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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,


I just started an inside sales position at Graybar. I've never worked in electrical work but I have worked in construction, so I understand the differences and the relationship (or lack thereof) between those in the field and those in the office.


So my question is to those in the field, what is it that annoys you about supply companies (especially your local Graybar) and what could you tell somebody like me to learn up on or be mindful of for those in the field?


And to those in the same position as me, what do you wish you had done or known when you started out in inside sales?


I appreciate any response, thanks gents.
 

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Premium Member
Pres., GPS Timers
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I think everyone wants someone who is proficient in the products we're looking for. I remember walking into a Graybar asking if they carried a toggle rated 600V and the counter salesman said "He's the man to answer that question" and pointed to the Hubbell rep who was standing next to me. I got my (pricey) switch along with some other items and it was great. Had that Hubbell man not been there I don't know that I'd have found the main item I was in the market for at the time.


As a newbie in inside sales I'd guess you're going to start out by picking orders and stocking inventory so you learn parts, categories, part numbers, etc. It just seems the most logical way to learn the business.


Each brand of supply house is a little different,mostly in a good way. And each location is a little different as well. I'd say Graybar is more consistent than most others in what they carry. You may walk into Supply House X branch location on main street and they carry Leviton and go to the same company's location across town and they carry P&S.



The fact you're on here demonstrates that you aspire to succeed and advance and not just show up as a warm body who's going to do most of what he's told for 8 hours and then go home and wait to cash that paycheck every payday.



To answer your question directly, I wouldn't say there's anything in particular about Graybar that's annoying, but thanks for asking. I'm sure others will chime in.
 

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Cool Kid
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I like what Mike said. I’d only add as a specific that you’ll want to learn the lingo. Find out what different names tradesmen call the same thing. CJ/Colorado Jim/CJ6. Or mad bars, Madison bars, battleships, for example. It will help a great deal, especially to avoid ordering the wrong thing because you didn’t ask when unsure. Don’t pretend you know it all - ask when you don’t.
 

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Bootlegger
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Give the guy what he asks for, and stop trying to push your most profitable stuff on me, cause you got x-amount of sales goals to meet.

I hate when my supply houses pull this crap.
 

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Led lighting.

Know what you are selling.

If it doesn't come with a print and you can not work out how its meant to be wired then dont expect us in the field to work it out. I know its not your fault the cheap crap is changing faster than anyone can keep up with it just dont make it my problem.

You can guess what ive been working on today.
Cleave SOB's (manufacturer) added a print that covered 8 different types of leds and how to wire them but couldn't be bothered to mark the tubes so we know which print (type) we are meant to be using. 15 minutes on the phone to be told we think they are dual ended. Put one in to see if it works.


Not going to bitch to much at greybar they sure as hell beat rexhell.
 

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Elderly Member
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Here is a good test for a newbie...

I like what Mike said. I’d only add as a specific that you’ll want to learn the lingo. Find out what different names tradesmen call the same thing. CJ/Colorado Jim/CJ6. Or mad bars, Madison bars, battleships, for example. It will help a great deal, especially to avoid ordering the wrong thing because you didn’t ask when unsure. Don’t pretend you know it all - ask when you don’t.
-What are wirenuts
-What is a peckerhead
-What is a pair of dikes
:vs_laugh:

Mike’s answer hit the nail on the head.

I have dealt with many Graybar branches down through the years ... the best one’s always had an excellent manager who would come out of the office and deal with the customers hands-on.
 

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Watt Pusher
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Pay close attention to what is ordered. Nothing worse than ordering deep 4x4 steel stud boxes and having shallows show up. Double and triple check before it goes out the door. You will be remembered as the guy that always gets the order right, or always f*cks it up.

Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk
 

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Super Moderator
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Get to know your customers. Learn their names. Be honest. If you are not sure about something say so. If you tell a customer you will get back with an answer, make sure you do.
Learn about your manufacturers like Square D. You are a Square D distributor right? Take any training offered.

Treat low volume customers with respect. They came to your store for a reason.
Talk to the outside sales rep and find out who's who.

I rarely walked into a Graybar unless it was counter day. Most of my orders or RFQ's were faxed or emailed. Make sure the order is correct. When in doubt pick up the phone and call the customer for clarification.
Its always nice when you send the quote to verify the customer received it number one. Then ask if there are any questions or comments regarding the order.
Its not always your fault if an order is wrong.
The old saying the "customer is always right" is bull****.

I have caught more things wrong with the customers order or quote than mistakes I made filling one.
Ask questions if your not sure. Ask in house first and then customer if you are still not sure.

