Lorna Miller, National Sales Manager at Mellor Coachcraft, tells us about her career progression within the industry
Q: How did you begin your career in the industry?
A: I’ve been in the industry for about 17 years. I started off at a convertors in Scotland who do van conversions. I worked my way through the ranks and became the Sales Manager of the internal sales team. I wanted to get out on the road, and worked for other convertors before I started working with Mellor in January 2016, which meant coming away from vans to focus on bigger products. It gave me the opportunity to get into working with big bus operators because of the products that Mellor offer.
Q: How did you find the role?
A: Mellor approached me about the job. I had known Mellor for quite a few years, but when this opportunity arose, it felt like the right time. I met with them and it was extremely exciting. They had a very obvious vision as to where they wanted to be over the next five years. Mellor had been through some changes – an investment team had been brought in. Mellor were different, and wanted to take the company to a different level, and they’ve stuck to that. It’s been exciting to be part of that management team. From me starting with them, we’ve brought out new products which include the Orion e. I’ve noticed that, different to anywhere I’ve worked before, impact on the environment is important to Mellor – they’re very much into developing environmentally friendly buses.
Q: What might a typical day look like for you?
A: I love my job. I’m typically out on the road, and I have a fantastic sales team throughout the UK and we talk all the time. We’re in our cars, we’re talking about what we’re doing, how we’re getting on and if we have any ideas for each other. So while on the road, I’m very involved with the rest of the sales team throughout the day, including my Managing Director John Randerson. Because of our product range, I’ll go out to meetings with councils and I’ll have appointments with bus operators. Sometimes if I’m just passing an operator, I’ll drop in to see if I can grab them for a chat. Some days you might have an appointment three hours away and they’ll cancel, so you just have to be extremely flexible and find ways to best use the time. The team at Mellor are very hardworking, everyone is doing as much as they can every day of the week. That’s another thing with Mellor – I know there’s more opportunity for myself and my sales team to progress.
Q: What are your favourite aspects of the role?
A: The relationships that I tend to build with my customers. People know me in the industry as being a people person. It’s all about relationships and keeping it personal. I treat my customers as a person rather than just going in trying to sell.
Q: What would you like to achieve in the next few years?
A: I’m currently National Sales Manager, so I’ve been climbing the ladder within the industry. I aspire to continue my progression and open up further opportunities for my sales team. Along the way, I’d like to continue to win big orders from the new markets that we’ve been entering into.
Q: Who in the industry do you admire?
A: My mentor Ralph Roberts, Managing Director of McGill’s. I met Ralph a few years ago when I came out of small conversion sales, but wasn’t in a position to offer him any products. When I joined Mellor, they were introducing the Mercedes Strata. Ralph was one of our first customers to adopt the product, and he’s been flying the flag for it. I really admire the innovative approach taken by Ralph; he is always looking to the future, extremely approachable and willing to offer advice and support.