Hard work with a proven track record of success should be rewarded and recognized, which is one of the reasons UniCarriers Americas (UCA) hosts its Pack for the Sun trip every year. This event honors top dealers and sales representatives who have demonstrated the highest sales performance from the previous year. In 2019, a group of 40+ professionals came together at Sandals Grande Resort in St. John’s, Antigua, to celebrate the many contributions they made over the course of the 2018 fiscal year.
One of the honored attendees, Wesley Hibdon, a salesman with UCA authorized dealer Darr Equipment Co., was named the 2018 Pinnacle Award Winner during the awards banquet. The Pinnacle Award is a lifetime achievement distinction honoring the most successful sales professional in UCA’s dealer network over the past year.
During his tenure, Hibdon has been instrumental in the regional sales growth at Darr Equipment. He came on the scene with excellent performance results, which contributed to his receiving the Rookie of the Year award during his first Pack for the Sun sales trip in 2011. And throughout his time at the company, he has only gained momentum, leading to his winning the top honor at this year’s event. “The most exciting part about being named a 2018 Pinnacle Award Winner is knowing that I am joining an elite group of salesmen and managers who have made a significant impact on UniCarriers’ success,” Hibdon said.
Hibdon believes his achievements come from his ability to stay persistent and resilient in his sales approach. “I’m selling against some tough competitors in the Houston area. The hardest part about selling is getting in on deals, and this wouldn’t happen without cold calling,” Hibdon said. “It’s great to get a tip or a lead, but cold calling is an essential component of generating new customers, and from that, I have closed many top deals.”
Hibdon’s advice to other sales professionals in the material handling industry is to never stop cold calling and to customize their approach. Hibdon notes every dealer is different, which is why it is important to learn from others in the industry and use them for guidance and information.
The x-factor Hibdon’s customers look for in material handling equipment is reliability in the product and in the highly trained service personnel who keep their forklifts up and running. “They like to know they can call someone who will answer when they have issues,” said Hibdon. “Customers find it refreshing when I tell them that not only are they buying a great product, but they are investing in a great dealership that stands behind the UCA brand. Making sure to convey that and deliver on that promise is critical in this industry.”
And, once a deal is closed, Hibdon notes it’s essential to stay in touch with the customer, so when they’re looking to rebid, you’re the first call. “Salespeople should think long term because it’s easier to keep an account instead of finding a new one,” he said. “It’s key to keep current customers happy and stay in constant contact even if you’ve sold a fleet of trucks or only one.”
“Many bigger deals are lost because the previous forklift salesman left the customer in the dark,” Hibdon adds.
Another factor that Hibdon hears is beneficial to his customers is the UCA 2-year, unlimited hours warranty. And when referring to trucks alone, he mentions the NomadÒ as a piece of equipment that creates excitement because no other manufacturer offers it, and it has unmatched versatility.
Even with the equipment’s legendary reliability and best-in-class warranty, Hibdon understands that without the help of Darr Equipment he would not always be able to repeat orders and continue his success. “The staff is probably the most important asset for repeating orders. If you sell one forklift to a customer, but service, parts or rental support is sub-par, then you can say goodbye to continuing the relationship with that customer. I may be the one taking phone calls, but without a dedicated staff, I wouldn’t be a Pinnacle Award winner,” said Hibdon.
With his track record of success, Hibdon says his biggest key learning throughout his career has been understanding the customer and always communicating truthfully. And to achieve this, it’s important to always ask questions that will produce valuable insights into the customer’s needs and requirements. “Most bigger deals I am working on, the purchasers and the managers want your advice, but I cannot provide them with sound advice without the right questions being asked,” Hibdon said.
And when asked what sets apart Darr Equipment specifically from other dealers in the industry? “Darr is a place that demonstrates extreme loyalty to its employees. We sometimes make mistakes and stumble, but Darr gives us the confidence we need to get back on our feet,” Hibdon concludes.
UCA is excited to see where Hibdon’s career path leads him next. For now, Hibdon states he will keep his current relationships with customers and continue to cold call potential clients who can benefit from UCA’s reliable equipment and supportive dealer network.