The world of textiles is rich with experiences and opportunities, but can it also be a vehicle to connect you with the love of your life and your favorite pastime? In the case of industry veteran and TVF Senior Sales Consultant Jim Prestipino, the answer is yes.
Jim’s career has taken him from the textile mills of his home state of South Carolina, to carpet sales in the Northeastern United States, to the TVF Headquarters in Carmel, Indiana. While working in carpet sales in Connecticut, his largest dealer became close professionally and personally and asked Jim “why don’t you meet my niece?” That fateful introduction would eventually progress to marriage. “You talk about relationship selling… That’s it!” Jim joked. “Who’s going to beat that?” That same dealer also invited Jim repeatedly to play golf with him after work, and those times on the links turned into a hobby that still hooks him to this day.
Jim is celebrating 20 years with TVF (about half the full span of his career in textiles) and he recently offered a masterclass on his big takeaways throughout the years. His words of wisdom include:
Be Truthful and Don’t Overpromise
Jim says finding out what the customer really needs is important and being willing to level with them if our solution may not be the right solution. “I’m up front with [customers]. ‘I don’t know if we can do it or not. If we can, I see these being the problems or benefits,’” he says. All Jim asks is for the customer to give him the first shot at finding a solution.
Customization is Key
Building on the foundation of truthfulness, Jim adds that finding a customized solution – something he says has become a growing option over the years at TVF – has a big impact for customers. In fact, customization and profound knowledge of yarns, fabrics, and finishes are crucial. He works with customers to find custom widths, colors, stocking options and gets into the various chemical and yarn options to create a solution.
Ask for Help and Ask the Right Questions
Early in his career, Jim learned a valuable lesson to ask more questions. He and other salespeople at the Milliken & Co mill in South Carolina where he cut his teeth were asked during training about the amount of material needed for 100 new houses. “Come to find out – if you don’t ask the right questions – they were doghouses and only needed one yard (of carpet) for each one. That just shows you, you really have to ask a lot of questions.” He learned his lesson then and applies it today.
Learn from Everyone and Help Others When You Can
He says he’s able to pick up lessons from every salesperson he’s ever worked with. If someone takes a different approach than him, he’ll ask why, and the response often makes him think “I’ve never thought about finding a customer that way!” He says everyone has their own selling style and he’s picked up different traits from others throughout the years. Jim is proud of his vast amount of textile experience, identifying his personal sales style as more technical than a lot of others. Because of his experience working in a dye house, Jim can dive deep to answer anything from processes to various finishes and coatings. Jim’s extensive knowledge in textiles has made him a go-to expert at TVF.
Clearly, not all jobs in this industry will help lead to a spouse and a passion for golf, but Jim’s nearly 40 decades in textiles and 20 years at TVF demonstrates endless possibilities.