In 1981 I was working for Cla-Val, the automatic control valve manufacturer, when I had the opportunity to begin my 37-year career, working for Great Lakes Pump & Supply in outside sales. They haven’t thrown me out, yet!
Once upon a time I was hired by Wayne County Community College and Chrysler Corporation, to teach pump theory and application in paint shops to new maintenance hires at Chrysler. It was a four-week commitment, fully supported by Great Lakes Pump, to go the extra mile for our customer and I suppose we got to promote our knowledge of paint shop pump technology at the same time.
I will never forget the commitment by Bruce Beutler, long-time owner of Great Lakes Pump, when I joined his team: If you were successful, then so was Great Lakes Pump. I have tried to pass that same message and philosophy to every new employee. While I have much to teach and many stories to tell, I am continually learning on this job.
The most difficult situation that any sales person can find themselves in is the urge to tell a customer, “You are wrong.” You have to be very tactful in your approach. The best way is to involve your customer in “problem solving,” until you get to the point it becomes “our” solution.
One thing I seem to encounter over and over and over is mechanical seal failures. If you asked 100 sales people who know anything about pumps, you would get the same response: If I had a choice, if the EPA would allow, I would put packing in every horizontal pump sold. Seals will leak and they can be pretty expensive. Packing will leak but it’s cheap.