Play by the rules and follow the guidelines.
Justin learned about being a team player in high school where he played ice hockey. Some 15 years later, Justin is still skating to where the puck is going, not where it is. That hockey maxim works well for Justin inside and outside the workplace. In fact, hockey is what brought Justin to Noble. A fellow high school hockey teammate, who later worked for Noble, invited Justin to apply for an opening in sales.
Justin isn’t exaggerating when he says his sales territory is the world. He supports GCOM (Government Commerce) clients in Africa, Europe, Japan, plus a few U.S. locations such as California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam. It can be a challenge to communicate with a client 14+ time zones away from the U.S. East Coast, but Justin handles it by being flexible, altering his work hours, taking work home occasionally, and being vigilant about timely email communications.
Justin brings valuable work experience to Noble. “I worked for an import-export business,” he explains, “so, international sales at Noble was a good fit and a seamless transition.”
Selling internationally has some unique requirements also, starting with the need to understand different cultures. Justin compensates by being sensitive to cultural norms. He ensures that his emails to countries like Japan conform to local expectations for courtesy.
To identify and respond to competitive bids, Justin monitors the GSA Advantage and GSA eBuy systems. He seeks out opportunities no matter the size, as sometimes orders that start small grow into mega deals. In his role, Justin identifies suppliers and works out the pricing and shipping details when preparing Noble’s bid. Logistics can be a deal breaker with international sales, so Justin focuses his attention end-to-end on all aspects of product delivery. He says with conviction, “A sale isn’t a sale until there is an invoice.”
In 2017, the volume of Justin’s sales for GCOM exceeded $3.5M. A large sale to the U.S. Navy in Japan helped considerably. Following a successful bid for pallet racking, the Navy was so satisfied with the products received and the service delivered by Justin, that they came back for more. During the busiest crunch time of the year, the Navy gave Justin 24 hours to respond to a requirement ten times the size of the initial order. Justin met this challenge, and Noble won the business. Success often breeds success in sales, and the same customer returned to Justin for a significant order of mattresses. “I have a process that helps me make sure opportunities don’t fall through the cracks,” he says. And it works.
Justin always exceeds his weekly target of 25 new proposals. GCOM RFPs are highly competitive. He attributes his high level of success with international sales to a process which he continuously strives to improve. For many distributors, it can be challenging to stand out in a marketplace dominated by strictly online procurement platforms. Justin breaks through by delivering a level of service that his customers recognize and appreciate. Justin remarks, “The best part of my day is getting positive reinforcement from a happy customer.”
Justin knows he isn’t alone when it comes to supporting customers. He has the backup of his many peers in Noble's GCOM sales department. He notes that, “Noble has a mission-complete attitude. Everyone is available at the drop of a dime to help out.” Mentoring from experienced leaders at Noble is essential to Justin. After an initial six months learning curve and the help of a mentor, Justin assumed his own sales territory, and he hasn’t looked back.
Justin’s hockey hero, Ray Bourque, once said. “I’m having fun here. I’m trying to get noticed by working hard.” Justin’s skates are sharp.