2011 Sales Leaders: Diamond in the Rough
To someone outside of the jan/san distribution industry, choosing to sell toilet bowl cleaner and toilet paper over diamond engagement rings and gold jewelry might sound a bit crazy. Not for Lindy Hebert, a sales rep with Sanitary Supply Co., in Beaumont, Texas. He’d have it no other way. In fact, he says he wished he would have discovered the jan/san supply industry sooner than when he did — 21 years ago.
“It’s all what you make it,” says Hebert, a former general manager for a retail jewelry chain for 12 years. “You can have the most glamorous job but if you’re not putting food on the table and not making a decent living, it’s not worth it.”
Three years after Hebert’s good friend and former employee David Henderson left the retail jewelry business and joined Sanitary Supply Co., he convinced Hebert to interview for a sales position with the company. Twenty-one years later, Hebert now works under Henderson, who serves as Sanitary Supply’s vice president.
Hebert’s first year selling cleaning supplies instead of glitz and glamour products came as a bit of a surprise.
“I was lost for the first year. It took the whole first year just to figure out what was going on,” says Hebert.
But after that initial year of getting his feet wet, everything clicked for Hebert.
“The next several years I started to get the ball rolling,” says Hebert. “The first year, you have to measure success with income. My first year here, I made more money than I made any other year in retail managing 10 stores and 100 people. And it just got better from there. Every year is better than the last for 21 years.”
Henderson says Hebert’s success over the last two decades comes as a result of his non-pretentious, ethical and down-to-earth selling style. It’s this still rough-around-the-edges, laid-back and personable style that makes him a hit with his customers.
“He’s got a real inherent ability to relate to his customers and their needs,” says Henderson. “He’s just a real genuine individual and he really believes in his ability to help a customer out.”
There have been many instances where a new custodian starts at one of the schools Sanitary Supply Co. services, and Hebert is the first to go out, at any time of the day, get to know the person and teach him or her about products and procedures.
“He’ll go out and teach them how to scrub toilets,” says Henderson. “He’ll clean right beside them. Whatever it takes. And these folks remember that.”
In the business of sales some reps might view success by their annual salary, but Hebert says success in his eyes comes as a result of helping customers.
“If I can help people do a better job and they’re successful, that helps me be successful,” says Hebert. “It’s rewarding to see people be successful and know that you had a part in that.”
Hebert’s passion to help others even extends to helping people catch fish. He is a licensed captain in the state of Texas and runs his own fishing charter service, Lucky Lindy Charters. So when he’s not teaching customers how to properly strip and recoat a gym floor, he’s helping them catch a trophy-sized speck, redfish or flounder on the local salt water lakes near Beaumont.
“His whole attitude whether it’s about work or fishing, or anything else is just slow and steady,” says Henderson. “He learns everything he can about it and then sets off and succeeds at it. And he’s done that with practically everything he’s put his mind to. Whether it’s guiding on the salt water lakes around here or selling cleaning products, it’s just the way he operates."
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