'In a company, whoever you are, you can contribue to sales'
The President of Velux France, Michel Langrand, graduated from the EM Normandie Grande Ecole Programme (Class of ’76). He shared with us his views on Sales as a function on the occasion of his presence as the Guest of Honour of the 30th Sales Negotiation Contest.
Sales as a function has changed quite lot: in what way according to you?
Sales as an occupation and the supplier/customer relationship have undergone marked change. The salesperson retains a pivotal role in commerce, as long as he/she is the main face to face interlocutor. He or she represents the company in the eyes of the customer and guarantees the right response will be given at the right moment. However, a quality customer relationship is the result of many other contact points that supplement the physical meetings. Support services – logistics, sales assistants, Accounts staff, and others, -- all take part in this relationship, since they are in direct contact with their counterparts in the customer’s own firm. In this sense, the salesperson becomes the conductor of a commercial tune in which each and every one should know other people’s scores to ensure a successful negotiation and a long-lasting relationship with the customer’.
Career prospects in Sales are said to be wide. On the basis of your personal experience, what picture would you give?
‘ If you assume that any person within a company can be called to play a commercial role whatever the function he or she is in, then career prospects are very varied and constantly available. Beyond competencies and knowledge of the product or service, the capability to convince, the will to meet one’s objectives, if not to exceed them, a talent for striking long-term quality relationships, will allow a salesperson either to access a wider area in the function (territory, customer profiles, range of products), or to move on to expert or managerial responsibilities, where a passion for results will always be an asset to succeed. As far as I’m concerned, as the President of a company, I have always viewed my position as one where I must be my company’s N°1 salesperson.’
In view of your professional career path, what did your studies at EM Normandie bring to you?
My time at EM Normandie still remains a very striking part in my personal and professional life. I was able to shape up a frame of mind that I have kept ever since, which helps me cope with strategic analysis or thinking, while remaining unprejudiced and result-focused’.