There are many benefits of being a part of the NAPA sales team, and one of them is having the opportunity to work with our independent store owners. Atlanta native, Zeke Phillips, has been with NAPA for over 12 years and is currently a Territory Sales Manager. In his position, he’s considered the liaison between the distribution centers and the independently owned stores. We had the chance to chat with Zeke about why he enjoys his job and how connects with his clients.
Tell us about your journey to NAPA?
I was fresh out of college and stumbled upon an entry-level position at NAPA’s Distribution Center in Norcross, GA back in 2007. I moved around within NAPA and learned as much as I could about each position. After I moved into management as a Stockroom Manager, I decided I wanted to try something new; I expressed to my manager that I was ready to take on more responsibility and was able to get started in sales. I’ve been in sales ever since, and I love it.
Why are you passionate about the sales environment at NAPA?
I’ve developed some great working relationships. At times, it doesn’t even feel like I’m working, more like I’m dealing with friends or family. I spend a lot of time with the independent store owners, and the job is never the same. Our territories are large, so you’re dealing with a lot of different personalities, store managers, and their employees. It’s a lot of fun!
What are some of the key functions of your role?
I ensure that the independent stores have everything they need from our distribution centers. Whether it’s the new parts for the latest cars on the market or classic parts for restoration projects, it’s my job to make sure they have what they need to be successful. I also, at times, take on sort of an advisory role where I help them with storefront setups. No day is ever the same which keeps it exciting and fun!
How do you ensure that independent store owners feel connected to NAPA?
“With these relationships’ communication is critical, and over communication is even better! It’s important to remember that this is their livelihood, they’ve invested in this business partnership with NAPA, and by communicating the latest happenings at NAPA with them, you’re keeping them in the loop. It’s important to be willing to go above and beyond as well– being available for them when it may not be convenient for you. I’ve taken calls late at night to make sure I can find a fix for something that may have come up. Showing that we’re here to support them is vital to their success and ours!”
What are a few things you’ve learned working with NAPA?
I’ve learned a few things – for one, professionalism. NAPA has taught me how to grow as a professional and think with a mentality that ensures everyone wins. Secondly, I’d say NAPA has helped me come out of my shell! I used to be shy, but I’ve learned to be more outgoing and open to communication. This is an important skill in a management role and sales altogether. Lastly, would be financial responsibility. I’ve learned how to handle finances as a professional and in my personal life through my experiences at NAPA. These are all values that will last a lifetime.
Where do you see yourself with NAPA in 5 years?
I don’t see myself leaving the sales aspect of NAPA. Honestly, the major attraction is that I’m never bored in my job, and I find myself having to pinch my arm to remind myself that what I’m doing is work.
Are you looking to break free of the boring Mondays and get into a profession that offers excitement and endless opportunity? If so, follow Zeke’s lead, get involved with NAPA, and discover a company full of possibilities!