Industrial Profile 4/1/2004

Outside Sales Representative - Seumas Santoro

INDUSTRIAL PROFILE

Interview with Seumas Santoro

Pick up a Happy Magazine (http://www.happymag.com) to see the Industrial Profile in print.

 

So you just spent a little at the local shop talking to your friends and completing the monthly ritual of picking up Happy Magazine for the next round of bathroom reading (if you’re reading this article in the first go-through of the magazine chances are you’ve been sitting on the pot a little too long and now have hemorrhoids.

 

Or maybe when you’re reading this it’s the last hour of your 10 hour day working on the floor at the shop.  Nobody has walked in the door in over an hour and you’re wondering why the owner wants to stay open till 9pm all week.  Flipping through the magazine with glazed eyes thinking about the Table of Contents girl, and how great it would be if you had a job like the sales rep that stopped by today.

 

Every time you see that guy in the shop it looks like he’s doing nothing but having a good time.  He rolls in… talks with the managers & buyers…show his product lines...then - out the door without a dull moment.  It must be good to be an Outside Sales Rep, never have to go to work until afternoon, do whatever you want whenever you want, tons of free time.  No pressure always having a good time.  Easy money.  More fame than a rock star.  No, not really.

 

It’s a tuff job.  Its tuff if you rep the best lines available.  Its tuff if you have many lines and are trying to keep enough product moving to make ends meet.  You know what they say, “same S%$T, different barrel.”

 

Is it true that you work about 20 hours a week, and rarely get into your car to visit shops?

Those are only the tuff weeks. The big days.  There are so few shops these days it’s easy to get around to them.

 

I’ve gotta calm down.  Riding moto-x today got me pumped up today.

 

So its not true?

Not really.  Its about 20 hours each brand, and I have 3 brands and that works out to about 60 hours a week.  So in a sense, yeah – 20 hours per week, per brand.

 

How much time in the office?

About 20 hours a week.  From about 7:30am I’ll get on the computer and start working and then about 11am I’ll hit the road to see accounts.  Its good fun stuff, I love seeing my accounts.  Might I add, those are all lovely accounts. 

 

What’s it like on the road?

Its kinda like porn.  You never know what you’re gonna get.  Something will pop up on you and its not even what you want.  Its dangerous out there.  Pot holes everywhere.  I’ll see about 3-4 accounts in a day.  It really depends on my schedule for the day and the traffic demons. 

 

What goes down when you go in the shop?

Pretty much everything.  When I show up mayhem breaks out. 

 

How so?

Its crazy.  Tommy Lee’s band shows up and it goes crazy.  It depends what actually happens.  Three times a year it will be showing the line.  It takes about 1 ½ months to visit all of my shops.  That’s a real stressful time.  Other than that you’re doing At Once orders, dropping off POP, building window displays.  Also do a lot of promotional events with the shops.

 

And then the accounts always demand that I go party with them.  Its tuff.  One of my shop’s will call and demand that I go out and drink with them and not stop until I puke.

 

What’s a typical promotional event?

It depends if its skate, surf, snow, moto.  Usually have demo, our team riders will show up for an event, autograph signings.  We set up tents to give out promotional goods.  Its good, but sometimes get ruff because the kids want the goods, but the parents will beat each other up for it.  Its ironic because they’re the ones with the money.

 

How many miles do you put on your car in an average month?

About 35,000-45,000 miles a year.  I actually have a relatively small territory. 

 

How has the recent spike in gas prices effected you?
I’m really glad you asked that.  It’s a modern day economic problem.  We’re looking at double the old price.  Driving 4,000 miles a month makes it a big deal.  Maybe if we don’t buy gas from the big guys – Mobil, Exxon, and shell – then it will force them to lower their prices!


There are roomers you have a sponsor, in addition to your day job.

Its pretty much true.  I’ve had great success with my local pub.  I’ve been drinking for them about 3-4 years.  But I’m looking for other opportunities.   They didn’t treat me to well over St. Patty’s day.  So, anyone out there can put up an offer.  I might take on a credit card company sponsorship too – you even get miles.

 

When & how did you first get into this?

That’s a long story.

 

Give me a short version.

I got into it by working for a shop called Glenn Kennedy surf shop in Woodland Hills Ca. when I was 12.  Then a couple years later Val Surf hired me and I worked there for a while.  From there I went to work at IG Performance in Agoura for about 9 years.  Then I was ready to move on and tried my hand at a different industry.

 

What was that?

I was going to try to leave the industry and be a headhunter.  After about a month & half I had to quite.  Couldn’t stand being in front of a computer all day.  My body was shutting down.  Right at that time a friend of mine that repped DC asked me to come and work as a sub-rep for him.  That was a good experience.  Then I moved to Podium Distribution and partnered up with a friend and took on the Los Angeles territory.  Its been like that since.  They’re great people, a great family, and I couldn’t be happier.  But its not an easy job.  It takes a special person, a disciplined person.  It can be easy, but there’s nobody that makes you get up.  Basically you sell as much as you work.  If you loose sight of that you won’t stay a rep for long.

 

Oh….leg cramp.  Hold on…. I can’t believe I pulled my hamstring in an interview.  This is ruff.

 

What’s the hardest thing about getting started as a rep?

Finding a line.  Everyone’s different.  For me, I have ADD so I can’t sit still.  As soon as the sun is up I’m up.  What better to do than spend that time working.

 

Can you do this job for your whole career?

You can, sure.  There’s a lot of people who’ve made a lifetime career out of it.  There are a handful of guys who’ve done it for their lifetimes (they know who they are) and they’re originally what inspired me to get into it.

 

What do you find challenging about it?

Sometimes around tradeshows its tuff to physically do the job.  At a show you’ll have talked for 8 hours straight, then be out all nigh, and up the next day to do it again.  And that’s usually after a pretty intense time on the road.  You can get burnt out.

 

Is there anything new and exciting going on in your territory?

Yes.  I’m pretty much announcing my candidacy for President.  I reckon if Arnold can be Governor, there’s no reason I can’t run for President.  And I’m going to have a 6 foot fiberglass chicken for my Vice President who’s platform is, “At least I don’t have two DUIs”.

 

What’s the best part of the job?

Best part of the job?  Everything is the best part of the job.  Going in to see all the shops is great.  Meet all these super cool people who all have a common goal to live & work in our industry. 

 

Oh, by the way, I have a question for you Mr. Interviewer.  With all the pressure the FCC is putting on Howard Stern, how has that effected you at doing your job?

 

That’s funny.  I don’t know what to say to that.

Is there anything you can tell the readers about working or succeeding as a Sales Rep (a piece of advice)?

Wake up every morning and go out to your stores.  If you want to do this job, its good to work at a shop.  If you do your job well, then the companies you work with at the shop will remember you when an opportunity comes up.

 

Its not something you learn in a year or two.  It takes time.