2011 Sales Leaders: The Government Guru
There might not be a more extreme road warrior than Brad Bobbitt.
Bobbitt, a sales rep with AmSan in Pennsauken, N.J., racks up nearly 150,000 miles every year on his vehicle driving up and down Interstate 95 on the East Coast to service some of the most prominent facilities where the highest-ranking officials in the United States work. Whether it’s the Pentagon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, or the Statue of Liberty just to name a few, he has the job of making sure that these high-profile institutions and landmarks have the necessary products and that the custodians cleaning them are properly trained.
A typical workday for Bobbitt, who lives outside of Philadelphia, often begins with a two-and-a-half hour drive to Washington D.C., where he services 80 percent of the capital’s government buildings. Other days he passes through the nation’s capital on an eight-hour trek to Fort Bragg, N.C., where he services the military base that consists of 487 buildings.
Whatever the destination, it’s typical for Bobbitt to set up shop in the cockpit of his vehicle.
“I operate my car just like my office,” says Bobbitt, who has a smorgasbord of technology tools such as an iPhone, an OnStar phone, a laptop and an iPad.”
On these long commutes, Paul Chenier, a regional equipment specialist with AmSan, says it’s not uncommon for Bobbitt, while driving, to be helping solve a customer’s problem on one phone, help a fellow salesperson go after a new piece of business on the other and reply to e-mails from his laptop — all at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking.
Bobbitt says people often call him crazy for driving to great lengths to service his customers, but his reasoning is he wants his customers to have access to him at all times. He says if he were to fly to these locations, customers wouldn’t have access to him while on the plane, a “no-no” in his book. He operates under the mentality of putting the customer first and doing whatever it takes to make sure they are being taken care of.
For example, two weeks into the job, Bobbitt visited a customer who was looking for a bamboo rake. Bobbitt, still new to the jan/san industry and trying to impress the customer, guaranteed that he would find this rake, even though the woman said her five other suppliers could not.
“She said, ‘If you find this rake, you get all my business,’” Bobbitt recalls. “I left her building and went to 15 different stores that same day, found the rake, and I bought a dozen of them. I took them into the building the same day and her jaw dropped. She said, ‘You know what, you got my business.’”
Seventeen years later that same customer now services several high- profile government accounts and purchases more than $5 million dollars of product from him a year. Since that business dealing, Bobbitt says has operated under the motto of “whatever it takes.”
Bobbitt has built up such a great reputation with his clientele that they trust him to order the necessary products for their facilities, says Chenier. It doesn’t hurt that in 2003, Bobbitt was honored by the White House as part of a group that won a White House Closing The Circle Award.
Chenier says that this honor has led Bobbitt to help implement and train many other governmentally-owned facilities on green cleaning programs.
When Bobbitt isn’t helping government accounts practice sustainability along the eastern seaboard, Bobbitt is staining his thumbs in a little greenery of his own. He has a passion for yard work and has a keen eye for landscaping. He says it’s his release.
“At home on the weekends, my wife says, ‘Geez, I see you go out at 8 in the morning and I don’t see you until dark,’” says Bobbitt.
One might figure that Bobbitt might cut his lawn with a push mower with all the driving he does during the week. That’s not the case, though. He jumps on his John Deere riding mower. Add that to his mileage.
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