Tuesday, December 9, 2014

3 Sales Tips from a "Next Gen" Power Transmission Sales Representative

Guest Post: Joe Johnson, Lovejoy Field Sales Representative

As a relatively new sales guy in the mechanical power transmission world, I have observed three trends that I believe deserve further discussion as we look to ensuring this industry's continued success. Those topics/trends are: a quickly aging/retiring sales force, the growing short term focus of some near retirement sales personnel, & relationships remaining king regardless of generation or age.  

1. Start Training & On-boarding "The Next Generation" Now - As a young man building relationships in my territory, I’ve noticed how I am one of the youngest sales reps in the business. (In fact, I have only met one person that comes close to my age in my territory.)  I think this is telling when it comes to foreseeable problems in the future of this business.  I believe there will be a large demand gap in people to do any manufacturing related business in the coming decade.  I’m also proud to see my own organization seeing the writing on the wall and making strides in developing younger talent to meet the demand that is to come.  

2. Guard Against Potential Short Term Motivation of Near Retirement Individuals - Another issue I have run across is the growing short sighted mentality of some older generation sales personnel in our industry. Specifically, I’ve witnessed a few industry representatives being open to going around the distribution channel to chase the short term sale (regardless of the long term damage it may cause). 

This is dangerous and problematic on multiple fronts (but, potentially somewhat beneficial to folks like myself who maintain a long term perspective and can quickly counter such misguided competitor missteps). 

The trust between a manufacturer and distributor partner is vital. As sales reps near retirement, manufacturers must guard against any potential that sales representatives become shortsighted in their approach to selling. Long term manufacturer-distributor corporate relationships trump a local short term sales lift. 

Should there be any doubt to this, consider that the local OEM person you are selling to is likely also running towards retirement & will be in Florida on the beach in a few years. (A quality local distributor is much better suited to maintaining multiple contact points and managing personnel change within an end user versus a manufacturer/manufacturer's representative going it alone.)

Standing by and solidifying your distribution channel relationships allows for you and your product to be ingrained and trusted by your distributor's sales force. This pays dividends later when new business opportunities arise (you get first crack)... in addition to retaining the business that you have already established at the distributor. 

3. Remain Focused on Growing Relationships (Relationships Remain King) - During my limited tenure in the industry, I’ve quickly come to understand what relationship selling really entails.  My territory is 90% relationships. If you are genuine, hardworking, quick with responses, have follow through, and run at problems as they occur... you succeed. 

By following these keys to relationship success, the "next generation" power transmission sales force will fast develop a deep understanding of the industry and the relationships that drive the industry forward. This will then allow them to play an active and critical role in securing the bright future for this industry (and themselves), for the greater benefit of society. 

After all, it's the mechanical power transmission industry that keeps the world rolling, turning, sliding, spinning... moving forward.

Joe Johnson is a "Next Generation" Lovejoy sales representative who has quickly come up to speed covering the dynamic (oil & gas active) regions of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To find a highly qualified Lovejoy representative in your corner of the world, please use the Find a Sales Representative Tool

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