Join us as we explore a new quote each week, reflecting on 40 years of innovation!
“From the early days, as employee number four, until my retirement in 2013 I was involved in the development of FlexiForce, from a small supplier into a market leader in hardware. Thirty years of customer dedication and having fun. I congratulate the current FlexiForce team and wish everybody the best for the future!” – Ep Jansen, Account manager (1983 – 2013)
In the early days of FlexiForce, when Frans Meijer and his wife were still the only employees, the second expansion of the company was realized by hiring a sales person, Mr. Ep Jansen. Frans and Ep knew each other from working together in Rolkan, at that time a Dutch door manufacturer.
For this weeks quote, we look back at an interview we did with Ep for his 25th anniversary at FlexiForce. Always in sales, always serving the customer.
Could you describe the early days of working for FlexiForce?
Of course, I was hired for sales but not only for sales. In the early days of such a small company, more activities had to be done so I was involved in everything. Purchasing, warehouse- and production activities. In the beginning, Frans Meijer and I started preparing orders first things in the morning and after having finished that we went to the office only around 11 or 12 in the morning for starting the office activities. In that time, contact with customers was not only done by phone but many times also by letter and by telex. A fax machine was not yet existing and offers could be made by telex, a machine many people even do not know anymore. For me it were interesting and exciting years! I learned a lot and the basis was made for the following years at FlexiForce.
Could you point out major milestones of your many years in FlexiForce?
Yes I can! Some major milestones in my 30 years at FlexiForce are for example the introduction of residential hardware in the late eighties, the fact FlexiForce changed from only being a tradig company into a production company what has resulted in the international expansion of the company. A personal milestone was at one time being a part of the Management Team. Later on, I returned to sales again as Account Manager, in which position I feel much happier.
What has changed in FlexiForce over the past years?
From the very beginning, changes have been a continuous process in FlexiForce. And that is not strange of course, if you realize that FlexiForce has been growing every single year right from the start in 1980! The biggest changes are of course in the fact that FlexiForce evolved from a by one person managed company into a company managed by a goup of people and a holding company FlexiForce Group. Also having a lot of international colleagues in more and more subsidiaries has been a big change. For FlexiForce the motto is: change is good!
After 30 years of sales experience, what advice would you like to give to young, starting sales people in the door industry?
My advice to those people is in fact very simple: Give your customer the attention he/she deserves, let them see that you really care about their success. If you promise to call back, call back as soon as you can, even if you do not have the right answer ready. If you promise to send information, do it as fast as you can. But most of all: be honest! If you are asked something you know you can’t do, do not promise it, be honest to say that it’s not possible. So very simple things, no special training needed! We are in many situations customers ourselves. Then you know how you would like to be treated. That is the way to approach your own customers.