Welcome to “The Women of MDNA,” a series of posts where you’ll meet some of the remarkable women in our industry. Their contributions to machine sales in general, and our association in particular, enhance our organization and our industry on a daily basis. That’s especially true for Kristen Reeves, a relative newcomer to machinery sales, who’s making big strides as a sales representative at Automatics & Machinery in Longmont, Colorado.
How did you get involved in the industry?
I’m huge Denver Broncos fan. I came out to Colorado to visit my brother and cousin. When I told them that I want to live here, they told me that I need to get into machinery sales industry. I told them that I didn’t know anything about the industry. “We’ll teach you,” was their reply.
That conversation led to an interview with Steve Beck, President of Automatics & Machinery. He’s been a member of MDNA since 1990 and was willing to teach me about the industry. I think he saw that I wasn’t afraid of learning technical details. I have come to specialize in high precision turning and multi-axis CNC Swiss. I learn new things every day about the details of what I’m selling—not only from doing a little homework but also learning from end users and other dealers in this industry.
How has your company benefitted from MDNA?
It’s great meeting people in the same industry and learning about their experiences. I know that if you’re in MDNA, we already have a connection. There’s a huge trust factor there. We’re all part of the same group and follow the same code of ethics. Most recently, I went to the Weekend with the Pros event. It was a great opportunity to get to tour local companies and see their warehouses and operations.
What is the value women bring to the industry?
I think women bring a comfort level to the process. My customers appreciate that I’m there to build a relationship with them. It’s my philosophy that if they trust me, they’ll come back. So I’m really focused on the future as much as the current sale. Once I establish a relationship, it’s long-term, and I pride myself on repeat customers.
What advice would you give other women in the machinery sales business?
I think it’s important to focus on customer service throughout the entire process and handle any issues along the way. That can include getting shipping quotes and preparing the machine for shipping. When customers see the completed process, they’re usually happy with the result. You have to build the trust factor. Mean what you say and say what you do.
What do you like best about the industry?
I really enjoy establishing a relationship with the customer. It allows me to build their trust and find out their specific machinery needs. In general, it’s a male-dominated field, so when I speak to customers on the phone, it seems like they really listen, and that helps me build rapport. I really take the time to educate myself when it comes to the specific models. When a woman understands what they’re saying on a technical level and can go into detail, they are sometimes surprised and think it’s impressive.
I also enjoy teaching and training newcomers to the machinery world. Most recently I have been working with Steve’s daughter, Alyssa Beck. I see a lot of families in this industry, so it is not uncommon to find new generations joining the industry. Alyssa has been a great addition to our team!