When Loren Richardson married his wife Jennifer 16 years ago, he assured her that he’d always pull in a steady, consistent income because he had no desire to be in sales, what with its notorious, one-year-up, one-year-down volatility.
Then a graphic designer at Junior Davis & Associates (asi/176197), Richardson anticipated a fulfilling career of branding T-shirts and other promotional products. As the Pelham, AL-based distributor grew, so did Richardson’s job titles: network administrator, operations manager and, finally, sales manager.
Fast-forward a few years to Richardson leading 15 sales representatives to great success. He was then offered a position as outside sales executive at Top 40 supplier alphabroder, where he’s spent the last two years covering the $14 million Alabama territory and reaching more than 10% growth.
But he still hasn’t come to terms with the “salesman” moniker.
“I don’t try to sell someone a shirt or jacket. I try to help them make more money from what they may or may not be selling,” Richardson says. “I’ll do the research. I’ll lay out the marketing board. I’m more of a solution provider than a sales rep.”
Making deals is in his blood – his father was a salesman in the auto industry and for a brief time, owned a small screenprinting shop in Muscle Shoals, AL. At a young age, Richardson understood the sacrifices that come with being a successful salesperson and the importance of pleasing the customer. It’s fueled his proactive nature and heightened attention to detail while maintaining supportive relationships with his 140 clients.
“Loren is a top-five performer on our team,” says David Clifton, chief marketing officer at alphabroder. “He’s a true leader of his peers and is looked at as a resource of knowledge. The management team views Loren as a strong player on our team and his feedback is heavily considered as we consider the voice of the customer.”
Maggie Mason, marketing and merchandising specialist at City Paper Company (asi/162267), shared the perfect example of Richardson going above and beyond for his clients.
“I mentioned to Loren that I was in the process of creating apparel sample kits for our reps to take to meetings,” Mason says. “Loren could have stopped after he made recommendations of what good, better and best apparel options I should include in each kit for each category, but that wasn’t enough for Loren. He kindly offered to have the samples decorated and grommeted, and he passed very little cost along to us. The running joke in our office is that he’s our cable guy – that’s how often he’s here offering his time, suggestions and ongoing support.”