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Brentano Sales Department


Brentano National Sales Manager Jeff Frank is a popular guy at Brentano. When he's in the office, there are usually donuts in the kitchen and laughter spilling out of the Customer Service Department. But what does he do when he's not at Brentano? We reserved this Report260 for the Sales Department just so we could find out.

Brentano didn't even have an email system when Jeff started! Now he's always connected.

Q: What's a typical day like in the life of Jeff, National Sales Manager?
A: Well, if that day is during my travel season, I'm usually up early getting ready to meet the rep. Then I have to get my iced tea. There are still some reps who are like, "Do you need coffee or anything?" And I'm like, "Really? We've been doing this for 12 years!" Iced tea. Unsweetened ice tea.

On a typical day when I'm out on the road, we usually have a nine o'clock appointment. A good day is four to five appointments, but I've had as many as eight. Then hopefully it's back to the hotel by six o'clock, and we do it all over again. We just keep running.

My job is to train the rep during the day — but also to be the face of Brentano to the customer. I'm educating them about our product and educating them about Brentano. In the process, I'll hopefully develop a relationship with them both, the rep and the client. After 12 years there are definitely design firms and designers I've come to know.

Q: How did you get into sales?
A: I was a designer first, my first four years out of college. My design degree and design job experience help me relate to designers. I understand what they're looking for when they talk about their needs, and I also understand their time. They may only have 15 minutes to meet with me, and I try, try to listen to them so we can spend that time showing product that's applicable. Listening is important.

Q: You must have a great memory too, to do what you do.
A: With certain things. If you talk to some of the reps, they'll say, "He remembers everything!" I'll remember a place we went to for lunch five years ago, and when the rep's going around the block and around the block, I'm like, "Yeah, we've been this way before."

Directions I'm good at. Locations I'm good at. I'm not really good with peoples' names. Names are ... yeah.

Q: Makes sense; to do as much traveling as you do, you've got to be good with directions. Do you have any travel tips?
A: I like to stay in the same place when I visit a city. When you’re at the same hotel twice a year for three or four days, you know what it offers and what’s in the neighborhood. It’s not home, but it starts to feel comfortable.

There are also certain things I need wherever I go. I usually stay near a pharmacy because they have water. They have drugs if you need them. They have snacks if you need them. They have toothpaste and those types of things if you need them. It's the one thing you have to have ... because it has everything!

Q: You don’t spend all year traveling, so what are you up to when you’re back at Brentano?
A: One of the things I love about working here is that I am involved with product development. When I’m in the office, the Design Studio’s asking me for feedback every day. The amount of exposure I get to clients and what they’re requesting — even down to price point, durability and color — is knowledge that needs to be brought back to the Design Studio. I get to be their partner in the design process. And if you ask our salespeople, that’s one of the things they’ll say about us: Brentano listens ... and tries to bring out product that clients can’t find anywhere else.

Q: Like with the Design Studio, is there any other crossover between Sales and the different departments?
A: The Sales Department starts with me, but everybody contributes. Lisa as the Customer Service Team Lead quoting big projects and Silvanna in sampling getting the salespeople what they need. Customer Service is a big part of the sales team — even if they don’t see themselves that way.

Iris, who is the VP of Sales and my boss, takes care of the international sales and helps stoke the fire with me and our sales reps. Then there’s the Marketing Department, always pushing the envelope and pushing the Sales Department to do more or do things differently or think outside of the box.

Q: You must be very patient.
A: Well, the Marketing Department aside, there’s a lot of hotel rooms. There’s a lot of airplanes, and there’s a lot of sitting in the passenger seat trying not to scream at the driver-slash-rep. I’m not a very patient person, but I’ve learned to be patient in regards to airlines and the driving skills of certain sales reps.

The face of our sales team and a partner in product design, Jeff also happens to be the best hugger at Brentano. If you’ve never met him, get on the phone with your rep! He’ll be back in your town soon.

As for the future of Report260 ... did we reserve the best for last? Don’t count on it! We’ll be back with more exclusive interviews from Brentano. In fact, we're opening the floor to special requests: Who should we put in the hot seat next? And what burning questions do you want to ask?


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