Naina Patel – Retail Account Manager
This month we sat down with Naina Patel, shining a light on an impressive 30+ year career with Phillips 66 Limited.
From aviation to events and now an integral part of the sales team – Naina explains the importance of positive energy and how strong, trusted relationships sit at the heart of the JET brand.
Tell us about your career, to date, with Phillips 66 Limited.
I joined in 1992 from a company called Matrix Churchill. I started off in safety, health and environmental affairs and then worked in aviation. From there I moved to the brand team and ended up doing events. I did one, which seemed to go well, and I ended up doing all of them! When my current role came up five years ago – I jumped at the chance. I wanted a ‘front line’ role and had always wanted to be a part of the sales team – and I love it! I’m a great believer in putting positive energy out there – and it’s gratifying to see the impact I can have on our customers’ businesses – helping them to see the bigger picture and ultimately driving success.
Talk us through a typical working day/week.
I’m sure everyone says this – but there really is no such thing as a typical week! Having said that, the week always kicks off with a Monday morning team meeting. Graham (Retail Sales Manager) gives us an overview and update and then it’s over to us to look after our existing customers whilst nurturing our prospects to grow our portfolio of sites. Graham likes us to be out there, to be present and visible – on the ground, building those relationships and offering the best service and support. And it works! This role is all about relationships and trust and I think it’s what sets us apart and a big part of what the JET brand is getting known for in the industry.
Some weeks there will be some general queries/issues to deal with (for which we get great support from head office) and then it’s on the road. I cover East Anglia and the East Midlands and have 25 sites and 19 dealers. There’s quite a lot of ground to cover – so will typically be on the road 3-4 days.
What elements of your job do you most enjoy and which pose the biggest challenges?
I love being involved with a site that is doing a renovation. I have one in Rochford that is having a refurbishment – and I’ve just had it confirmed that they will be one of my first sites getting JET CHARGE, which I’m so excited about! I love it when a plan comes together and seeing a site transform and having happy customers is very very satisfying. Looking at a site and thinking ‘I had something to do with that’, that’s great.
The hard part is going to a prospect and struggling to even speak to the dealer – but I guess that’s part and parcel of being in sales. Having said that – I can be pretty tenacious!
We are seeing a trend of dealerships moving over to JET
I think our new image helps, plus there are a lot of relationships that have been managed and cultivated over a number of years that are beginning to break through. We also genuinely value our dealers and we offer a great service. My customers can call me whenever they need to – and that’s the attitude across the whole sales team. It’s a reputation that’s getting out there.
What advice would you give to your 20-year old self?
Go and travel the world! But seriously, I would say – aim high and don’t limit yourself. If you really want it, make it happen and always try to take something positive from an experience.
Tell us something about you we don’t know.
I’ve started Yoga – it’s tiny tentative steps – but it feels good. I’m trying to be open and focus on mindfulness. It’s definitely the start of a journey!
Give us three words that sum up the attributes you need to fulfil your role.
Tenacity, openness and transparency.