I started in the pump business working for a distributor/rep in the Philadelphia area. About seven years later I took a position as a direct salesperson in that same area for a pump manufacturer.
When I was at my employer’s Chicago headquarters for training, I was told that a particular Fortune 500 company was a house account. I told them that this Fortune 500 company has a plant in my territory that I had been calling on for many years. They told me not to call on them because all inquiries and engineering for that Fortune 500 company was done out of that company’s headquarters, which was also in Chicago.
I tried to explain that, at least at the plant in my territory, they engineered and purchased pumps locally for everyday use. Again, I was told to not call on them.
Since I am rather strong willed, several weeks after returning home, I called on a couple of my contacts at the plant in my territory, showed them this new technology I had learned about, and discussed where I thought they might be able to use it in their plant.
They were somewhat familiar with the company I worked for and had some of our product in the plant on some OEM equipment. We came up with several areas that they could possibly use these pumps.
About a month later I got my first order from them. When I sent it in to the sales manager, I reiterated what I had told him earlier, that this plant does have local engineering and purchasing capability. Only when it is a much larger project do they turn it over to corporate engineering and procurement.
I told him I was not expecting a commission for this order but felt that as a salesperson for the company it was my duty to help increase sales whenever and wherever possible.
About three years later I was promoted to V.P. of sales and marketing for the U.S. It should come as no surprise that one of my first actions was to eliminate house accounts.
Director of Sales and Global Product Management
Zenith Pump Division
Editor’s note: In addition to being a MANA member, Limper also serves on MANA’s Wisdom Council as a volunteer mentor. MANA members can view full details about the Wisdom Council in the member area of www.MANAonline.org.