1. Give the name, job title, company and a description of the industry and product lines/service offered. Jack Palmorn, III works for the Coca-Cola Company as a Merchandising Supervisor for Volusia & Flagler County. Coca-Cola has “A portfolio of more than 3,500 beverages, from diet and regular sparkling beverages to still beverages such as 100 percent fruit juices and fruit drinks, waters, sports and energy drinks, teas and coffees, and milk-and soy-based beverages, our variety spans the globe.” (Coca-Cola.com) Coca-Cola has numerous different products to serve different tastes. BACARDI Premium Mixers used to make adult beverages. Coca-Cola Company offers The Simple brand which consists of different types of juices for people that are health aware. Odwalla brand which has the super food smoothie types of drinks as well as chocolate soy milk, these are more those individuals with a fitness lifestyle. They also have Full Throttle energy drink for the people who need an extra energy bump to get them through the day. Do not forget the water sector with the likes of Smartwater to Vitaminwater both made by Glacéau these are for customers of all ages. 2. How long has he been there? How specifically did he get the job? Jack has been with the Coca-Cola Company for a total of seven years. He found available positions at Coca-Cola by using the Coca-Cola website. His initial search was for any position within the company. Jack grew up in Daytona Beach where Coca-Cola has a bottling plant. This is where he walked into the front office of the bottling plant and filled out an application on their information kiosk. Soon after that he received a called from Coca-Cola for an initial interview. Several interviews later he received a job offer for a position in the warehouse department. 3. How long has he been in sales? Describe his other sales jobs. If no other sales jobs, describe his previous employment. Of the seven years Jack has been with Coca-Cola five of those were served in the warehouse and the past two years have been with the sales portion of the company. Now, before Coca-Cola he did not have job experience in sales. During high school Jack was a bagger at Publix. After high school Jack joined the United States Marine Corps. In the Marines, Jack was part of the 1st Battalion, 1/3rd Marines infantry unit. He was stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and Okinawa, Japan. He spent six months at each base as an accountant for his Battalion. He transferred back and forth between these two bases two times. After spending five years with the Marines, Jack knew that he wanted something greater from his life. After his return from Hawaii he retired from the Marines and signed up for classes at Daytona State College. After four years at Daytona State College he received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Originations of Management. He started working at Coca-Cola two years into seeking his bachelor’s degree. Coca-Cola did not require him to complete his degree, but felt compelled to obtain his degree. 4. Give a detailed description of his typical customer. In other words, who specifically does he target / sell to most? The answer cannot be “everyone.” Jack only deals with the large store locations, such as Food Lion, Publix, Target, Winn- Dixie, and Wal-Mart. Now those are only a few accounts, but they are very important to the company because there are so many locations within Jack’s district. Coca-Cola is always looking for a new segment to gain market share from to maximize the shareholders worth. Every quarter he has a goal of three to five percent more sales than the previous calendar year quarter. “These are very aggressive numbers,” says Jack. This means trying new sales techniques, placing products in creative and new ways. One time he built a display in a Publix that spelled out Daytona 500 in cases of Coca-Cola and Diet Coca-Cola. That got more attention for the product, and that is the best way to get the product off the store shelves and into the consumers’ hands. 5. Describe several of the specific things that he likes and dislikes about the job. The first thing Jack shared with us is that it was difficult to build relationships with employees. He says this because every one of his employees had a different background and upbringing, which makes it hard to understand the needs of each and every one of his employees. At first he did not have any female employees so he was able to refer to his team as “The guys.” The workplace had a locker room atmosphere, but once he hired a few women to become a part of the team he had to adjust his language to be more appropriate and suited for everyone. One dislike about working for the sales department at Coca-Cola is he does not get very much sleep. That is because he is consistently thinking about what he needs to accomplish next. Jack explains that he likes having all the answers before the questions are asked. He does this to prevent as many surprises as he can from happening. He then spoke about how the days are exhausting, stressful and very long. A typical work day starts for him at four in the morning and ends around six or seven in the evening maybe later when it is a peak period. Yet, he shared his favorite part of the job is being out in the field, building the relationships with the general managers of all the accounts in his district. Another thing he likes doing is making sure shipments are received, correct, and properly stocked. Jack likes to be sure his team members are getting everything done that has been assigned to them. He does not go around and check everyone all the time, because he believes his team knows what they are suppose to be doing, but when he is on location he checks the shelves to be sure everything is up to par. 6. Discuss his selling philosophy? How has it changed over time? Jack lives by a very simple but to the point philosophy which is Honor, Courage and Commitment. These are the values he learned and lived by while he was a Marine Corp member. He continues to live by these core values today, because Jack said, “Once a Marine always a Marine.” Jack