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On Wednesday, Dec 4th, Pi Sigma Epsilon co-hosted with VCU Academy of Selling to hear Dan Kane speak and offer his advice to the sales students at VCU. Mr. Kane briefly went over his background and how he originally graduated college with a degree in Elementary School Education. After awhile he decided he didn’t want to be a school teacher but he still wanted to help others through his career. He then got a job in sales and has never looked back.

Mr. Kane is currently the manager of the sales department at Curbell Plastics in Richmond, Virginia. He has worked for the company for nearly 20 years. Curbell Plastics started as a manufacturing company for large scale pasta distribution, but during the start of World War 2 their production plant started making plastic parts for military airplanes. After the war, the company sold its pasta side of the business and focused on making plane parts.

Following the introductions, Mr. Kane elaborated on how “Sales Manager” tends to carry a negative attitude towards sales people. As a result, Mr. Kane seeks to change this narrative by seeking to become a “Trusted Adviser”.

“Becoming a Trusted Adviser is not a title you can give to yourself.

Instead, it is a title that you should seek your clients to give to you.”

– Dane Kane

His advice to students on how to become a “Trusted Adviser” in the sales industry is to, first, always stick to your code of ethics. For Mr. Kane this is directly associated with the value core principles of Curbell Plastics;  integrity, respect, and learning.

Second, become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in their industry. As a best practice, get to know the client and their business first, guide them to solutions that best serve their needs, and finally build a rapport based on trust. Mr. Kane says his favorite part of working in sales is building positive relationships with others. For example, his clients know up front that he wants to help them succeed in the business world and he is willing to do anything to help.

During a short Q&A, Mr. Kane addressed how the company is facing the environmental and social awareness concerns associated to the consumption and creation of plastic products. Interestingly, Curbell focuses on recycling plastics and has even bought a company who are experts in recycling difficult materials.

Mr. Kane also shared how he has taken on this obstacle and turned it into a key selling opportunity. When talking with new clients, especially those who are concerned about the environment, Mr. Kane utilizes this chance to dive deep into one of the biggest key differentiators Curbell Plastics has over its competitors; its environmental and sustainable practices.

Overall, Mr. Kane’s presentation enlightened his listeners to a new and unique world of industrial selling. People sell products for all different reasons, but Dan Kane sells because he truly cares about helping the people he serves. For Mr. Kane, successful sales managers will always have a solid moral compass, strive to become a trusted adviser to all your clients, and uphold the integrity of their business

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