YOU'RE THE BEST YANKEE I KNOW THAT LIVES IN TEXAS!
Phil, you are one of the young stars at 3M Electrical. You have been there close to a decade. You have moved quite a bit for the company and have had great exposure in different sides to the electrical industry. Upstate New York, Vermont, New York City, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and other places. How would you separate each location and the largest type of electrical business you did there?
The North Eastern States is mostly a commercial area. The New York City Market obviously was very commercial. A lot of high-rises, hotels, light medium voltage, Switch gear hookup, Light substation work and then getting into Western New there was some of wind farms. Green energy (renewable energy), your solar farms, and things like that.
Moving down to Texas, that all changed. Heavy industrial. Getting into the Gulf of Mexico, there are a lot of petro-chemical plants. Corpus Christi- heavy wind energy. I am actually on my way down to Brownsville, Texas right now (it’s right on the Mexican border) to do a Wind Farm. I would say it is probably 70/30- 70% being industrial, and 30% being commercial. We are working on some of the largest projects in the United States.
You have been one of my mentors, I looked up to you as a salesman. Where did you learn your selling skills and how do you approach your job and your customers? What is Dinuzzo’s secret sauce?
I relate it back to family. Growing up in an Italian and Irish family, you try to voice your concerns, your problems, your setbacks, your opinions in an open-forum family style. Also, I think back to my first job as a sales person. I sold copy machines. It was probably one of the hardest sales jobs out there- it was very competitive. A lot of cold calling, a lot of in-your-face-selling where you are dealing with a lot of rejection and negotiation, as well as selling yourself so you had to “be on point”. All the products did the same thing but if you could be more of a benefit than the other salesperson, that was a differentiator. My boss at the time was an old-school guy. He was 75 years old and he made you be out in the street selling. If you were in the office, you were in trouble. He was one of those guys- he threw you out to the wolves. You got beat up, you took some punches, and you learned from it.
What do you offer versus your competitors?
The biggest thing I offer my customers is support. Being at the other end of the phone- getting back to them fast with whatever I commit to. Showing that I am dedicated to the job and the product line that I am selling. Being available 24/7.
I had a guy call me the other day and I was at a wedding, but I took care of him and got him the product he needed. Helping customers get through problems in an emergency situation. That is the key.
One thing I remember very clearly from when I first met you is, a heightened sense of optimism towards achieving the unachievable. You know what I mean?
There is an opportunity everywhere you go to sell something that you carry. That is why I bring it back to the word “solution”. I don't like to say I am a “sales rep”, I like to say I am a “solutions rep”. I am providing you with a better solution, to help you. You know, you are trying to sell yourself at times. And I will be honest with you, being a Yankee, moving to Texas, is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I had to sell myself. The way I sold myself was by selling those solutions and by helping and showing that I could provide that. I got an email today from a customer today saying, “You're the best Yankee I know that lives in Texas!”
How large is Medium Voltage in your day to day? What type? Terminations, splices, all of the above?
About 70%. All of the above. It seems like everything is medium voltage for me in this territory right now. Those are where the questions come up.
Do you experience a lot of competition in that market?
Yes and no. Others are coming out with similar technology, but at 3M we always seem to lead innovation. Price is always a decision-making driver too.
Are contractors loyal to distributors or do you see them shopping around?
They shop around but it depends on who they are. If the guys in the field can pull triggers, then they are loyal and don’t tend to shop around. If the guy is from purchasing, then they’re not as loyal. They like to bid stuff out.
You sell through distribution…what sets distributors apart from each other?
Delivery, shipping , things like that. the hours they are open. Distributor salespeople, knowledge, and inventory- that is the biggest.
I went to lunch with a contractor yesterday and we went with this distributor. I already had the relationship with the contractor. And they took the contractor on a tour of their facility. A lot of it was showing off their inventory.
The contractor is a medium voltage guy. So the whole point of being there was to show that we would have emergency stuff up on the shelf when the time is needed.
Have you been underground in a mine site? What was different in a mine site than in any other electrical job?
I have been in probably every type of atmosphere in the electrical world. I have been in underground sites, in railway systems, I have been under a lake in New York in a rock salt mine, petro-chemical plants, I have been inside a submarine for the United States Navy, I have been on wind farms, data centers, solar farms, power plants, manufacturing facilities, manholes, oil rigs, on-shore platforms, refineries...probably every type of atmosphere you can think of in electrical construction.
Mining is a lot different. When you’re underground there is almost like a distributorship in the mine. They have shuttles and shelves, stock, inventory, tractors, bobcats, go karts, four-wheelers, 4x4, all different types of tools. I have been down there when they were wiring for explosives and that was pretty cool. But the atmosphere is much different. They’ve got a lot of 3M products stocked in there. A lot of tapes, adhesives, a lot of medium voltage supplies to run temporary power.
You obviously have a huge broad knowledge of the Industrial and Commercial side of the electrical business. You know distributors really, you know manufacturers really well...Where do you see the industry in 5 to 10 years from where it is right now?
Expanding like I can't describe. Where I am in the industrial world. This territory is booming. I mean, I it's on the up-and-up. It's just going to keep growing