In the 45 years since Rand-Air’s inception, this market-leading compressed air and generator rental business has not only maintained a stringent focus on the quality of its products and customer service – but also the quality of the people who provide the critical interface between the company and its valued customers.
To ensure that customer service and relationships are always fully optimised, and to support its employees’ efforts in this regard, Rand-Air invests substantially in ongoing training and development – across all relevant disciplines - including technical, safety and rental marketing.
Further to these initiatives, Rand-Air – together with Atlas Copco’s rental division – have devised a challenging MIRS (Master in Rental Sales) training programme which is used to develop promising talent in the organisation.
In 2017, an international MIRS training course was held, composed of 16 promising, high-potential sales engineers. Denise Olivier, a Rand-Air external sales representative based in the town of Kathu in the Northern Cape was selected to attend. Over a period of six months, she attended the four one-week MIRS training modules in Thailand, Belgium, Brazil and Dubai.
"It was a very intensive course, with a lot to take in and to put into practice. However, I have done so this year, and will increasingly benefit from this training as time goes by," explains Olivier, who joined Rand-Air four years ago. She explains that the training has helped her significantly. "To me, it is all about building that vital relationship with our customers, and ensuring they have a really excellent experience of our solutions and our service," she affirms.
During the MIRS programme, Olivier was taken through the building blocks of the sales process. Rand-Air is keenly aware of the need for a wide range of skills required by a fully professional salesperson, and for this reason, makes every effort to ensure that every one of these salespeople is as well-equipped as possible to meet the challenges of working in the field. Each of these building blocks represent one of the essentials steps that need to be considered when approaching, presenting or concluding a sale. A key component of this is gaining a precise understanding of the client's needs and then ensuring that these requirements are met to the letter.
“This training is very practical, as participants gain knowledge in both 'hard' and 'soft' skills; which equipped us with all the right tools and knowledge to further boost our customer relationships and ultimately, our performance,” she explains.
The training was offered by internal specialists and external trainers. The internal specialists focused on the essential 'hard skills' – which covered such as products, applications, segments and sales tools, among others. The external trainers presented courses on the indispensable 'soft' skills', which are equally essential at every stage of the sales process.
During each session, the in-country hosting team shared their regional best practices, such as local success stories with product and segment insights, usage of sales tools and tailoring sales efforts to ‘fit’ the local market and environment.
With each module, participants grew from being a 'sales representative' to ultimately graduate as a fully-fledged Rental Master.
Besides the essential skills and learning which they gained, participants were also tasked with reporting on their own personal development.
During the final graduation ceremony, each participant received an 18-month mission statement. New graduates who reach their targets will be invited for a fifth module, to take a ‘next step’ in their competence development.
Olivier explains that, based as she is in Kathu – a relatively remote branch in the Northern Cape - she has to be an all-rounder, ready to step in wherever she is needed.
"This depot feels to me like it's my own business, so I go the extra mile. I am always on standby – customers sometimes call me with emergencies at three o'clock in the morning, and I will be there helping as best as I can," she adds.
"One thing I have learned is that, after the MIRS training, I am more than a sales representative – I am now a Rental Master and sales professional," she asserts in conclusion.