For Industrial Technology grad Patrick Shum, the perfect entry level job involves working with both technology and people – a unique mix he found in his current role as a Field Sales Representative with TTi, a fast-growing producer of home improvement and construction products, such as power tools, outdoor equipment and vacuum cleaners.
TTi leads the home improvement industry with 12 consecutive years of profit growth, and revenues that have gone from $300 million to $3 billion in just five years.
Even if you’re not yet familiar with TTi, you know their brands: Milwaukee, Ryobi, Homelite, Hoover and Dirt Devil, just to name a few.
Patrick first heard about the opportunity to work for TTi from a high school friend as he was graduating from Western Washington University with a specialization in vehicle design in 2010.
“We were talking about how he got involved with power tools – my education was focused on passenger cars, but anything tech-related drew my attention,” he says. “Later on that year he told me there was a position available in Vancouver.”
With no sales experience under his belt, Patrick applied for the job with a traditional cover letter and resume. He says he demonstrated how his educational background was a perfect fit for this role and also used the information on TTi’s website to tailor his cover letter. From there, he was called in for two interviews with senior management and they hired him as a Field Sales Representative in the Home Depot division.
“I liked the idea of being on my feet and talking with people – something I enjoy instead of a typical ‘desk job,'” he says. This isn’t a typical sales job either – TTi Field Sales Reps like Patrick work with staff at a number of Home Depot stores in their territories, training them on how to best use and sell everything from circular saws to pressure washers.
Keep reading to learn more about Patrick’s experience as a Field Sales Rep at TTi:
What kind of training does TTi provide for new Field Sales Reps?
Patrick: Everyone at TTi has access to an online library of courses on topics ranging from customer interaction to motor technology. Initially, I took several of these online courses to familiarize myself with all of our products. I also had another rep from the same region work with me for the first week.
Over the past two years, I have also been sent to several locations in Canada and the U.S. to participate in even more hands-on training. Since there is so much to know about the products we sell and the applications they’re meant for, I appreciate that TTi has offered multiple opportunities for hands-on training to expand my product knowledge and ability to share that knowledge confidently.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Patrick: As a Field Sales Representative, I manage one territory that involves a multitude of stores and locations. I am currently responsible for six Home Depot stores in the Lower Mainland and typically service one store per day, working with Home Depot associates and customers.
TTi owns several brands within Home Depot stores, so create solid working relationships with the Home Depot associates and keep them up to date on product knowledge because they sell our products everyday when I’m not in that particular store.
“Being a Field Sales Rep is very hands-on, interactive and fast-paced – you always have something on the go.”
—Patrick Shum, Field Sales Representative, TTi
I also interact with Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers when we require extra space to showcase our products or to inform them of any changes with our products.
If I have any questions about our products or objectives, my colleagues are only a phone call away, and we sometimes work together on special events to showcase our products in-store.
I also manage returns, shelve stock, create displays and sell to customers. There are customers in every aisle so there is always an opportunity to sell! Being a Field Sales Rep is very hands-on, interactive and fast-paced – you always have something on the go. My favourite part about this position is the freedom to create my own schedule where I can work to my strengths in such a way that still completes tasks and goals. I also like the contests that are offered as a bonus – these contests keep us all competitive and striving to be the best rep in our region.
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
Patrick: The yearly sales conferences held in Toronto. This country-wide conference gives us the ability to reconnect with fellow colleagues in other regions as well as offer insight to future plans and products. I find these trips resourceful and fun. The past few years, we have had hockey games, scavenger hunts, and even dinners and shows.
Why should other recent grads start their careers with TTi?
Patrick: I think this is a great place for any new grad to start. TTi has career opportunities that are very achievable for well-rounded individuals. Whether you have a business degree, an engineering degree or something else, the skills that we possess as new grads allow us to be successful in TTi’s Field Sales Representative role.