Musings From Our Sales Team


We don’t want to sell you another chair

October 3, 2016

You have probably heard us rattle off our mission “to help you create a more productive work environment” about a thousand times.   It’s on our website, it’s on our proposals, we talk about it in meetings, presentations, on the phone and just about any time someone will listen.  

As the resident marketer at Office Interiors, I share much of the blame for inundating you with our mission, but I promise it comes from a good place.  We aren’t just bombarding you with marketing speak or some A/B tested message, our mission really does pervade every aspect of daily life at Office Interiors.  

Is a manufacturer trying to pitch us on a new product or technology?  They better be prepared to answer how it will make our customer’s work environments more productive.  

Did one of our Account Managers give a cookie-cutter proposal to a potential client?  They better be ready to answer why they didn’t try to find an innovative way to create a more productive work environment for that customer.  

Have I drafted up a new piece of content for our website or social media channels?  I better be able to answer how it will help the reader create a more productive work environment.  Starting to see a pattern?

We don’t keep talking about our mission because we think it’s good PR or marketing, we talk about it because that is who we are at Office Interiors.  From the corner office to the warehouse to the reception desk to the sales team’s bullpen, we are passionate about creating more productive work environments.  

One example that really drove this passion home for me was how open everyone was to a change I recently made to my work schedule.  I have always enjoyed working for Office Interiors, we have a great team here and we get to work on some pretty exciting projects but every night I dreaded the moment my alarm would go off and I would have to trudge off to work.  Why might you ask?

 Because.  I.  Hate.  Mornings.  I am cranky and tired and just making it to my desk in the morning is an accomplishment.  For me, trying to read a spreadsheet of last week’s analytics or create a new advertisement feels like a monumental task at 8 am.   I tried coffee, I tried going to bed earlier, but nothing worked.  

Finally, I settled on the idea of an adjusted workday; instead of coming into the office first thing in the morning, I would come in a few hours later and leave a few hours later in the evening.  I was nervous to be perceived as “just wanting to sleep in and slack off” but when I ran the idea by my supervisor he was completely supportive.  

I am now more motivated, energetic and productive than ever before (I’m actually writing this post at 7 pm on a Friday).  I now accomplish more each day than I ever have before simply because the culture here at Office Interiors was supportive of an outside the box solution to creating a more productive work environment for myself.

While you may not be able to relate directly to my story, I hope the message still rings true.  Here at OI, our goal isn’t to sell you a desk or a chair or a copier, it’s to find the solution that helps you create a more productive work environment for yourself and your team.  Together, we can make going to work more enjoyable… and productive.

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
Office Interiors


August 31, 2015

Today’s post is meant to reflect the distinct reality necessary when expressing values inherent to a modern Templar code.  Nevertheless this is no game, but rather a serious enrolment of dedication towards electing what one might share, and truly take pride in.

Alphabets of conduct:

Accomplish                                 Named
Beyond                                       Opportunities
Challenges                                  Provide
Deliver                                        Quest
Excitement                                  Reveal
Fulfil                                            Solutions
Goals                                          Thrill
Honour                                        Uniform
Invest                                          Victories
Joy                                              Wins
Key                                             X-ray
Landed                                         Your
Managed                                      Zone

Embrace every second of wise success you earn, because something earned will always be something deserved.

Roger Bouchard
Account manager – Imaging
Office Interiors

What did we do before the Cell Phone?

June 11, 2015

As far as I can remember we used to talk, read the newspaper, read labels on bottles, and believe it or not we could wait for things with a civil level of patience, but not anymore.  Today, we are obsessed with instant everything.  Be it instant rice or instant answers to questions we seem to need everything immediately, so thank goodness for Google or we could face the threat of being unfriended or blocked or some other horrible social media-driven punishment.

Professionally I believe the cell phone has made us far more efficient.  The fact that our desk is pretty much at any spot where we are currently standing allows us to be very flexible. But this flexibility can lead to unprofessional practices such as tweeting, texting, or simply reading emails at inappropriate times. I work with a couple of people who almost dive over the furniture when they see that red light flash or hear the notification that there might be someone on the other end who has that ever-elusive million-dollar PO… but will only award it to you if you answer their email NOW. Overall, however, I think Cell Phone has been good for business folk worldwide.

