Not everyone is cut out for sales. Even superstars are challenged – by competitors, market conditions, customer demands. But according to Bentley’s 2017 Sales Person of the Year, attitude is everything.
Wendy Jorgensen, saleswoman extraordinaire from the bustling Big Apple and a finalist for this year’s Interior Design HiP Seller award, is a true believer in mind over matter. It’s what keeps her resilient – and successful.
- What was your career path prior to carpet sales and joining Bentley?
I grew up in a family of general contractors, so I became obsessed with interior design at a young age. In fact, my father’s best friend ran a large construction company and took me under his wing when I was eight years old; it was only natural that I majored in interior design at Syracuse years later.I took a job at a small interiors firm after college, and became infatuated with carpets and textiles. One day I was a designer, the next I was a carpet rep. It’s been a great ride.
- What do you believe is your key to success?
Never giving up – it’s how I was raised. My father always said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” And it’s true. It’s not easy executing someone’s design vision, but there’s always a way to make it happen. There’s no better feeling than creating a custom solution for a customer.
- Describe your approach to sales and relationships.
Most people take a real estate approach to sales – turn your friends into customers. I’ve never liked that. I have customers and turn them into friends. It’s all about deepening the client/seller relationship by being honest and real, and it’s the only way to become a consultant and trusted partner. Customers who I’ve developed friendships with have been the most gratifying.Sometimes the problematic moments are what make or break these relationships. As the salesperson, you’re the tip of the spear. If there are complications with a delivery, it’s your job to be transparent and take ownership of that news. Disappointments can happen at no fault of your own – but open and honest communication with customers goes a long way.
- How have you grown personally and professionally since you first started in this business?
I’m still growing! The truth of the matter is after all my years in business, I’m still me. You need to focus on your strengths and give yourself a break on your weaknesses – otherwise the weed strangles the plant. I’ve learned to be a little kinder to myself and it’s a work in progress every day. But if you want your strengths to grow, you need to cultivate them instead of worrying about weaknesses that might not change. Beating yourself up doesn’t do you any good – in fact, it does a lot of damage.
- Do you have advice to junior sales executives striving to do great things?
You need have skin in the game. It’s a competitive industry. You need to wake up every day and realize whatever success you had yesterday is over. Become invaluable to your customers by deepening relationships, and creating depth and importance to the products you’re selling.
- Do you have a life motto or favorite quote?
To stay happy and successful, you must seize the moment. You can’t live in the past and worry about the future, which is often easier said than done. Forgive yourself. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on to the better part of yourself. Living this way makes you happier in life – and work.
- Why do you love Bentley?
Bentley has stood by me through the good and bad years. This company truly lives by its core values – flexibility, commitment, creativity and doing the right thing. I consider everyone here family.