Solo salesman goes gaga for gadgets

Solo salesman goes gaga for gadgets

Four months into the job as Logitech’s first man on the ground in New Zealand, sales manager Bryan Simpson explains to Amanda Sachtleben how his house has become overrun with accessories.

How did you get into the IT industry in New Zealand?

I was born and bred in Zimbabwe and have been in New Zealand for three or four years now. I ran the production side of a footwear company in South Africa for a couple of years. When I came over here I joined a leasing business. I’d been with them for three years doing retail leasing in the IT industry.

So you came into the sector from the sales side?

That’s right. Even though you’re selling something intangible, you have to master the art of selling as if you’re selling something tangible. It built a good foundation for moving into the current role. I’ve always been very sales focused.

Why did you choose Logitech?

I’ve only been with them four months and it’s been pretty full on but it was a fantastic move. It’s a great company to work for and there are exciting things that are going to happen. They’ve got a fantastic range and are market leaders. It was an opportunity to join such an innovative company that was an international business.

Are you into IT accessories in a big way?

I was telling someone the other day that when I was in Sydney in my first day on the job, the guys pulled out the latest mouse that we were about to launch on the market. Everyone was going ooh and ah, and saying it looked so great. I sort of thought, okay … but four months into the role I’m pretty much the same as them. Once you get into the industry and learn about the products and innovations it really grows on you. You do get all the gadgets and the house is kitted out with all of them.

How do you differentiate Logitech from its competitors in the New Zealand market?

There’s a large number of competitors but competition’s a great thing because it makes the market aware. For example, Microsoft is bringing new web cameras into the New Zealand market and I see that as a fantastic thing. They’re going to get market share because of that but it’s going to grow the revenue of the market from where it is to who knows where. It’s growing at such a large rate at the moment. You just have to take advantage of those opportunities when they come up.

You’ve also got to stick with market trends. We’ve got products from gaming to speakers to web cameras and voice over IP, to the universal Harmony remote which is taking off in the rest of the world. We’ve got peripherals right across the industry, with categories that can grow with opportunities.

How is the New Zealand operation performing compared with Logitech globally?

As a worldwide percentage, we’re a lot smaller. We’re a region that’s doing very well, as Australia is.

Do you enjoy being the sole representative here?

It’s like running your own business and being a manufacturer’s representative, backed by a billion-dollar company. There’s been a lot of groundwork we needed to do to grow the revenue. I’ve enjoyed that challenge — I’m very much self-motivated. When you talk about communication and having voice over IP, web cameras and videoconferencing to Australia or Hong Kong, who says you need people in the office with you? I’m here on a daily basis dealing with distributors, retailers, resellers, so I’ve got people contact. You don’t necessarily have to have a team at this stage. Once the business grows we’ll have to bring additional people on.

Have you had time for a life outside work in the last four months?

It’s been largely focused on work, but normally I’m very much an outdoors person, being from South Africa. I’m into spear fishing and diving, also relaxing and spending time with my partner — you’ve got to have that balance in life. When you start in any new role and you have a goal to take it to a certain point, it’s not a case of kicking back and relaxing after that, you just have to get that balance. But I’ve got four weeks off to go back to South Africa. I haven’t seen my family in a year and a half, so it’s long overdue.

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