With a well-respected, seasoned sales rep for a father, Ryan Schultz had a larger-than-life image to live up to when he first joined Newington, Connecticut-based C&C Janitorial Supplies as an inexperienced sales rep. His father, a 3M regional sales rep for 28 years, had introduced Schultz to C&C at a time when the company was looking to hire. Despite a mechanical background and zero sales experience, Schultz accepted the position and hasn’t looked back.

“I always lead with my best foot forward,” he says. “I’m not scared to try new things.”

By Schultz’ own admission, his first few years at C&C Janitorial Supplies were tough but rewarding.

“I worked hard to try and learn everything I could, having never been in the field,” he says. “For the first year, my father was my mentor — 28 years of experience is hard to pass up. He taught me how to do cold calls and use proper terminology so I didn’t get myself locked out of a sales meeting. He also taught me how to read people: By paying attention to customers’ body language and gestures, you can change what you’re talking about so it’s of interest to them and dictate the meeting’s outcome.”

Most importantly Shultz learned that honesty is the best policy.

“My father said if you’re honest you never have to remember it,” says Shultz. “If you lie to a customer, you’re going to have to remember that lie for as long as you have that customer.”

The apple has not fallen far from the tree. Now in his 11th year, Schultz, a strategic account manager, is a sought-after mentor to other sales reps at C&C Janitorial Supplies.

“I spend a lot of time with Ryan in the field, and whether it’s an installation or an inspection, I notice all our sales reps call him for advice — not only about which product to choose but how best to handle a particular situation,” says Joe Schaefer, director of sales. “He’s tasked with growing the business, but without hesitation he takes time to coach his peers on how best to go to market.”

Schultz’ hard work and dedication has earned him the title of top equipment sales person three years running. But, as Schaefer point out, he approaches the sales day not with the idea of how much money he’s going to make but how he’s going to help his customer.

“Ryan’s best attribute is that he cares,” says Schaefer. “He’s genuinely interested in how a solution’s going to impact the customer. And by taking that approach he presents solutions he knows will work for the customer — not just ones that will lead to his personal financial gain. That attitude permeates what he does on a daily basis.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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