In Sink The Difference Between Making a Sales and Making a Friend
By Dean Sink, Mickey President
Mickey has won many awards and recognitions over the years from organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Duke University, and various trade groups. We take great pride in all of them and are truly grateful. But what really matters here is what our customers think of us. After all, the Chamber of Commerce never bought a truck body from Mickey and never will. Neither has Duke University. Customer recognition is the ultimate honor.
Customer recognition was showcased recently during a celebration in honor of Wayne Childress, a 29-year Mickey employee who retired last month. Wayne spent his entire Mickey career in sales, most recently as Vice President for Beverage & Engineered Vehicles, and as such really established himself as one of the most customer-facing people in the company. Wayne was an extremely successful salesperson for a lot of reasons, but one in particular – he built relationships with people, not with titles, not with companies, not with sales budgets. He was much more than a supplier to his customers, he was a friend and a confidant. That’s how he earned the customer’s trust. From there he earned their business.
For over 18 years Nestle Waters never even looked at another truck body supplier besides Mickey. Why? “Because of the trust I have in Wayne. I have always thought of him not as a supplier, but as part of the extended Nestle Waters family,” said Dave Muscato, Executive Vice President, Nestlé Direct.
Getting the business is one thing, keeping it is another. Through thick and thin our customers remain loyal to Mickey because of the relationships we built. “I know you have many customers, but you always make me feel like I’m the only one, and that my needs are first in line,” Jackie McLarry, Interstate Batteries’ Fleet Manager, said of Wayne. Jim Moore, former Vice Chairman, President & CEO of Coke Consolidated, put it this way: “In spite of having earned the majority of our business, Wayne never let his sales team develop an entitlement mentality, but continued to work hard to meet our needs.”
I have said it a thousand times – “Wayne is the ultimate salesman, he can sell anything to anybody.” But it finally dawned on me. He will not be remembered as a great salesman. He will be remembered as a great friend.
Enjoy your retirement Wayne. You earned every minute of it.