Tales From a Road Warrior: Independent Rep Jens Søndergaard

By
Sarah Leung
October 20, 2014

Jens Søndergaard is an independent rep working throughout Norway who’s used sales order management software to completely transform the way he deals with both suppliers and clients. Check out what he had to say about his DJ-ing days, the Norwegian highway system (or lack thereof), and why he loves mobile technology.

How One Independent Rep Uses Sales Order Management Technology: An Interview

HS: What do you sell and who do you sell to? JS: I’m an independent rep selling porcelain, kitchenware, flatware, and glassware products. Some of the global brands I work with include Rosenthal Porcelain, Sambonet Paderno, and Borowski. Borowski, for instance, makes designer glassware, and the White House is actually a client. I also work with Hoptimist, a quirky Danish brand that just makes you happy. HS: What territory/region do you cover? In what cycle? JS: I cover Norway and see my biggest clients 6-8 times a year. For some, 3-4 times a year is normal. The season runs from January to June and mid-August to mid-November. HS: What's a typical day like for you on the road? JS: My day on the road can run from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM. On average, I can make 3-5 appointments in a day. At times, though, I have to travel long distances--up to 8 hours of driving in a day. Norway has a lot of beautiful mountains and nature, but not so many highways because of that. HS: How do you use sales order management software at your field sales appointments? JS: I’m a proud user of sales order management software, and have been for a long time. I was even part of an early test team/focus group for Handshake that was able to provide some ideas and insights that are in use today. When I first started using order management software, it saved a lot of the time that I used to spend writing orders on the road. It was once all done by hand with a pen and paper, and when I went back to the hotel late at night, I had to sit and email orders to the sales office. Sales order management software has solved that problem, and I use it every day. When I’m in a store, I just enter the order, immediately send the email to both the client and supplier, and I’m done! I recently had a chance to present the software at a worldwide sales meeting in Germany, and everyone was impressed. I love using it and learning new tricks to use it even more effectively. HS: What is your biggest challenge as a field sales person? JS: It’s challenging to stay on top of changes in technology and to compete with online retail. I work with boutique and luxury brands, so things are a bit easier, but the fight for space in stores is always challenging in a small country with a population of only five million people. But as long as you keep a smile on your face and maintain good relationships with clients, things always work out. HS: People can buy from others, but why do they buy from YOU? JS: My customers are buying high-end products from well-known brands that emphasize quality and reliability. Among local stores, I’m known for working with these kinds of brands. I’m an honest sales rep, and I only sell products to stores when I know they’ll do well with them. HS: What's the funniest/weirdest thing that has ever happened to you at a sales appointment? JS: The funniest thing was probably the time I went to meet a store owner who actually remembered me as a DJ from 30 years back. I was totally stunned, but we had a fun flashback moment. The weirdest thing was when I started as a sales rep in Norway. I was shocked at how open and personable people were. Everyone’s on a first name basis, and you get a lot of hugs.   Thanks for sharing, Jens! Your international perspective has been a great addition to our Road Warriors series. Click here to read about our last featured rep, Tracia Luther from Jura Toys, and keep looking out for more tales from the road. As always, if you or any road warriors you know would like to share their stories on our blog, email us at info@handshake.com for details.