Share the Spirit


We speak to Bernt Beckedorf on the phone between two of his appointments. He has been working as a sales representative for Sennheiser headphones in Germany since 2002, serving customers such as Media Markt, Saturn, expert, Euronics, EP/MediMax, High End and Hearing Care Partners. So it’s little wonder that his car is like a mobile office. When he joined Sennheiser Sales & Service, known as SVS for short, one thing stood out straightaway: “There was this energy. The way everyone treated each other immediately impressed me. They helped each other and they dealt with everything as a team,” recalls Bernt. Back then, we always celebrated when the sales staff returned to the office with a carbon copy of their order forms. Nowadays, the orders are processed simultaneously in a database rather than being submitted on slips of paper, nevertheless the achievement is still celebrated. “The technology has changed, yet the enthusiasm remains.”


It is important to Bernt that the relationship with his customers at Sennheiser goes deeper than just prices and item numbers. He wants them to experience the team spirit. “I particularly enjoy our customer training courses which regularly take place at the production site in Wedemark. I want to prove to the customers that the family atmosphere and cooperative relationships I have described can be felt in every corner of the company. I want to make them feel at home.” The customers really like that. “They often tell me how happy they are that we are such a reliable and stable team. And I’m not the only member of staff they have been dealing with for almost twenty years.”


Indeed, stability and long-term equal partnerships are something special in the fast-moving retail sector. In both manufacturing and sales, contacts and concepts change quickly. The entire industry is in a state of flux. It’s good to have constants like Bernt and his colleagues and to find some common ground. “A smile and a ‘hey, how are you?’ can sometimes make all the difference. I always focus on the individual in front of me first and foremost. After that, the discussion can turn to the nitty gritty of maintenance solutions and prices.”


The fact that Bernt’s customer relationships go far beyond topics such as sales margins, listings and shelf space often means that customers come to speak to him about the challenges of the industry and allows them to come up with new ideas collaboratively. “When we look each other in the eye and say ‘let’s do this together,’ it’s a very special feeling. In that moment, we are not customer and manufacturer, purchaser and supplier, we are part of that unique spirit that I always talk about—we are partners.”



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