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Exchanging Worlds - A Unique Tingue Brown Program

The response from Ty Acton and the 28 other Tingue Brown sales representatives who took part in the company's unique exchange program last year was so positive, that plans are underway to repeat the experience in 2001.

"I loved it," said Acton, who spent a week outside his home sales territory of south and central Florida visiting sales representative Mitchell Strauss in New Jersey. "It was great to meet guys who were in the laundry business but different socially and culturally.

The program, initiated by David Tingue, president and vp of sales and marketing, required all company sales reps to spend a week working one-on-one, alongside another rep in a different part of the country. The idea was to familiarize the company's technical reps and regional managers with nationwide operations. Although all Tingue representatives have substantial experience within the laundry industry, they may not have seen all of its' regional aspects. "A laundry is a laundry is a laundry, but everyone has a wide variety of accounts," explained

"It was great to meet guys who were in the laundry business but different socially and culturally.”

David Tingue. "What they are learning from each other is how they cover a territory, how they handle sales calls, how they handle installation services -they learn the tricks of the trade."

And despite some initial reservations, representatives were unanimous in expressing how worthwhile and valuable they found the exchange.

"I wished I had the opportunity to do this when I started with the company - it would have been a real jump start to my career," said Mark Kiernes. Kiernes, a 10-year veteran with a massive Pacific northwest territory, was hosted by Dottie Wyland in Texas. During his visit they covered installations and sales calls techniques. But Kiernes also learned a lot from just comparing notes with Wyland on structuring territories and dealing with day-to-day business.

Ty Acton's experience in New Jersey not only taught him different selling techniques but opened his eyes to a more competitive territory. "I think it prepared me better for the future in my own territory," he said.

The program, which took place over the course of last year and covered the entire continental U.S., was developed in direct response to feedback received from company sales meetings, according to Tingue. "Overwhelmingly the guys said the best part was meeting the other sales guys from Tingue Brown and hearing what they do and how they help their customers out," said Tingue. "I figured, if we're going to spend money, let's do what they say they like."

A management administrative committee determines which region each rep will visit, but gives the individuals latitude to schedule just when the visits will occur.

David Tingue points out that right now a lot of the learning is intangible. "It's difficult to measure but then again if we were to spend money on sales meetings, it's also difficult to measure the results," he said. Reps seem to appreciate that intangibility as well as the chance to bond with others in the same field. "I've been doing this since there were bows and arrows and you can feel like you're all alone," said veteran Bill Webb whose sales territory is south Florida and the Caribbean. Webb relished the opportunity to share his hard won knowledge with a rookie from West Virginia and Ohio. When it came time for Webb to be hosted up in New York State, he found he wasn't so much of a veteran that he couldn't learn something new himself. "When you stop learning, that's when you get old," he said.

As far as David Tingue is concerned the program is an on-going project. "We definitely got feedback that it was positive so we'll continue," he said

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Inmate Crushed By Laundry Equipment

GOOCHLAND, Va. — An inmate at the Virginia Correctional Center died when a shuttle that carried hundreds of pounds of wet laundry from washers to dryers fell upon her. The inmates were conducting repairs on the equipment when it fell and she was trapped underneath. The inmate died from her injuries at the VCU Medical Center