Blog9 December 2022

What’s it like to be a Territory Sales Manager at Andrews Sykes? We asked Thomas Lorimer…

Marketing Assistant Jahdia Spencer gets a taste of life as a field salesperson and documents her experiences!

Before embarking on a career in a particular sector, wouldn’t it be helpful to know what the role actually entails? For those of you who have ever wondered what it’s really like to be a territory sales manager out in the field, you may wish to continue reading…

I recently caught up with one of one of our ‘TSM’s – Thomas Lorimer – who very kindly accommodated my request to shadow him while he went about what was described as a ‘typical day at the office!’

An insightful experience from start to finish, Thomas was more than happy to disclose his secrets for success and gave general advice to anyone who might be thinking about applying for a position in sales.

For those of you unaware, Andrews Sykes has its very own TikTok star over in Peterborough – and Thomas has found a number of inventive ways to combine an avid interest in social media with his working life!

The hour-long train journey from London to Peterborough gave me the perfect opportunity to prepare some interrogative questions for Thomas upon my arrival, and his warm demeanour was there for all to see when he greeted me at the station on a bleak, rainy morning.

True to form, our first action of the day was to film a TikTok! Well, what else?! My thoughts at the time were: “This is going to be an interesting day!”

And it was.

Our initial conversation naturally prompted my first real question, so I asked:

“Thomas… What is your job role exactly?”

He summarised: “My main roles at Andrews Sykes are to make sure all clients in the field are equipped with the HVAC equipment or pumps that they might need. I’ll also offer specialist advice either in person, like we’ll do today, or over the phone.”

I continued the conversation, asking:

“What is the first thing you do in the morning to prepare for this role?”

Thomas’s response was typically honest and certainly not the sort of stock answer you might expect to receive to such a question. He explained: “The first thing I do is think about my family. I wake up next to my lovely wife and ensure that every single morning I have breakfast with my son before work. I am a family man with three kids and family is my priority. Thereafter, I go on social media and check my TikTok accounts.”

Refreshingly genuine, it was nice for me to learn something about the person as well as the role. It had already become quite clear that Thomas thrived on being busy in both domains – work and home.

He continued: “Once I am in the car at 7:45, I drive off with my coffee and usually get a call from my manager Mark [Howe] to discuss immediate priorities. I’ll then give him any updates while I head to the depot to print whatever materials I might require that day. After that, I’ll hit the road!”

During our drive, I notice my diligent colleague constantly keeping an eye out for new building sites and other potential opportunities for Thomas to pop by and introduce himself and Andrews Sykes.

In some cases, promotional items are distributed, in others, contact details will suffice. But no exceptions are made when it comes to Thomas’s beaming smile, and there’s one for every customer he meets!

Off we rode into the countryside, this time visiting one of our major accounts whose site had no power because the facility wasn’t due to be occupied until March. The customer required temporary heating to stop plaster cracking ahead of the building’s anticipated spring opening.

They needn’t have worried. Thomas was already on the case and was quick to make arrangements for equipment to be delivered to site the following day.

From my observations, I could see that Thomas’s day is shaped by ad hoc calls and emails from our HVAC contact centre in London. His daily target is to visit eight clients in person – often more, rarely less – with no two requirements ever exactly the same.

It was interesting for me to witness exactly how each department contributes to what we do as a business. My contemporaries in marketing design and supply giveaways that are evidently popular with customers, while our internal sales teams book site visits and secure hires that are ultimately coordinated by a completely separate operations division.

Thomas was very aware of the behind-the-scenes activity, but it was eye-opening for me to see how it all comes together.

On a more individual level, three things Thomas credits as being critical to success in sales are:

  1. Being cheeky/resourceful
  2. Having a little bit of banter to cultivate relationships and build affinity
  3. Understanding audiences and social cues

These characteristics – or perhaps more accurately, qualities – were all on show during a planned visit to an NHS centre.

We stopped to assess how our air conditioning units were performing, having already been on hire for several months prior to our visit.

It was amazing to observe Thomas’s unique blend of professionalism, cordiality and supreme knowledge of our products, and I have no doubt that these traits all had a hand in creating the seamless discussions that subsequently took place regarding future hires.

The rapport between Thomas and the client was unmistakable, with a mutual appreciation further sealed by the gifting of some Andrews Sykes’ branded paraphernalia: pens, calendars and travel mugs!

I had two final questions for Thomas before we set to work on creating our iconic (!) TikTok video:

“What is the biggest challenge of this role?”

Thomas was very clear on this one, and cited a need to be resilient on days when things haven’t panned out exactly as envisaged.

He explained: “Staying motivated can be challenging, especially when the job involves a lot of face-to-face time. As you have seen, many managers on construction sites are busy and do not always have the time or the will to speak to us.

“To overcome this, you really have to be adaptable and demonstrate a really strong knowledge of our products for when the chance to liaise with decision makers presents itself.

“I would also say that logistical factors should always be taken into account, as travel distance can be miscalculated, and therefore, time lost, if you’re not always actively considering them.”

@andrewssykesgroup 👨‍💼 To celebrate National Salesperson Day, 🥂 we are highlighting what’s like to be a Territory Sales Manager. 📈 Thomas Lorimer kindly shared his experience with our marketing team and disclosed some of his industry secrets – just in case you’re looking for a similar role! He said: “For me, the only constant is the desire to achieve results and do the best for my customers. It’s what drives me, and it’s what I love!” Click the link below to read more. 🎉✔️ #salespersonday #nationalsalespersonday #sales #salesperson #salesmanager #dayinalife #dayinalifevlog #cookie #peterbough #hvac #office #depot #engineering #fyp #calmdown #viral #viralvideo #shadow #fun #socialmediamanager ♬ Calm Down – Rema

“Any advice to new starters?”

I’d found my time with Thomas to be beneficial (not just for the purposes of writing this blog!) and revealing, and I was quite confident that he’d have some simple but profound words for any budding salesperson. I wasn’t wrong!

With my train seconds from departure, Thomas declared: “Don’t take life too seriously! Have fun with the job every day. I find this is the best way to approach sales but it’s so important that you enjoy what you’re doing – and I certainly do!

“I cannot emphasise enough the need to know your product market as well as you can! Always crave knowing more.

“I really wish I got into this kind of role earlier and would advise my younger self that in sales especially, each day really is different. That’s a good thing, by the way! You can’t expect today and yesterday to be the same, particularly in our industry. Heating this week, dehumidification last week, and who knows what next week?

“For me, the only constant is the desire to achieve results and do the best for my customers. It’s what drives me, and it’s what I love!”