If you’ve worked with Yewdale, visited us at an exhibition or called up for advice, the chances are you’ve encountered one of Yewdale’s most knowledgeable, highly-motivated Business Development Managers. Greg travels all over the country visiting customers, racking up over 40,000 miles a year and participates in the R&D team when he’s back at Yewdale. However, we managed to get him to sit down for longer than a minute to find out what makes him tick.
Yewdale looked a little different to how it does today when Greg joined back in October 2009. Small-and-growing, the business was just starting to make waves in the industry. Enter Greg.
‘I had no experience in this sector when I joined and I think that makes you a blank canvas to just absorb loads of information,’ remembers Greg. ‘I sort of worked in sales and marketing to begin with, in charge of specifications and speaking with architects.’
Greg was a part of Yewdale’s early sales pipeline, a foray into the world of architects who specify blinds for projects months in the future. However, there needed to be a more immediate source of revenue, so Greg began calling prospective clients – but not before he learned how to present to an audience.
‘My first presentation was to a group of architects and it was very awkward,’ laughs Greg. ‘I wasn’t asking the right questions or asking for their involvement to give them the information they really wanted. Instead they just sort of stared back at me.’
Luckily Greg had the sales bug and developed an impassioned, more personal style where he worked to find out exactly what the client wanted, and exactly how Yewdale can help. And if we couldn’t help, he still had enough information to become a useful industry contact for the client, providing insightful and clear information – an invaluable service for such a competitive industry.
One area that Greg is particularly passionate about is mental health and health care, becoming Yewdale’s go-to expert for YewdaleKestrel® anti-ligature systems.
‘The blind industry is different to the mental health care sector because blinds by-and-large haven’t changed much in the last 30 years. We’re better at making them and have some great extras, but the concept is still the same so everyone competes for the same thing,’ explains Greg in his matter-of-fact manner. ‘Today’s challenges facing mental health care breeds innovation and improvement. It’s hard work but the results really show.’
As a result of this passion, Greg has helped to push Yewdale to the point of an internationally renowned, dominant force within the mental health care sector.
‘One of my favourite Yewdale products is the Safedoor,’ says Greg. ‘I love what it is, how it works, its simplicity. Safedoor was so disruptive to the market: it was a curveball that caused everyone else to evaluate how they made an en-suite anti-ligature door. They don’t need to be bomb-proof solid – quite the opposite actually.’
The Safedoor was a culmination of R&D based on the concerns and struggles of health care professionals who strive to provide privacy and dignity to service users, yet face the substantial risk factor that comes with a solid en-suite door. Greg’s experience and knowledge meant he was able to play a lead role in product development, which is now used up and down the country.
At the centre of this is a passion for speaking with people, something Greg holds in high regard when building business relationships.
‘There is no such thing as a wasted face-to-face visit,’ explains Greg. ‘I enjoy visiting my clients in their territory, on their terms, finding out exactly what they want and how we can help. The information you get far exceeds what you’d learn over the phone.
‘As the industry moves forward, a lot of older knowledge is being lost, when people retire or move on,’ says Greg reflecting on his role within the blind sector. ‘You need to have a team of people ready to bridge the gap between the older generations of blind fitters and manufacturers and the new businesses moving up, or you’d lose many years of accumulated experience.’
As a result, Greg has worked to help his clients embrace change, understand the language of the industry and to provide proof that you can still learn something new.
‘The exciting thing about Yewdale is our culture, and I love showing customers new ways of looking at things,’ says Greg. ‘Our culture is of winning and I want our clients to come along on the journey. We’re all about positive change: you’ll see that in our bright packaging and marketing, the sweets we give with every order, our chatty literature. We’re saying, ‘look at us, we can do things differently.’
To see how Yewdale can help improve your business, get in touch with our dedicated team of Business Development Managers.
Enjoyed this article? Take the opportunity to get to know Jerry, Yewdale's other Business Development Manager. Read the article here.