Name: Joe Franks
Role: Area Sales Manager
Area: SW and South Wales
Company: Jaga, a leading supplier of energy efficient heating and ventilation solutions.
Who are your main clients and what industry sectors do you tend to work with?
Jaga is well known for its innovative range of low surface temperature (LST) radiators and these are ideally suited to public buildings, particularly those where safety is important and radiator safety is regulated such as schools, care homes and the healthcare sector.
Most of my discussions tend to be with mechanical consultants and contractors in these sectors although I also sell to plumbing and building merchants who retail our products to the trade and public.
Run me though a typical day
I set aside time each week for planning so that the rest of my time is well organised with meetings both with potential new customers and existing clients. I’ll generally have around five meetings a day lined up to discuss current and future projects.
My job is all about relationships so I will keep in touch with consultants as we develop a specification, catching up with them every three to four weeks to check on progress. Once a specification has been agreed I’ll then liaise with the contractor to talk through any technical details and issues. From this point I’ll be making regular site visits to make sure everything is running smoothly.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish. I also like the fact that every day is different.
How important is it to have good technical skills in your role?
It’s hugely important. I’m far more than just a salesman selling a product, this is very much a consultancy role where I can offer real knowledge and service and provide useful input in the design process. It’s about finding the right product or system for the right application and having the technical knowledge and understanding to back up and justify that decision.
How have you acquired those skills?
My background is in architecture and technical services so I’m used to dealing with M&E consultants and I understand how they work and what they need. I also get excellent in-house training from Jaga which has given me in-depth product knowledge and a solid understanding of each product’s applications and benefits. This means I have the confidence to advise clients on the right solutions for their project.
What do you find most challenging?
Once the relationship with a consultant or contractor is established it’s easy to maintain, but it can be hard work getting in front of the right person in the first place and securing that initial appointment. As with any sales job, it’s all about perseverance and patience.
As someone new to the HVAC sector, what are the attractions for people considering sales roles in HVAC?
I enjoy the relationship building side of the job and, as I’ve already mentioned, the involvement at every stage of the project, from design through to installation and after service. Every day is different and so is every project, which keeps things interesting. I also like the fact that my employer gives me the flexibility to manage my own time. Coming from an office-bound role, it’s nice to have the freedom to work independently and arrange my week so that there’s plenty of variety.