told us that this is a motto he will always live by but Coca-Cola has their own philosophy they would like him and his team members to live by as well which is ACT: Accountable, Customer Focused and Team Driven. He has worked to combine ACT in with his Marine motto. Another token of knowledge Jack lives by is loyalty. He believes that if you show this quality to all things you do in life, the actions will pay dividends many times over. He has been approached by the competitors of Coca-Cola to come work for them, but the loyalty in his code of ethics would never allow him to change companies. Competitors have tried to recruit Jack and more than half of his staff a number of times, but to no avail, loyalty ranks over the money to Jack Palmorn and his team. 7. Describe the types of training he has received, either at this company, at another company or through life experiences. How effective does he feel each type was? In other words, how has he learned / taught himself to sell? Jack has learned that women make more decisions when it comes to getting jobs done, where men do more labor intensive work. He was really surprised to find this out. He is a strong believer in really learning about the people he is dealing with and how to motivate his employees. He told us that was one way you can improve the people. A good way to learn is to use a mentor. Do not use your immediate supervisor; use someone from another part of the company. Jacks’ college degree helps him with identifying the needs of his team members. Once you know the needs of your employees, then you can meet those needs and you are able to improve the performance output from them. This happens, because the employees see you want to improve their lives, so they will want to help Jack improve his sales numbers. He believes in the halo effect, if people look happy they will be more productive. Jack has learned that having dedication is a quality that you must have. You want your team members to be able to turn to you in any time of need. This being another quality that he lives by; Jack is always on the clock. Even on a day off he is only a phone call away from anyone of his clients or company. Jack told us you should always learn new things from now until you are unable to comprehend anymore. If you are not learning then you are not living to your fullest potential. A small tip Jack shared with us before we went on to the next topic was to write everything down. It does not matter if you are really good at remembering everything; sometimes you may forget. That one thing could be something so important and you did not mean to forget, but since it was not written down you forgot. 8. What is his attitude about each of the following: quotas, paperwork, and sales managers? When I asked Jack about how he felt toward quotas he said, “They are important to keep track of the way the team is doing for the business.” The reason quotas would not be met is the team worked separately and not a whole. Now when it comes to paperwork, he believes in people before paperwork. Jack told us that paperwork is important, but repetitive and tedious. When he first started the merchandising job, the paperwork would take up to six hours a night. That was very time consuming to Jack, so he found ways to cut the amount of time it took to complete the work without decreasing the quality of work. One tip he shared was to answer all the emails that came in overnight first thing in the morning that way you’re ahead of all the people answering emails once they get to the job site. As for sales managers they play an important role in the team according to Jack. The sales manager brings the whole team together. They work with everyone to make shipments from the bottling plant reach the store shelves. Jack told us that Coca-Cola has sixteen districts in Florida and the Volusia & Flagler County District is number one. He continues to say, “Being number one was not an accident; it has to do with being open, direct, and honest with everyone in the company.” 9. In general terms, what can an entry-level salesperson in his industry expect in the way of compensation? This can include a salary range / structure as well as other benefits, if any. (We are not expecting the sales rep to reveal his salary…only the range for someone new entering the field.) Your base salary will range from twenty-five to thirty-five thousand dollars. The actual number will vary with the amount of expertise you have from previous employment. A search of benefits at Coca-Cola thru their website revealed “As a full-time employee that works for Coca-Cola you would be entitled to full benefits which include Medical (including vision), Dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Group Life Insurance, Dependent Life Insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Business Travel Accident Insurance, Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability, Survivor's Benefits Program and an Employee Assistance Program with confidential counseling services. Also you are eligible for types of lifestyle benefits such as paid vacation and holidays, flex-time, job sharing, telecommuting and local health club discounts.” (Coca-Cola.com) Another benefit to employees, but not all is that there is room to work extra. Coca-Cola does not require you to work over-time or extra, but it is available if you need or want it. That is a benefit to me for sure, because if you need to earn more money it is there for the taking. 