Tommy Reeves does not lack an educational foundation. The 39-year-old, who currently serves as regional director for Lennox Industries, holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas Tech University, an MBA from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and a master’s degree in sales leadership from William Patterson University of New Jersey.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Reeves found employment with Rexel Inc., an electrical supply company. While working the counter, he received some sage advice.
“I remember this guy saying, ‘Tommy, you seem like a smart kid. If I could give you any advice, it’d be to get into HVAC. There are greater opportunities in HVAC,’” Reeves said. “Of course, I had no idea even what HVAC meant, but his words stuck with me. Five years later, when I was looking to make a career move, I applied at Lennox. I’ve been here ever since.”
He hired into Lennox as a marketing analyst in 2005 before being promoted to territory manager (2007-2011), regional business manager (2011-2012), and district manager (2012-2017). Today, he serves as regional director, a job he’s held for the last year.
“No matter what position you hold, you must always treat people right,” he said. “People are a resource. Serve your fellow man/woman to the best of your ability, and the service will always be returned.”
A natural salesman, Reeves truly enjoys selling the industry to up-and-coming prospects.
“I do a lot of college recruiting, working to bring young professionals into HVACR,” he said. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is educating the next generation on why they should invest in a career in HVACR, hiring them, and seeing them become the future leaders in our industry.”
Once those prospects are hired, Reeves insists, in a sales capacity, that all people are important, regardless if they work in the same building or not.
“Internal customers are just as important as your buyers,” he said. “Treat your fellow employees the same as you would your largest account. Be of service from the moment you wake up and your coworkers will want to be of service for you and your customers. Happy employees will make happy customers.”
He also believes the next generation of HVACR employees boasts skills far beyond those his generation possess.
“The new kids are way smarter than I ever was,” Reeves said. “It took me six years after graduating college to master the sales trade. Kids today have advanced selling programs in college. I’m fortunate enough to participate in collegiate sales competitions as both a buyer and a judge. The new sales generation is way ahead of the curve regarding sales processes and sales cycles; however, relationships are still pivotal in the sales process. The HVACR world is a close knit community. Those entering the industry need to make sure they know how to build these relationships. Once accomplished, the sky is the limit.”
Such internal and external relationships are built by being honest and forthcoming about upfront contracts.
“Employees and customers must know the expectations from day one,” he said. “If circumstances cause deviation to the original prospects, it is critical to reset expectations. That requires clear and constant communication. Also, celebrate wins in public every chance you get. People need praise, and it moves everyone toward the common goal. Last, you must be of service to your team to accomplish their goals and your expectations. Making yourself available provides safe two-way communications. It’s not just about top-down direction but listening from the bottom up to assist everyone in hitting their goals.”
When not closing sales, Reeves enjoys dabbling in horticulture.
“I really like to garden and work in the yard,” he said. “It’s great meditation, and my kids love to help. This allows us time together, and there is nothing better than fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Reeves stressed that HVACR must be recognized and appreciated as a life necessity.
“Our industry offers applied products that are critical in making life comfortable,” he said. “What is cooler, no pun intended, than working in an industry that provides such assets? And, it’s icing on the cake that I work for Lennox. Lennox creates a culture that makes me even more enthusiastic about working in HVACR.”
Publication date: 11/21/18