On the family level, the cell phone brings so many benefits such as the ability to receive that text to pick up milk or can you e-transfer some money so that I can buy that dress that is now on sale.  The cell phone unfortunately carries a higher level of importance than the family dog and in some circumstances, it feels like it is more important than oxygen.  A recent family trip to New York City proved that to me when one of my teenage daughters lost her cell phone only six hours into our trip.  She left it behind in a yellow cab and, yes, for 5 days every one of the 10,000 yellow cabs that we saw was the one who had her phone.  Short of contacting the pope for assistance we did what we could to find it but it was to no avail, so minutes after landing back home we were sprinting to the nearest phone store.  As you might imagine after that disaster was settled, the first thing I did was take a big breath and hug our dog.

In closing, I will give the cell phone two thumbs up for what it does for us today.  I can only hope that people will be responsible and not text and drive or use it as a tool to pick on their fellow student who wears those funny glasses but actually use it as the flexible communication tool that it was intended to be.  I have to go now because someone is tweeting me!!

Jeff O’Grady
Senior Director of Business Development
Office Interiors

The One Simple Rule of Great Customer Service

April 8, 2015

It is funny how time flies. I cover Cape Breton Island as an Account manager for Office Interiors and have been in this position with a couple of different companies since 1982. Last week I was driving to Inverness and Cheticamp and one of my stops was at an account that I have dealt with for over 30 years.  Now, when you think about it, that can either seem like a long time or a really long time!  After meeting with the client, I started thinking about how many other customers I have been dealing with for that length of time and was surprised to realize that there are actually quite a few.  From Sydney to Port Hawkesbury, to Cheticamp, I had them in every corner of Cape Breton.

Why, I thought, did these customers continue to do business with me and the companies I have worked for?  What was the common thread?  Was it me?  Was it the product?  Was it excellent service?  Of course, I would like to think it was all because of me, and although that is a part of it, it is actually a combination of all of the above and more.

I grew up in PEI with a very loving (but strict) mother who was constantly encouraging us to do better, be honest, do the right thing, and so on.  She always had these little gems of wisdom when we were growing up: don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself; half the job is starting; the sooner you start, the sooner you finish, etc.  We all have heard them, and I think they guide us through life.  One of my mother’s sayings would have more impact on me than any other though.  It was simply: Treat people like you want to be treated.  What a simple concept, and yet I think it has been a big part of my success.  I know that I have always had great products and have worked with some of the best service techs in the industry, but more than anything else, I feel that I have lived by that simple rule that my mother taught me many years ago!  I treat my customers like I would l like to be treated: Honestly, sincerely and with respect.

Whether in your personal life or in business, if you make your decisions by this simple rule, you will seldom go wrong.  It has worked out pretty well for me!

Darren Sorrey
Account Manager – Imaging
Office Interiors

In Business, as in Life, Right-sizing is the Best Option

March 25, 2015

I was recently talking to my uncle about his frustrations with shovelling during this terrible winter we have had in Nova Scotia.  Shovelling is not exactly his forte, and he claimed there were 100 things he would rather do than a shovel.  I threw it out as a joke that since his now adult children have been moved out for some time, he should downsize from his large house to a condo, not only to save money but also to avoid the fun chore of shovelling.

He paused for a second, laughed, and said that’s actually not a bad idea.

This conversation reminded me of what I do each and every day with my clients; to try and find the best solution fit for their mailing needs.  It is no secret that over the past decade, the mail is on the decline.  That said, it is here to stay and will be around forever.  Many of my clients today have large mailing systems that at one time made sense for them to have as they had a high mail volume, but over the years with mailing slowing, it may no longer be the right fit for today.  What I would suggest to these clients is to “right-size” their mailing system (oftentimes, this means a device rated for a smaller volume of mail, however sometimes it still can mean going larger).  This is a win-win for the client as they are now using a machine that meets their current needs and there is typically a cost savings associated with downsizing to a smaller unit.

Give me a call or send me an email today – I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss what would be best for your business.

Andrew Chisholm
Account Manager – Imaging

Business, Hockey, and Faith in the Handshake

March 11, 2015

When I was growing up in Sackville I spent every winter on the ice and played ball hockey throughout the spring and summer.  At the time, hockey just seemed like a great pastime, but I am now able to see that it played a key role in creating the person I am today.  In fact, it has had such an impact on me that I now coach my two sons in the same Minor Hockey system that I grew up in.  Hockey taught me, and I am now trying to teach my players,  how to have fun, how to win and lose, how to work as a team and the importance of respecting your teammates and your opponents.

As I entered the business world, I sought an organization that shared these beliefs.  I believe that local business owners want to purchase from someone they can trust and respect; someone that stands behind their products, service, and most of all…their word.  I still believe that a firm handshake and your word go a long way in the business world.  It took a few twists and turns but four years ago I became part of an organization where I feel my values are shared along every step of the organizational chart.  We are a local company run by local owners to provide the best products and services available to small, medium and large businesses.

