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Tropical Marine Centre is looking to recruit two new sales executives. Here prospective applicants can learn more about the company and what the role involves.

Tropical Marine Centre has been supplying the trade with ethically-sourced marine fish, corals and inverts for over 40 years, as well as manufacturing and distributing quality, innovative products for the aquarium, planted aquarium and pond. The company is currently looking to recruit two new sales executives to be based at its site in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, which opened in 1990. But what does the day-to-day job entail?

Craig, who joined TMC in early 2011, reveals more about the role: "Two days of the week, my time is spent delivering technical customer and hobbyist support via the phone and inhouse, so I would say some prior fishkeeping knowledge is important, although admittedly you do learn a lot on the job!

"I also spend quite a bit of my time sorting returns and educating customers on the correct use of products and the science behind fishkeeping. It’s nice to get the chance to apply that learned knowledge, which also helps with inputting ideas for product development during team meetings.

"Other regular tasks include spending time on the phone, following up leads picked up during the previous week and perhaps pitching some commercial aquatic equipment proposals as and when the opportunity arises."

People skills are also a definite must-have. "My job involves dealing with walk-in enquiries, helping people feel welcome and enabling them to enjoy their visit while delivering product demos and gathering general information that could be useful for their specific area. A little banter is enjoyable and good customer relationships are often formed this way, which allows for a relaxed sales approach without the customer feeling they’re being sold a used car!

"However, changing your approach and even your personality to suit different clients is paramount. The saying ‘people buy from people’ definitely applies here; you need to be their 'friend' and what constitutes a friend varies greatly depending on the personality of the customer. This personality shifting can be quite fun as every customer is different!"

When not delivering tech or hobbyist support or dealing with in-house issues, Craig will be researching sales figures, forward planning customer site visits/phone calls andformulating a plan of action to remedy any known issues, pitches of new products and outing competitor ranges already in store.

"The desirable aim of all this is, of course, to increase sales and profitability but also to ensure the customer is happy and well equipped with the knowledge and appropriate ranges to suit their customer base," says Craig.

"Good customer satisfaction is leaving them feeling they are being continually looked after and supported, which results from a balance of both sales technique and support."

The remaining two or maybe three days of Craig’s week will be spent out on the road.

"My area usually dictates that I spend four plus hours driving a day," Craig explains. "This leads to the occasional overnight stay, meaning reduced driving time and increased customer visit time, which is preferable, plus I’ll then be up bright and early the next day to continue where I left off in the same area. On average, I will see perhaps four customers per day and I’ll spend 45 minutes to an hour with them: however, time spent can go up or down depending on how busy they are or how well they take the pitch!

"I regularly clock up over 1,000 miles a week on the road, including my commute to work. Being out and about is useful in that it often means picking up on all the inside gossip, such as information about new shops opening up and who’s doing what, which can be useful for planning. Building up a rapport with the customers can be very rewarding, especially when they are responsive and trust your judgement in terms of new products and pitches. However, the offset of this can be increased levels of contact via support!"

Working days can reach 11 to 12 hours plus, perhaps once a week, whether this is in the form of a long drive to get home or catching up on paperwork in the office, but time flies and it’s never a drag.

"Giving up the odd weekend here and there to help out customers with open days does happen but this is never an issue for me. It is part and parcel of the job and I enjoy it.

"TMC feels like a small family; you feel very looked after and everyone knows and cares about everyone else. The support from the other staff on-site is unparalleled in any job I have ever worked; I’ve never known harder working people. It really drives you to do more and give the customers extra, which is a reward in itself.

"In my time at TMC I’ve seen animals I never knew existed and learned so much about business and marine life. I hope to be working here for a very long time to come."

Every day is different

No day is ever the same for TMC sales executive Ian, who says the people he meets are so varied and different. "My position never gets repetitive or stale, which is one of the reasons I love it so much," he enthuses. "One day you could be visiting a new customer for the first time, helping them to plan the layout of their store and discussing system design with them, the next you could be visiting a well-established store and looking at new ways to help them increase sales, educate the staff on new products or assist with the creation of a stunning wet display.

"It’s also always a pleasure to meet with hobbyists and end users, either those that you meet in a store who are enthusing about a product, or those that you meet at a store-organised reefers meeting, where you have the opportunity to educate them on the importanceof not buying illegally imported corals.

"All in all, I love my role within a company that’s always forward-thinking, innovative and passionate about what it does, and its one of the many reasons I’m proud to be at Tropical Marine Centre."

Want more information about the role?
Contact Nina Potter, Tropical Marine Centre, Solesbridge Lane, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, WD3 5SX or email [email protected]