10. Describe the perks that come with the job. When I asked Jack this question he told us to look outside to the parking lot, so we did. There was a 2006 Ford Taurus outside. This was provided by Coca-Cola as well a company credit card that takes care of the vehicle expenses such as new tires, oil changes and gasoline. Coca-Cola also gives him an AT&T blackberry cellular phone and a laptop computer to do work outside of the office. His pay structure is setup for quarterly bonuses. Jack told us that most of the time he does everything he can do to make bonuses, but he does not do it on a short staff. He said he would rather have a full staff working and using the whole budget maybe a little more than the budget to get the job done right the first time, instead of making the bonuses on a short staffed and over worked team. Jack is truly a team player and a people person, who works for others before himself while helping everyone along the way and making his part of the company very successful. Small things the company gives Jack for his hard work would be sporting event tickets to such things as the Coke Zero 400, club level tickets to Orlando Magic games, or even tickets to Jacksonville Jaguar games. Jack told us that he usually does not go to these events since he has so much work. Instead, he rewards the best employees on his team with these tickets. He said that gives him more joy to see his employees happy over his owe. 11. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to him during a sales call? Tell the Story! About two weeks from the time the meeting was arranged, Mr. Palmorn relayed an experience concerning an embarrassing conference call. He explained how there were multiple sales representatives from various regions chosen to speak for the center in which they worked. At the introduction of the call, Mr. Palmorn acknowledged each of the regions and thanked them for their participation and support. However, he forgot to mention the Tallahassee sales center. Due to this lack of recognition, the representatives from the forgotten center felt personally hurt and unimportant. To make matters worse, the other representatives observed this mistake as soon as the event transpired. To aid in the rapid mending of these relationships, Mr. Palmorn felt it necessary to make several individual calls and personally apologize for the mishap. Of course, the completion of these calls was very time consuming and slightly uncomfortable for all parties involved. Near the end of his recollection, Mr. Palmorn stressed the importance of thorough paperwork and the necessary focus required in all business proceedings. Mr. Palmorn noted, “The pen is mightier than the sharpest mind,” and the application of this proverb can surely be discerned in this situation. 12. Detail the most satisfying sale he has ever made. Tell the story! Mr. Palmorn conveyed a story recounting a sale he made at a Publix within his area of supervision. The store was launching an “Italian Fest” promotion, and the manager contacted him inquiring about a display he could construct in the lobby to enhance the campaign. Mr. Palmorn organized and directed the construction of a large border circling the lobby comprised of over 1100 cases of Coca-Cola product resembling a brick wall. The display took over four hours to assemble and was featured in the Coke’s corporate magazine. Though the display, or sale, was actually counterproductive because the products could not be purchased for the sake of its preservation, the recognition received was truly memorable and the relationship between Mr. Palmorn and the manager of that branch store was further strengthened. Needless to say, the favor called in by this manager to create the display will play a role in decisions made concerning future sales and the formation of more profitable displays. 13. Would he recommend a career in sales? Why or why not? Without hesitation, Mr. Palmorn animatedly said, “Yes!” he would recommend a career in sales. He stated, “If I go to a job and have to know about people, I’ll win every time.” Mr. Palmorn visibly cherishes the relationships he has fostered during his employment, and believes that these relationships have determined his ultimate success. He explained that one never knows the impact they have on others, or how much a smile or a kind word truly means. To Mr. Palmorn, his clients are like family. To enhance the relationships Mr. Palmorn has with his clients, he often arranges social outings and gatherings that are rarely centered around formal business transactions. These outings often include, but are not limited to: bowling, golf, or going out to dinner. Mr. Palmorn often measures the strength of the relationship by the topics of conversation covered. He echoes values similar to the Hallo Effect, stating that if one is seen as being passionate about people, it is assumed that one is passionate about the job or task at hand. Mr. Palmorn asserts that listening is the best way to communicate, and if one “does what is best for the customer, he will win every time. It’s just that simple.” 14. What is his biggest challenge in sales? What specifically does he do to overcome it? “Communication,” said Mr. Palmorn without hesitation. Perhaps one of the most important skills developed by a sales representative is the art of compromise, and reaching your goals while putting the needs and concerns of your clients first and foremost. He recalled a situation at a local grocery store where a Valentine’s Day themed lobby was launched. Due to the fact that the primary product of this display was candy, the space allotted for Mr. Palmorn was minimal to say the least. He had a 200 case quota and only a 40 case space to work with. He noted that the biggest challenge in sales is to reach his goal while being denied the space needed to fulfill the need. At times, there is also an aspect of friction experienced with certain managers because they have mandated the cutting off of deliveries in order to reduce inventory. However, a “magical delivery” is expected if the product supply is suddenly diminished. Effective communication allows for the greatest result of compromise, and therefore a happy medium for all parties involved. 