industrial Distribution. So by the time I graduated, I had already been through a great deal of industrial sales training. Also, during college I worked for Coca-Cola. While there I used forklifts to move around pallets, and got a great understanding of how distribution works. It taught me a great deal about how our customers operate.
My first few months on the job things were tough because of the recession. There weren’t many customers interested in buying forklifts when they were struggling to keep everyone employed. That meant I had to be ready to hear many no’s. That’s all part of the job, though. You have to keep a positive attitude and understand that sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. That doesn’t mean you should give up after a no. To be successful in sales, you’ve got to stay on top of your prospects. I keep after them until they buy, it’s just part of my personality. In my opinion, the most important thing you can be in sales is diligent. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow and it may not be a year from now, but if you keep knocking on that door, eventually a need is going to arise and you will be the person that the customer calls.
Over the course of the last few months, the economy in our area has started to pick up, and the experience and contacts that I gained during the recession is paying off. During the downturn you really had to persevere to make money, and that’s all I’ve ever known. Some of these guys who have been doing this for 20 years and know what it’s like to sell during a boom period are still frustrated, but that’s not the case with me. I’m motivated by the uptick I’ve seen in business. It’s a very exciting time and I’m eager to get to work each day. I know that the more calls that I make and the harder I work, the more money I’ll make for the company and for myself. This outlook is what has allowed me to make the most out of my first year in the business. Sometimes people are surprised by my attitude, but the way I see it, in this business you’ve got to be optimistic or you’re just not going to do that well.