I had the pleasure of chatting with Stephanie Lyndon Wheeler, one of Boundless’ fantastic Sales Affiliates who has been with Boundless for almost 3 years! Stephanie speaks on how she stays ahead of trends and the important role creative consulting plays in her sales tactics.
Tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from?
I am from San Jose California. I went to San Diego State University and majored in PR and Political Science. Right out of college I started working as a Brand Manager for a furniture manufacturer in San Diego that makes furniture for Kathy Ireland’s line. I pretty much managed the brand relationship for a year and a half and developed a really strong relationship with our promotional product vendor at the time.
What brought you to where you are now?
I have been working in the industry for 11 years now, and got my start in the business at the age of 23. From the relationship and knowledge I had about promotional products, I connected with people from Boundless on LinkedIn and saw they had an interest for sales representatives. I met with a few Boundless people at PPAI and saw a good opportunity for young people and potential growth. At the time I already had a significant amount of clients that would use the technology Boundless offered, and I wanted to bring Boundless to my clients. I was desperate to keep up with my client’s needs and growth.
What are your hobbies/personal interests outside of work?
We just had a daughter in August so we’re consumed with finding things to do that are kid friendly. We bought a house recently as well so we have a lot of projects we like working on in our spare time! But normally my husband and I love taking our dog to the beach and being outside. We love going to food and wine outings and do a lot of beer tasting and such being that we live in the micro-brew capital of the world! I’m also an avid gym-goer and love taking barre and spin classes.
How did you get into the promotional products business? What do you like about it?
Networking. I used my promotional product vendor relationship in my first position to network and learn more about the industry. I liked that I didn’t think a job in promotional products was a hard sales job- I just figured it’d be so fun! We get to shop for people all day and match them up with the right product that helps them market their brand.
I also really love the creativity of this industry. I know that sounds so cliché. There are so many commonalities in everything we sell and the products, but at the same time, it’s all different. I can sell the same product over and over again, but it always changes depending on the logo, event or use. I love staying ahead of trends and seeing everything that suppliers have to offer.
What professional goals do you set for yourself and how do you achieve them?
I always set the bar high. I push myself to exceed and grow from the previous year, both personally and professionally. The method to my madness is staying focused and keeping my eye on the prize. I’m a very visual person so I use a lot of motivating methods to help inspire me. My office has inspirational quotes and phrases everywhere. I also track my growth which allows me and my team to see where we need to focus. It’s important to me to build my clients into my goals, so I meet with them quarterly to check-in and make sure our team is able to meet their needs. I think it’s important to create strong relationships with suppliers as well so we can work together in achieving something. I want my clients to feel like Boundless is an extension of their team.
What do you think is the most important quality of a good manager?
There are 2 support specialists that help me directly and then I have inside support from Boundless as well. Ownership and delegation are the most important to me. You need to be able to pass off tasks and trust that support can manage those tasks. It’s also important to set up a long-term support game plan so everyone understands their role and knows what they need to do so we all succeed. Accountability is also important and making sure everyone finds value in what they do every day is key.
What is your secret to building relationships with your clients?
It’s a mix of making sure you stay on trend and relevant and staying educated on their business needs and goals. I always try to be readily available, which means a lot of face to face meetings with my clients. I want to become as much of a part of their team as they will let me. I don’t want to be expendable or not just another “vendor” providing a quote. I want my clients to see me and Boundless as someone they can trust. More of a “consultative resource” than just a vendor and being proactive is a way to really offer value.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
Put more young people in the sales side of promo products. We need to market to them so they come in and commit to building clientele. They’d quickly see their potential and how they can create a good career. Also, get rid of paper catalogs!!!! They’re the worst!
What has been the biggest game changer in the promotional products industry in your time as a sales partner?
The need for technology to partner with the products we sell. Solutions that make buying promotional products easier are important now more than ever, but it’s also really gratifying to know that relationships and building trust are important too. Another game changer is that you can now get almost any product in a day or two. You can also print full color on anything and everything. Products have evolved to accommodate the needs of clients and I’m seeing a lot more retail inspiration and Millennial culture in our industry.
How do you see Boundless shaking up the industry?
We’re providing a customizable tool to our clients and we’re the only ones out there that can create it, and continue to evolve it for our clients’ needs. The more people learn and know about Boundless, we will have a lot more opportunity to partner with clients and help people meet their business goals all while having some FUN!
Interested in learning more about what it takes to #BeBoundless? Read up on us here!