When you interact with a salesperson, what makes a good experience?

Is it the person’s knowledgeability, their ability to solve your problem quickly, or how easy it is to work with them? If you answered “all of the above,” you’re not alone! That’s where John Kirk, Senior Vice President of Sales Excellence comes in.   With 40 years of experience serving customers in sales, John is committed to training and developing the SICK salesforce in order to improve the customer experience.

Improving Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude

John describes his current role as behind-the-scenes. While he doesn’t directly interact with customers himself anymore, he knows every salesperson needs 3 core competencies: knowledge of SICK’s strategic industries and products/solutions, effective communication skills, and the right attitude. “You can improve knowledge and skills,” says John, “But you can’t teach attitude.” Fortunately, most of SICK’s salesforce love their jobs and already have a positive attitude as a foundation.

John’s job then is to make sure SICK’s salesforce gets the training and tools they need to be even more efficient, effective and easy to work with, which ultimately saves their customers time and stress. Part of the Sales Excellence program includes personality style tests that help salespeople understand their own communication style and how to adapt to better connect with their customers. Another aspect is SICK’s internal online training platform, where employees expand their product and industry knowledge.

John says, “Sales Excellence isn’t a recipe. It’s a process.” There’s always something that can be improved, so John’s job is to constantly ask, “How can we make our salespeople better so our customers will have a better experience?”

Traveler, Photographer, Grandfather

Outside of work, John is an avid world traveler. In addition to visiting much of the US, he’s visited nearly every continent including Europe, Africa, South America, and Australia. His and his wife's “bucket list trips” were visits to French Polynesia and Tanzania.

He has also enjoyed numerous wilderness trips with his family over the years, including a river rafting trips through the Grand Canyon, backpacking in the Colorado Mountains, and going to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. He and his wife also enjoy taking their 3 grandkids on trips as well.

Photography is growing passion of John’s, which pairs perfectly with his proclivity for travel. In a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, he happened to meet a traveling photographer who showed him how to capture photos of the classic Old Faithful Geyser. He’s hoping to take classes and learn all things photography, from capturing better images to editing them himself.   Check out some of his photos in the gallery below.