Home' Inclean : INCLEAN Mar-Apl 2017 Contents 62 INCLEAN March/April 2017
While Kristine Collins wouldn’t necessarily say she grew up wanting
to break into the Australian cleaning industry, Kristine admits she
wanted a career that offered enough flexibility for her to maintain a
good work-life balance.
“I wanted to be able to enjoy life while I was working. The work I
undertook to be able to do that is where I am today.”
Better known today as SEBO Australia, the family-owned and
operated company was established in 1979 as Nayla Pty Limited.
Today, SEBO supplies the Australian commercial and domestic
market with the SEBO brand of vacuum cleaners, power heads,
polishers and dry powder carpet cleaners.
“My parents started the business because they wanted to be their
own boss and have flexible working hours while raising a family,”
explained Kristine, who smiles as she recalls how she earned pocket
money working at the business’s warehouse, rather than completing
household chores like her other school friends.
“I literally swept the warehouse floor every day after school,” she
laughed. “And while it may sound like a menial task, it was quite
important. Keeping the warehouse clean meant we had a clean and
hygienic work area and the products we held in stock remained in
better condition when they were delivered to the customer.”
Following her career as the business’s star sweeper, Kristine moved
on to answering customer calls – “Hello, Nayla Proprietary Limited,
this is Kristine speaking how can I help you?” she recites with a
smile – and taking down enquiries for the sales staff to pursue.
“Once I built up the confidence to speak to people and had an
understanding of the products we sold, I moved onto handling those
preliminary customer enquiries myself. Then I just naturally moved
into the sales side of the business with the rest of the team.”
Kristine has been SEBO’s product manager for almost 10 years
now, responsible for pricing, distribution marketing, as well as
managing SEBO’s staff and customer base.
‘No’ is just a word and doesn’t mean never
Soon after Kristine began her sales journey at SEBO, she discovered
the word ‘no’ was used quite a lot.
“It’s very hard selling a product to someone who doesn’t see a need
for it,” she said. “When you’re a sales person, people don’t come to
you, you have to go to them. You have to create the sale. But hearing
‘no’ a lot can be quite draining on the confidence levels.”
If she could turn back the clock to give one piece of advice to
herself when she was first starting out, it would be that sales is as
simple as finding a solution to a problem.
“They may not be after a ‘vacuum cleaner’, but they may be
after something that improves their indoor air quality – which just
happens to be a vacuum cleaner. So the sales pitch should be around
indoor air quality, not an actual vacuum cleaner,” she explained.
Knowingly selling products that can have a beneficial effect on
one’s health is another perk of Kristine’s job.
“Indoor air quality is paramount in hospitals, aged care and
healthcare facilities alike.
SEBO’s Kristine Collins on sweeping,
sales and starting a family
From schoolkid sweeper to product manager, SEBO’s Kristine Collins spoke to INCLEAN assistant editor
Lizzie Hunter about climbing the ranks in her family’s business and the learning curves associated with
returning to the workforce after raising her own family.
Better health is central to human happiness and well-being. It also
makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy
populations live longer, are more productive, and save more.”
Returning to the workforce
Kristine says one of the biggest learning curves in regards to
maintaining the work-life balance she always wanted, was returning
to the workforce after starting a family.
“I think in any industry women returning to the workforce is a
challenge. A supportive husband and family, flexible working conditions
and hours were a great help. They say it takes a village to raise a child;
my staff were also there to help me raise my family. Our business is
supportive of women returning to the workforce and currently has four
female staff members who have successfully done so.
“Customers can also be quite demanding – people want
“Consumers are now more
diligent with their research of
products and brands.”
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