Employee of the month: Kari Suvanen
People behind Laitex. We would like you to get know our employees. We introduce our employees once a month: Who they are, What they do and What is their role in our business.
Almost 30 years of experience at Laitex
In the beginning of his career in the 70’s Kari worked as a designer at Lappeenrannan konepajaosakeyhtiö, which later changed its name to Larox. Larox designers did both design and sales and Kari’s work was primarily focused on sales.
In the 80’s Kari’s boss told him that the Swedish division of the company needed help, and Kari answered their call. Kari’s intended half-year employment ended up lasting almost three years. During this time Kari traveled around Sweden, Norway and Denmark on business.
After returning from his employment Kari got his own area of responsibility including the Nordic countries, the Benelux countries, the United Kingdom and India. Kari had his hands full of work with these areas during the rest of his career at Larox.
“The founder of Laitex Kari Kurronen left Larox when they stopped producing conveyors in 1984. Along the years we were regularly in touch. Eventually in 1989 I left Larox in order to join his venture, and here I still am, basically with same contract“, Kari explains. Nowadays he owns a share of Laitex.
“Sales is about personal chemistry and interaction”
“I have always gotten along well with the customers, and I like being with people and having conversations“, Kari says. The most important task a salesperson has is to learn peoples’ personalities, and find the customers’ qualities which allow you to sell yourself to them. Without interpersonal chemistry sales cannot happen.
Kari is concerned that people rely too much on their computers. Sales work is not a mechanical task which can only be done digitally. Only few people will buy industrial equipment without meeting the operator or the salesperson. Exceptions are possible, though. For example, Kari has sold several Laitex products to South America despite never traveling there.
The biggest change in sales is found from technology. Sales is nowadays much about checking backgrounds, recording information and using systems that help manage information. “The world is changing. It has to change”, says Kari. However, people are selling to people, and that is not going to change soon.
People always make purchasing decisions based on their feelings. If you can’t meet your customer in person Kari recommends everyone at least to make a call, as it is a physical contact. While talking, the person is thinking about who he is talking to, and what the person is like. A lot of cues can be heard from speech which allows you to understand your customer’s feelings. On the other hand, calling people is hard because people are busy with their work.
Kari points out that it is important to avoid insulting your potential competitors. “You have to respect the fact that they have at least as much or more knowledge than you have. Still, you must be able to show that you know more than others“, Kari says. This work also requires good self-confidence. The seller must believe in himself so he can hold his head high and shake hands with the client. Remember, people make the most important conclusions about your credibility within the first 10 seconds.
Kari’s career continues
Kari has been working less after the year 2012. He is retired, but still acts as an adviser for Laitex’s younger salesmen. At retirement, he misses customer contact the most. He has been planning to jump into his car and go visit a few of his customers one more time. “I’m not even going to try to sell!” he laughs.
Do you remember Kari? You can contact Kari on LinkedIn and share memories with him there.