When Paula Hagerty has a goal, she makes sure it’s within her sights. Literally. She writes it on a piece of paper, pins it to her bulletin board, and looks at it every day – right next to a running list of big sales and projects she’s working on. Ambitions side-by-side with achievements. Wishes next to the hard work it takes to make them come true.
Earlier this year, Paula was honored with Bentley’s 2016 Account Executive of the Year award – one of her major career goals since rejoining the company three years ago (more on that story below!). She paves her own path to success and it’s one we think others may benefit from following. We asked Paula what she stands for and what helps Bentley stand out.
- What was your career path that led you to Bentley? Interestingly, this is my second stint with Bentley. I graduated from college with an interior design degree and have been part of the A&D industry ever since. I started as a showroom manager in the Merchandise Mart, and then worked in furniture dealer support and sales. Since then, I’ve been in carpet sales for three different mills, including Bentley (first in 1999 and then rejoined the team in January 2014). The fact that I came back to Bentley should speak volumes.
- What do you love most about Bentley? I’ve never heard anyone say “no.” The can-do approach is phenomenal. If we don’t have it, we create it – together. When there’s a need, we figure out how to get it done. Bentley is nimble, hands-on and collaborative, at every level of the organization. And when you combine the collaborative culture with a line of products that exceed design and performance standards, you know why there’s so much loyalty to Bentley, inside and out. I can’t sell a product I don’t believe in.
- Describe your approach to sales. Two words come to mind: consultative and collaborative. Sales is not just transactional; it is very much about relationships. One size does not fit all. I ask A LOT of questions, but I also listen. I take the time to understand their goals and challenges because sometimes what they think they want isn’t what they need. My design background is a strength; I can speak designers’ language, visualize what they’re trying to create, and offer well-informed suggestions.
- What is your advice to junior sales executives striving to do great things? Ask questions, listen carefully and know your product line. It’s as simple and as hard as that. My 25-year-old niece Katie works with me and that’s my advice to her. The first few years are tough. Stick with it. Keep making the call. Success will come.
- Do you have a life motto or favorite quote? “Define what it is you want. Write it down. Make a plan. And work on it every single day.” I’m a firm believer in if you write it down and put it out there, you will achieve it. You may not know how or when, but it will happen.
- Is there anything else you’d like people to know – about you or Bentley? I can’t sell a product I don’t believe in. For example, others in the industry are dematerializing their products to achieve lower price points. At Bentley, we refuse to do this. We utilize premium raw materials and, through innovation, we achieve the same results without sacrificing performance. Bentley marries integrity with performance and design. It’s the best-kept secret in the industry.
Until now. Thanks, Paula!