Diving In at The Deep End - Tim Hodgetts External Sales Representative


A little over 4 months ago, I found myself suited and booted, having an interview at TBF International with the Managing Director, Angus Bruce, for a position as External Sales Executive. Whilst I have a wealth of experience in the manufacturing processes behind tube manipulation, selling isn’t something that I had done since the age of sixteen when I was selling mattresses at Ikea! I had no clue how I was going to find this role and I knew this challenge would throw me in at the deep end, but something inside me just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Shortly after the interview and a trial with the company, I was offered the job on the condition that I passed my driving test, because, of course, an External Sales Executive that doesn’t drive would be a rather peculiar situation! It was time to book my driving test! – And I passed the first time! I contacted TBF International and accepted the job offer. My new adventure had just begun.

Entering the premise on my first day, I knew that this job was going to be extremely different to what I was used to. I was embarking on a journey in sales, something that I had limited experiences in, but my nerves were rested, knowing that I had a wealth of industry experience in my back pocket. I know all the information needed for setting machines, end forming machinery and non-contact measuring equipment, so surely it wouldn’t be that hard? Fortunately, the team at TBF were great. They gave me all the right tools that I needed to launch into my role and Angus arranged for me to go around our sister companies within Arc Specialist Engineering to learn the tricks of the trade when it came to selling bespoke manufacturing products.

Over the past few months, I would like to think I have developed my own personal technique, when it comes to identifying, truly what the customers need. I have never liked the robotic salesman, who throws in a bit of jargon and tries to seal the deal there and then and that’s what I always said I wouldn’t be. Instead, I like to sit down with customers, talk about TBF’s machinery and capabilities and find out what their unique requirements are. Of course, my knowledge of CNC Tube bending machines, end-forming machinery, measuring equipment and saws, all help me have a deep understanding of the scale of the task at hand.

Being on the road, to me, is fantastic. There is nothing that I enjoy more than visiting a potential new customer and learning a little about their products, machinery, and processes. Okay, that’s maybe a lie…my second love to sales is my saxophone. Having played with the likes of Snoop Dog, Basement Jaxx, Star Sailor, I suppose TBF could say that their External Sales Executive is semi-famous. Now I bet that’s not something all tube manipulators can say!