Oh......Years ago I had a bumper sticker on the back of my truck. It read "Follow Me To Graybar". While I was in the shop one day, the guys carefully removed the "R" and it read "Follow Me To Gaybar"! You could not even tell it had been changed.
I drove that truck for a couple years before someone pointed it out to me.
It was very funny.

Good Luck. BTW, please fill out your profile. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You guys have been very helpful. I appreciate all the feedback here. This is my first office job so I don't want to f*** up.
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
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I have used Graybar a lot and like the ones I've dealt with.

Mike hit some key points and I'll give you a couple I think are important.

Some of the best counter-inside sales guys keep current, many by working a few hours a week out in the field with an EC.

Giving a guy the items he asked for is very important.

Get to know your customers.

PS making sure the coffee pot isn't full of old burned coffee does help on crappy days.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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I give a lot of credit for making an effort to do the job better.

Number one complaint: don't make me ask item by item if that's the lowest price available. Get me the lowest price you can on every single item. Assume I want the lowest price you can give me on every single item I ever buy today or for the rest of our lives.

A big thing I'd think about at Graybar is remember not everyone has your company's network of warehouses. You stock more or can get it to me quickly than the little guys. Keep that in mind when quoting, it's a big advantage.

Beyond that, just generally being efficient, accurate, professional is not too much too ask, knowledgeable on common products and a decent attitude would be great. I have been a customer at a number of Graybar stores over the years, Graybar has a lot of good counter people and a lot of people that make me wish I called someone else.
 

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Graybar was the only distributor that had a 24 hour call number around here.
You would pay through the ass if you needed to use it, but they would open up for me at any time of the day or night. That included weekends and holidays.
Usually had the part in hand when I arrived.

I always liked Graybar. I always had an outside sales guy come by about once every two months and take me and the plant Mgr to lunch.
We bought a lot from them. A lot.
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
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Graybar was the only distributor that had a 24 hour call number around here.
You would pay through the ass if you needed to use it, but they would open up for me at any time of the day or night. That included weekends and holidays.
Usually had the part in hand when I arrived.

I always liked Graybar. I always had an outside sales guy come by about once every two months and take me and the plant Mgr to lunch.
We bought a lot from them. A lot.
Not taking anything from Graybar (which I like a lot) but Grainger also does after hours calls like that.
 

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Super Moderator
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Not taking anything from Graybar (which I like a lot) but Grainger also does after hours calls like that.
Has Grainger started to sell more electrical stuff? I always looked at them as the local McMaster Carr.
The everything kinda business.

Would they have that 800 amp fuse on New Years eve?
 

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Modérateur
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Hello everybody,


I just started an inside sales position at Graybar. I've never worked in electrical work but I have worked in construction, so I understand the differences and the relationship (or lack thereof) between those in the field and those in the office.


So my question is to those in the field, what is it that annoys you about supply companies (especially your local Graybar) and what could you tell somebody like me to learn up on or be mindful of for those in the field?


And to those in the same position as me, what do you wish you had done or known when you started out in inside sales?


I appreciate any response, thanks gents.
I want to say welcome to the electrician talk fourm here and there are some thing you will learn along the way as Mike posted a very good pointers and be aware of trade slang in your area the more you know the easier to understand it.

I will suggest to double check the order list to make sure they are correct item before it shipped out ., if doubt check the inhouse warehouse staff then customer next to verify the correct info before the customer carry those item out of the door.

And from time to time study the parts books listing and be prepared to do some old school task ( useing actual catalog book instead of online ) which you will have to do that from time to time.

As far for Graybar service I dont have much issue with it. but be honest if that item is not in stock and have to get it from other sister branch just say so so that way the customer can prepared the backup plan if have to.
 

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Has Grainger started to sell more electrical stuff? I always looked at them as the local McMaster Carr.
The everything kinda business.

Would they have that 800 amp fuse on New Years eve?
Yuh Grainer did expand it but I havent used them for a little while but for some really oddball item then yes I would use them.,,

800 amp 480 volt fuse on new year eve ? that depending on which branch may have it the larger one will do have it on stock but smaller one useally not.,,
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
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Has Grainger started to sell more electrical stuff? I always looked at them as the local McMaster Carr.
The everything kinda business.

Would they have that 800 amp fuse on New Years eve?
Some branches have more of a specific type of materials than others.

I used two branches for motors all the time and a couple others for other specific parts.

I doubt the local Graybar's in my area would have had an 800amp fuse, I had t order smaller ones many times.
 
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