Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Patrick

December 18, 2017

By Patrick Laplante

As part a family company, I have heard my father talking about business ever since I was a little boy. Although it had always interested me, I had never thought I would end up working alongside my father and my uncle in the company my grandfather started a long time ago.

I had been working in sales ever since I was 16 years old in many different markets than the one I was about to enter, but I thought it would be relatively easy to handle. Very quickly I started noticing the challenges of being a 22-year-old sales rep for electrical products entering a world where most of the manufacturers’ agents had been in the business for a long time.

When I first started working for Laplante & Assoc. I worked inside sales so that I could get to know the products before hitting the road. After approximately one year I was deemed ready to go on the road and see clients. I ended up spending a few days with my father going from client to client, introducing myself as their new sales rep for Laplante and Assoc. Most of the time people were happy to see me but to my surprise I quite often got the ‘’long stare’’ and then the comment of “I hope this kid knows what he’s doing…”

After a few sales calls I began to realize that making sales was going to be much more difficult than what I had thought it would be, much more difficult than in my prior jobs. I also began to realize that our market wasn’t like the other markets I had worked in. Our market was one in which relationships were extremely important. These types of relationships are not built overnight; they take time.

As with many young professionals entering the business, I wanted to generate results quickly — in a world in which generating any results can sometimes take up to a year or more. I had to learn very fast that patience and determination were key to success in our business. I also had to learn to not get discouraged every time someone said no or every time I lost an order. Even though everyone around me was always telling me I might get one positive to five negatives, I still had a very hard time accepting it in the beginning of my career as a sales rep, and I think this is very common among younger professionals entering this business. We tend to take it very personally when we do not succeed.

I realized that it takes a good mentor to keep young professionals motivated and on track. Regardless of who that mentor is — a boss, friend or colleague — the importance of a mentor is something that is frequently overlooked by us young professionals.

When I first started in the family company there was no such thing as the Young Professionals Network. I was going to all the industry events with my uncle, and it was overwhelming to be in a room full of so much talent when I was so young and inexperienced. But we now do have a group called the Young Professionals Network, which has meetings and activities throughout the year where we can meet other young professionals in our industry, talk to them, and learn from their experience. These same young professionals attend some of the industry events that I used to go to with my uncle, and it makes it so much easier when you can walk in and talk to many different people you already know, and who can then introduce you to others you may not know so well. This was my biggest challenge when entering this business: developing relationships with the people who had been working the industry for a long time.

Find out more about Electro-Federation Canada’s Young Professionals Network (YPN): www.electrofed.com/ypn/

 

OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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Changing Scene

  • Prev
Mark your calendar for the Coalition event of the year! Come for an evening of networking, the ...
Recognized for her career as a business leader and innovator, passionate about people, technology ...
Michael Sudjian will move into the new role of Vice President of Logistics for Sonepar Canada ...
Hammond Power Solutions has appointed Jonathan Gorham as Business Development Manager – Western ...
Electrozad has enhanced its process solution capabilities by creating and launching a process ...
Luminaire Led will operate as a standalone division and maintain its operations in Edison, New ...
Effective January 1, 2019, Ramy Yousif assumes the position of Rexel Atlantic’s General Manager.
This past summer, from July 1 to September 15, AD Rewards ran the Redeem for a Dream promotion.
Electro-Federation Canada’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that ...
On October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This ...

 

 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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Peers & Profiles

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On a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a ...
First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...

 

 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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Looking BackLooking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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