BauscherHepp's Sales Representative Group of the Year comprises Glen Turner (left) and Zac Long (right)
We are always so excited to declare our Sales Representative Group of the Year, and this was especially true after finishing up a tough year like 2020. Vegas-based group AJ Sales blew us away with their sales numbers in 2020, exceeding their sales plan by 43.9% and surpassing their 2019 numbers by 69.4%. We asked AJ Sales Principal Glen Turner about the secret to his success, the addition of a new team member, adapting to the challenges of COVID, and the new AJ Sales showroom!
Q: You have a great history of building relationships with clients, from hunting trips to weekends at your cabin. What are some other ways you develop these relationships?
A: I’ve always had the mentality to sell yourself first and be a resource to the customer. I’ve never walked into a situation thinking of winning the deal 100%…never. It’s always been, win the trust, be an asset whether you have the product or not, be a resource and build the trust. I think it’s worked as I’ve managed to grow my business most every year for 13 plus years. I take calls weekly from customers and first thing out of their mouth is, hey Glen, I know you don’t sell this but who does and who do you trust. Those are the calls you want as they know your lines and you will shoot them straight. Customers like to buy from trustworthy people….never do I sell something I don’t believe in or know will not work. I’ll walk from a deal before selling something that doesn’t work for the end-user.
Relationship building is job #1 on a daily business. I’m not a high-pressure guy, I just get to know the customer, their interest, their style, family if any. The rest is simple….I text on a regular basis around holidays, as well as just a text or an emoji waving at someone if I haven’t seen them of recent. When I’m not busy, I walk into an office just to wave and say hi. Not with catalogs, not to talk about business, just to say hi. At times we may never talk about a plate, just visiting….it’s called face-time. I do everything I can to stay in front of the decision maker. I have lunch with customers on a regular basis…that can range from walking into a chefs office and they are eating banquet food (they usually ask me to join them), having lunch on property with them or taking them to lunch off property.
Q: How has the addition of Zac Long helped AJ Sales achieve new heights in sales?
A: Zac joined me in September of 2019. He was a customer of mine looking to get out of the chef world and was curious of sales. He and I visited many days and I invited him to NRA (National Restaurant Association Show) in 2019 just to see how he would interact on the big stage with factory exec’s and let him really see the big picture. We attended and everyone had great things to say and the rest is history.
Zac has allowed me to spend even more time with my core customers and walk a bit out of the daily trenches of what we do and trying to grow and sniff new business. He’s been on my hip since day one as a shadow, listening, taking notes, learning the lingo and my style of selling. He’s begun to branch out on chef friends of his, referrals I pass along to him and shadowing me in showroom with customers. Needless to say, he’s been a huge help, a friend, a partner I can talk to on daily business. It’s been a great chemistry for sure and that’s not easy to find as a rep.
Q: How did you and your team adapt to the challenges posed by Covid this past year?
A: We played the hand we were dealt and invested in a showroom. Best thing I’ve ever done is develop the showroom. All people are comfortable coming, very complementive and a controlled size space….it’s become a get away for customers to get out of the casino.
It’s also been great for Zac and I to have reason to keep in contact with the customer. Whether they are still employed or not, we invite them over to explore and just to chat. Times we take them to lunch, times we just visit.
People liked to be contacted just to ask how they are doing…it’s a time unlike any other and reaching out to check-in has never been more important.
We know this is a trying time for our industry, which is why we created our Covid-19 Resources and Aid page with information about grants and initiatives to help.