Profile - Hunting for Sales
Meet The Advantages Magazine Supplier Sales Rep Of The Year
Twenty years ago, Michael Leone stepped into the ad specialty industry by accident. “I answered an ad for a position at a ‘marketing company’ from a head hunter and went on the interview,” he says.
Unsure what exactly the job would entail, he was excited to start a career in marketing. Little did he know that he would be selling pretty much anything and everything that can be personalized or decorated with a logo.
Working for some of the industry’s top suppliers, Leone found his niche. He has been active in the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York for more than 10 years, and is currently serving as its president. Although he took a brief hiatus to pursue a headhunting career in 1999, after the events of 9/11, he went back to his grass roots in the ad specialty industry.
For the last five years, Leone has worked for Hit Promotional Products as the metropolitan New York regional sales manager and has recently been promoted to strategic account manager for that region. Sales in his territories have steadily increased and he was up 20% in his territory in 2013.
His secret to sales success? “It comes down to doing what you say you’re going to do,” Leone says. Despite his positive attitude, “I don’t lie to my customers to make a sale,” he says. “If something is possible, I will do everything I can to accommodate a request, but if a request may not be deliverable, I am truthful about the potential pitfalls. Ultimately, if it is not possible to deliver, I will not commit to producing an order. I don’t just want my customer’s orders, I want their business.”
When he is not hunting down sales, Leone is an avid deer hunter. This is a Leone family tradition; he has been hunting with his father, cousin and uncles since he was a teenager. In more recent years, he has been honing his skills as a bow hunter and looks forward to the day when his young sons will also join him in the woods.
In the off-season, he coaches his sons’ (Michael and Matthew) baseball and football teams and is a supportive Cub Scout father and Cub Master of his Pack. “I bring the same can-do attitude to the kids and have a strong belief in teaching kids the fundamentals of the sport and good sportsmanship,” Leone says.
When asked what the one thing people might be surprised to know about him is, he says, “I go to church every Sunday… well, almost.”