Badminton is not a particularly dazzling sport, but it is my favourite form of exercise. No matter how busy my work is, I always make the time to play every single week.
The game emphasises mental resilience and skill, and in a way, this echoes the character of my role as Sales Manager at Jebsen Consumer. I joined Jebsen in 2016, initially taking on the position of Assistant Sales Manager for Dyson. Working for an international household name in an inclusive and tolerant environment has been a real eye-opener for me.
The first rule of thumb in a badminton match is to make sure that the corners of the pitch are well-defended. Working in Sales at Dyson also requires good defence. If I were to employ an analogy, the two baseline corners of the badminton court are good team management and retention of key customers. These are assets that should be defended well at all costs, and at all times.
When it comes to managing my team, I always prioritse team morale. An upbeat spirit lets us press on with a victory when we have the upper hand, and persevere in the face of adversity. My team knows that as long as the game isn’t over, the score can be recovered. This is why I value regular and honest communication with team members, in discussing sales targets, and providing support when and where needed. It is all part of nurturing morale.
Although Dyson has many loyal customers, we never forget that competition is fierce among home appliance brands. We cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to keeping our key customers happy. It means I always make time to listen carefully to them, make sure they understand our new company policies, and of course provide timely and attentive service – this is what keeps them loyal to Dyson.
Alas, the market is like the court in that both are always unpredictable. Hong Kong has faced many challenges in the past year, and despite my skilled defence, I have had to remain calm and flexible, striking at appropriate intervals while keeping a good defence, in order to keep our business on a healthy growth track.
For example, spending and consumption patterns have changed during the epidemic. Sales declined for beauty appliances, but the public has become more concerned about health. More are willing to spend on advanced products for disease prevention. We grasped this opportunity, promoting a series of Dyson’s home appliances such as cutting-edge air purifiers and vacuum cleaners, maintaining sales growth in these product categories to keep our business resilient amidst market changes.
With people staying home during the epidemic, we cannot rely on branch retail as we used to. Instead, we have had to change our tactic, adopting a stance of attack rather than defence, and aggressively expanding our sales channels. We proactively sought out corporate clients and coordinated with corporate sales teams, launching additional staff promotions. Whenever the epidemic would ease up, people wanted to spend in a ‘retaliatory consumption.’ This presented prime opportunities for us, and we seized them with timely product promotions – much like turning an opponent's serve into a put-back spike on the court.
Some say that an excellent badminton player must have the endurance of a marathon runner, the speed of a sprinter, the composure of a mountaineer and the agility of a swordsman – sports skills born of integration. The game is surely exhausting, but I always find time after every badminton game to enjoy a chilled beer and the sweet satisfaction of knowing that I had exerted myself for a great game.
Being a Sales Manager at Jebsen Consumer is equally taxing. But the satisfaction that comes with leading a great team and driving business growth amidst challenges is great, and sweeter than any badminton win.