BY ABBIGAIL KRIEBS
Motors: Training + Patience = Payoff
“You have to have a good product and the technical knowledge
to start with,” adds Lankford, “and then you have to have the
patience and flexibility to make it through a design cycle that can
last two years. Along the way you are helping the customer design
the product into their product, and that can be taxing if you don’t
have the internal resources available.”
Sizemore also cautions that motors is not a product line where
distributors can expect a quick entry
and a quick return.
“The challenge is that you want to
go in and sell something in your kit as
quickly as you can. Motors are not like
that,” says Sizemore.
Distributors have to commit to
working with manufacturers, the customer, and other industry partners in
order to make the entire process work
and work well.
Distributors willing to invest the time
and resources will reap rewards at the end
of the process, notes Lankford and Sizemore.
“The bonus is that when you do have
collaborative efforts between the customer, manufacturer, and distributor, once you
secure that business, you usually keep that
business through the product life cycle,”
“There is a very long shelf life with this
product,” Lankford adds.
This security at the end of the long tunnel is especially key in a market heading in
a positive direction.
“We expect to see steady, modest
market growth over the next six to twelve
months,” says Nidec’s Callen.
“If there was ever a segment in distribution that called for technically trained sales application engineers, motors is it,” stresses Rodney Lankford, National Sales Manager at
Hansen Corp., a company that designs and builds motors.
Training is a major issue in the motors channel, where the products are highly technical and almost never the same from job to
job. In fact, Scott Sizemore, Strategic
Marketing at Hansen, would argue
that there is no “standard” product
in the motor industry.
“Virtually every product is custom-
ized,” says Sizemore. “Even product
that is called standard, the customer
requirements are different, more so
than in other industry segments.”
Distributors should look to hire
salespeople with strong product
knowledge and the will to learn
more about the industry as they
grow into their positions. Salespeo-
ple in this segment should be offered
continuing education to keep up on the
trends and new regulations as they are
implemented as well.
“Distributors provide an invaluable service to their customers by keeping abreast
of the energy regulations in the space, and
informing their customers of the changes,” says Steve Callen, Market Manager
of Industrial Motors & Systems at Nidec
Motor Corporation. “High quality organizations, staffed by high quality individuals
who are able to effectively communicate
with their customers will win the day in
As Callen mentions, communication is
another key when selling in the motor
category. Pairing good customer communication with a good deal of patience,
distributors can prove effective in their
In the industrial motors segment, a long design cycle can mean big rewards.
“The motor industry, on the surface, may
not appear very dynamic, but is populated
by dedicated and talented professionals
who continuously improve services and
— Steve Callen, Nidec Motor Corporation