2008 Sales Rep of the Year: Jim Haneklau
By Mitch Rustad
To be a successful sales rep, you have to offer customers a kaleidoscope of attributes: expertise, reliability, professionalism, flexibility, persistence and drive to succeed. As a savvy sales veteran with 21 years of experience in the tennis industry, Jim Haneklau certainly epitomizes all of those things, but one of his biggest retail accounts points out a perhaps more subtle and rare quality — visibility.
“Everyone in my stores knows Jim,” says Dale Queen, owner of Your Serve Tennis, which has seven locations in the metro Atlanta area. “He stops by all of my locations, trains my employees and gets to know all of them. He’s got a big territory to handle, so that’s pretty amazing.”
It’s this kind of reputation that has earned Haneklau, who covers the tennis-rich territory of Georgia and Alabama for Wilson Sporting Goods, RSI’s Sales Rep of the Year award.
Jeffery Adams, national sales manager for Wilson Racquet Sports, says Haneklau’s laundry list of attributes make him a worthy recipient: “Jim exemplifies the successful traits of a great sales professional in our industry: character, trust, problem-solver, accountable, results driven, highly motivated and empathetic.”
“I was an enthusiastic club player,” says Haneklau, “and I got hooked on the sport. I thought it would be great to have a tennis job. At the end of the day you’re making a living in the tennis business.”
He offers a down-to-earth attitude to explain his success: “The bottom line is my customers and the products and brand I represent have enabled me to be successful.”
“Jim is always so well prepared for every meeting, and he’s so well organized,” says Queen. “He knows my business, what I’ve sold in the past. More than a rep, he’s a business partner.”
- Make the call. Don’t wait for the phone to ring to ask to be seen, make the call yourself.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for issues to come up with customers, head them off. Stay in touch with your customers via newsletters, emails and phone calls. “They need to be updated on any type of news,” says Haneklau.
- Do whatever it takes. It takes a great attitude to grow your business. “If that means working weekends, late hours, or getting up early, do what it takes.”
See all articles by Mitch Rustad
About the Author
Mitch Rustad has been a long-time freelance writer based in New York City.