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Career Story: Sales Manager For A Manufacturer Of Lights And Switches

Sales Manager For A Manufacturer Of Lights And Switches

Job Title: Inside Sales Manager/Distribution Coordinator

Type of Company: My company manufactures indicator lights and sells switches and LED lighting products.

Education: BS, Business Administration, Colby-Sawyer College (New London, NH) •• AFA, Photography, Colby-Sawyer College •• AS, Legal Secretarial Studies, Colby-Sawyer College

Previous Experience: I have an extensive background in customer service and accounts management and worked as coordinator for the sample department in a major toy company.

Job Tasks: My key responsibilities are account development, account management and working with customers to determine their product needs. To do this I work with our engineering department, our distributors, our manufacturer's representatives -- our "feet on the street" -- and sometimes the customers themselves.

A typical day involves reviewing customer purchase orders that come in by e-mail or fax and helping to process them. I also quote and sample our products. We send actual samples of our products for people to test. You probably have something you use at home that has our light or switch in it. We are, for example, the sole source for the XBox 360 switch. I also help customers solve problems, go to vendor sites to retrieve purchase orders and invoice customers for products we've sold. I prospect for new business by calling companies I've seen in advertisements or those who've made inquiries on our website for product and catalog information.

My job involves communication skills, written and verbal, detail oriented, analytical, computer languages important for spread sheets, customer management databases, marketing, interpersonal relationships in the office and over the phone, international business development. Learning a language such as Mandarin, Spanish, French would be very beneficial. I wish I had pursued French in college. When you can communicate more effectively with other cultures in business you build a more solid relationship and will be given more information than your competition which can mean winning a contract or not winning. Practice writing! Learn to write a solution to a problem on the spot. You will use this skill daily. Learning to take good notes is invaluable. Enjoy what you do and people will feel comfortable with you. Smile, people hear it in your voice.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working on a project and seeing it come through and hearing from the customers how well the product is working and being able to grow the business into other product lines.

The worst part of my job is sometimes the management team obstacles instead of a team approach it is looked upon as individual tasks and it makes it difficult to meet goals sometimes, unfortunately this can affect customers and have a negative result. Practice writing!!

Job Tips: If you are interested in manufacturing learn about the different parts, materials, quality, production planning, purchasing, marketing, sales, engineering, assembly, management. All these areas are very involved and each of them offers a lot of opportunity. Manufacturing offers a lot of opportunities. Business classes, math, English, communications, organizational behavior are some of the classes that will help to prepare you. Taking summer jobs that involve serving the general public are a great way to learn about people skills, and developing them.

Additional Thoughts: What has surprised me the most about my job is the lack of work ethic today. When I was in school it was simply expected that you worked hard it was not accepted that you did not. Do yourselves a favor and adopt a strong and healthy work ethic, you will be invaluable to your company and the people you help.

I think the biggest misconception is that I do one task all day. Sometimes I also practice writing. I wish I knew I would've been involved in international business more, I would've taken more classes and languages. I would've moved onto a different level in manufacturing and would be earning more. If I could change one thing, I would have pursued my Masters in Business Administration while I was still single. At the time everyone was pursuing them and the degree at the time was not seen as valuable. Well word of advice, if it is valuable to you and what you want for yourself and it is a positive pursuit it's worth pursuing. The most important personal qualities are honesty, positive attitude, strong work ethic. Writing, speaking, interpersonal relationships. Practice writing! The variety and volume of work expected in a given day. Time management required to complete it knowing some of it will have to be finished tomorrow.

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