After 20 years of searching, I finally feel as though I have found a home, so the next time you are looking for information on office equipment, office furniture, or document management solutions please give us a call, you won’t be disappointed.


Michael Burns
Senior  Account Manager – Technology
Office Interiors

Can office space itself be a portal for significant change?

March 5, 2015

Employees are every company’s largest resource by far, and employee engagement is the key to innovation.  And yet recent studies tell us that more than 70 percent of the workforce either hates their jobs or are just going through the motions.  And half of all office space is wasted. That is a scary reality, and it is leading forward thinking organizations into change.  Where does this employee disengagement originate, and how do we find strategies to turn the workplace instead into a landscape of innovation?

Perhaps the real question . . . can a business change its culture? How does a company even approach what seems like an impossible task, to change a culture that is so firmly entrenched.  We at Office Interiors are strong believers that space itself can absolutely lead to an engaging workplace where employees can reconnect with the work, and with each other.  It is what we live every day.

Change Your Space, Change Your Culture: How Engaging Workspaces Lead to Transformation and Growth is a guide to transforming business by rethinking the workplace. Written by Rex Miller, Mabel Casey and Mark Konchar, a team of trail-blazing leaders, this book reveals the secrets of companies that discovered the power of culture and space. This insightful guide reveals what companies lose by viewing office space as something to manage or minimize. With practical tips and implementation details, the book helps the reader see that the workspace is, in fact, a crucial driver of productivity and morale.

Check out this book to read about how much our environment can inspire us, and how to make that happen!

Sandy Hachey
Senior Account Manager – Furniture
Office Interiors

Quality or Quantity? What to chase as a Sales Professional?

January 19, 2015

As a sales leader, I am often besieged by my direct reports about the number of calls/appointments/activities they are expected to complete on a daily/weekly basis. I have even read sales playbooks that outline exact metrics, as well as lively debate in a group on LinkedIn.

The number is too high, the number is unrealistic, is all I want that “number” or do I want “real” data/activities? The real question salespeople are asking is “Do you want quality or do you want quantity?”

My answer has always been the same – “Yes!”

The issue should not be how many, it should be how many done well. I want quality and I want quantity, in fact, I require them both. What has always perplexed me is why salespeople tend to look at this as an “either/or” problem while I look at it as the perfect “and” situation, since quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive.

Activities do drive results, no one can argue that. For sales to happen, salespeople have to do something and calling on clients is one of those things. Better quality activities will drive better results, I think it is equally difficult to argue against this point also.

Think of sales calls as golf strokes (there will have to be a separate blog post on this idea soon), the fewer the number of calls to get the sale the better your score. Why? Because better calls mean that salespeople can make more calls with more clients selling more dollars and making more commissions. Quality should never replace quantity, it should magnify it!

How many sales calls are needed to close a sale? More than one? Less than five? There are a lot of variables, I’m interested to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave a comment.

Ralph Bastarache
VP of Major Accounts (NB/PEI)
Office Interiors

No Excuses – More Customers

July 25, 2012

In April, I attended a sports coaching clinic and one of the speakers was Jim Barker who recently took over as General Manager for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Jim is very passionate individual, with a keen focus on excellence, which perhaps is not surprising given that his profession involves coaching or managing professional sports teams where winning is expected.

While Jim told many stories, one item in his talk that hit home with me was his philosophy in running an organization, that is the philosophy of “No Excuses”. In the teams that he runs, whether your role is a player, administration person, coach, marketing person, trainer, assistant, or the person that cleans the stadium after the game, excuses are not an option. While it may sound a bit harsh, very black and white, in many ways it is refreshing as it removes that fall back which is to explain away why something didn’t happen as it should. For some reason we feel that if we explain the problem away, it is actually okay. Wrong!

From a customer’s perspective, the expectation is to receive what was promised in terms of quality, accuracy, timeliness, communication and a host of other related items that form part of the sale. The last thing they want to hear is “it didn’t happen because…..” Customers have their own issues to deal with and frankly don’t need our excuses which adds to their list of problems. While there will always be issues to resolve, find solutions proactively so that you can “Wow” your customer.  Adopt the “No Excuses” philosophy and find ways to deliver on what you promise. If you do this, you will not only retain existing customers but will attract new ones. Food for thought!

Keith Skiffington
Chief Operating Officer
Office Interiors


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