In this piece, we dive into the world of sales with Clayton Glass’ National Sales Manager, Mark High. Here, Mark discusses his approach to his job, forming strong business relationships, and the fact that, at the heart of it, sales is all about people.
(Mark High looks after Clayton Glass’ customers both out of the Canterbury site, and up in Scotland.)
Sales. The exchange of a commodity for an agreed-upon monetary fee. Often thought of as nothing more than a transactional process, but as Mark High explains, at Clayton Glass it’s about much more than that.
“It’s all about people.” Says Mark. “We don’t like to look at it as a standard supplier to customer relationship, but more as a long-term partnership where we take an active role and really support our customers.”
“At Clayton Glass, a customer is not simply receiving glass units, they are receiving the full Clayton package: unmatched technical expertise, resources, flexibility, personability, dedication and most of all, integrity.”
Mark goes on to suggest that his job is less about sales, and more about forming strong relationships with people.
“I’d say the sales aspect is around 10% of the job.” Says Mark. “The vast majority of it, and the aspect I enjoy most, is forging those relationships and building that trust.”
“I think over time the customer gets to see that I am, as we as a company are, coming from a place of sincerity and integrity, because we want to form a mutually beneficial relationship where we do our part to ensure that their business can really thrive.”
Mark explains that he will always look at it from the customer’s point of view, likening moving to a new supplier being similar to someone moving house in the way that it can be a massive upheaval, fraught with anxiety around whether you’re making the right decision.
“We try to make our onboarding process as simple and seamless as possible for new customers, because we understand a change in supplier can be stressful.” Mark adds. “Once they are on board, the relationship becomes more about us gaining an understanding of the customer, and checking in regularly to offer any support that we can, this is the reason a lot of our customers stay with us for a long time.”
A JOURNEY TO SALES
Mark joined Clayton Glass earlier this year, following the acquisitions of the new Scotland and Canterbury facilities. Mark has a lengthy background in fenestration, some 30 years, but, as he explains here, sales wasn’t always his natural forte.
“I actually didn’t discover my passion for this job until I was 32!” Says Mark. “I started in fenestration on an apprenticeship, earning £1 an hour as a glass cutter for another glazing manufacturer, aged 16.”
“After this I progressed to Team Leader, and by 21, I was Production Manager, a position I was in for more than a decade.”
Unfortunately, the company that Mark worked for went into administration and ultimately went out of business, forcing him to look for a new job.
“I applied for another glass manufacturer, but they didn’t have any operations roles available.” Says Mark. “Instead, they said they could offer me a job in sales.”
“It took me 18 months to land my first big account, that was a real mental hurdle. Since then, I’ve travelled all over Europe taking courses and seminars learning how to be an effective communicator, and a better Account Manager to our customers.”
In all that time, Mark’s big takeaway, is that his job revolves around one thing: people.
THE CLAYTON DIFFERENCE
Whilst there are many different departments at Clayton Glass, many different roles and responsibilities, one thing that they all have in common is that they are carried out with the customer in mind. This is part of what makes the Clayton difference, the Clayton Glass company ethos that involves everyone going the extra mile.
This certainly applies to Mark’s approach to sales, but in his opinion, for him to be able to be genuine, the Clayton difference has to come from within and not be purely external.
“This is the thing I’ve really noticed since joining Clayton Glass.” Says Mark. “That we really are all about people, we are a big company but we’re not ‘corporate’, if you look at the social media and the website for instance, it’s not just the people at the top you will find on there, instead it’s people from all throughout the business, from each and every site.”
“I think we are a company that acts with integrity.”