15. What does the sales rep feel is the most important part of the sales process? Why does he feel that way? Mr. Palmorn mirrored his response to this question to his responses given to questions previously posed. Again, he relayed the importance of communication and regarded it as the greatest asset in a sales representatives’ procession. He states that if a client does not have a need or desire for your product, “just don’t bring it.” A salesperson must always be careful not to overstep the boundaries established within the relationship. If a representative does not abide within the agreement reached with the client, and further arrangements are made, the client perceives that the representative views him as an incompetent or inexperienced manager. This violation is viewed as a personal attack from the seller on the buyer, and therefore it’s vital to avoid the implication of these attitudes. This perception can potentially fracture the relationship beyond repair and impede future business dealings. Mr. Palmorn also advised that the “little things” are often what matters most in building a solid business relationship. Examples of these desired traits are punctuality and keeping appointments. Another fact Mr. Palmorn advised as a sales representative is to remember that “even if they’re wrong, it may provide a future selling point.” Even if the problem or need for the product is inflicted by the manager himself, solving these problems with urgency and promptitude can ensure satisfaction of the transaction on the client’s behalf, and can strengthen the relationship. 16. Describe the qualifications and attributes that he believes someone should have to succeed in this sales job. What can a new rep do to develop/sharpen these skills? Without hesitation, Mr. Palmorn said that the greatest attribute a representative has is a smile. In today’s fast paced society, a smile is becoming rarer in everyday interactions, though it is vital in the initial establishment of relationships. Another important qualification Mr. Palmorn noted was the emphasis on fact-based knowledge concerning the product and its impact on the client. Not all information is perceived as valuable to the client, so a close relationship allows the representative to determine which information to present in a manner that is beneficial to the client. 17. What tips does the salesperson have for overcoming objections? Be sure they are specific to overcoming objections. The most critical part of closing the sale and overcoming objections, according to Mr. Palmorn, is to create a common ground. This is achieved by the representative finding out the mindset of the client, or perhaps articulating their management style or the values they uphold the most in a relationship, and work with them to achieve their objective. He suggests closing the sale early if possible, and usually the promises made by the client are kept and the agreement is upheld. Mr. Palmorn also expressed the importance of planning ahead to forecast the thoughts of the client and predict their needs. Being able to satisfy the needs of the client, even those solely of an anticipated nature, in a rapid manner is often the determining factor when evaluating the satisfaction as perceived by the client. 18. What tips does the salesperson have for closing the sale? Be sure they are specific to closing. Mr. Palmorn states that it is crucial for the representative to break down the details of the transaction in a manner characterized by simplicity and sincerity. Confirmation must be established concerning the agreement reached during the meeting, preferably in a written form. As in previous responses, Mr. Palmorn places great importance on the need for documentation and the completion of thorough paperwork. The specifics of the deal cannot be left to interpretation or guesswork, as potential misunderstanding can brew dissatisfaction within the client after the transaction is complete. Dissatisfaction can cause a riff in the relationship, and therefore the importance of its avoidance emerges. 19. What advice does the salesperson have for you, if you wanted to get into sales? How does he recommend you go about finding the right sales position for you? Mr. Palmorn graciously explains that sales is not necessarily for everyone, and should only be pursued by those who thrive in a fast-paced atmosphere and can constructively pursue their goals with aggression and tenacity. Every day is different, so it is necessary to leave one’s personal problems at the door so that clarity of mind and efficiency of performance can be achieved. Mr. Palmorn notes that one technique that has aided in his personal success is to be a “one-stop-shop” for his clients. He encourages and empowers representatives to personally handle and address the needs, problems, or concerns of the client and to avoid passing out the telephone numbers of other potentially helpful people. Availability and dependability are seen as “the only abilities” valuable to a client and equate to guaranteed success in “ANY” job. 20. How does the sales rep feel about networking?? What advice can he give you for how to do it well? Mr. Palmorn described networking as both “mandatory” and “paramount”. He recognizes that people have a “life other than Coke” and the interests and hobbies shared by individuals are often the motivating factors driving employees in the workplace. He believes his networking connections have allowed him to create a sense of unity among his employees and clients because there are often many similarities found within a group that may normally go unnoticed. When clients or employees feel personally connected to the goal itself or to each other, they are more likely to work harder towards its realization or achievement. After meeting up with Jack Palmorn we quickly found out how awesome and genuine of a guy he is. We spent over three hours talking about everything listed in the questions to our own lives and things going on in the world that day. After the interview we both sent out our thank you notes. I have contacted Jack since our interview. He was really happy with the thank you note. He told me it was a real surprise that showed up in his work mail box. The last time I talked with Jack in invited me to come visit him up at his place of living in Daytona Beach. I really took a lot away from this assignment, beyond writing a paper; meeting an industry member truly shines a light into a place I have not seen before. So, I thank Jack for allowing us a peek at the real world sale life, and Mrs. Gundy for assigning something that has meaning to us students.
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