August '18

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20 • RV PRO • August 2018 rv-pro.com Celebrating LE A DING WOMEN in the RV Industr y Sharl Cline, Director of Sales & Marketing, Samlex America Sharl Cline's career path has taken many twist and turns – from the cash register industry to the cruise line travel industry to the RV industry. But the common theme that each of her career choices shared was customer service and sales. "When it comes down to it, you are helping somebody solve whatever problem it may be or whatever want they may have. It's the same no matter what industry they're in," she says. "If you do a good job for your customers, they're going to be sat- isfied and they'll come back." Cline currently serves as the director of sales and marketing for Canada-based Samlex America. Her duties and responsibil- ities include working with manufacturers and big distributors and visiting dealers. Samlex America manufactures and provides solar energy conversion products for a variety of industries, including RV and marine. Cline says her biggest accomplishment has been utilizing the skills she gained in her previous careers to be successful at Samlex. "It's not an easy task but it is tremendously fun," she says. While working in the cash register industry, specializing in the grocery sector, Cline says she learned about electronics and worked both as a reseller and a distributor. Her time in the cruise industry gave her great exposure to the luxury market and helped her understand luxury products and consumers' emotions. "More importantly, it gave me a great understanding of being part of making other people's lifetime memories come true," she says. "Now, being with a manufacturer, I have a respect for each level of business and service, which should be an asset to the RV industry." Indeed, Cline says she has a unique perspective on all fronts. As a youth, she remembers vacationing with her family cross country in an RV. "I understand the end users' point of view, and even though I work for a manufacturer, the endgame is that there are con- sumers using our products," she says. "I understand how our products give a little more freedom to those RVers." By the same token, Cline says, she also understands the task that dealers have in working hard to satisfy customers who may be impatient and want the best product for the lowest price possible. "The one thing I've learned over the years is that business is business and sales is sales," she quips. Cline attributes part of her success to the support from individuals around her. "Early in my career I had a great mentor – a colleague of mine – who really taught me customer service and relation- ships," she recalls, adding that he helped her to see that success in sales was about relationships not selling products. "I didn't want to go into sales because I thought I was going to have to sell my soul. "He made it very friendly and easy for me to do," she adds. The key, Cline says, was understanding the value of a product or service to the customer. "Whatever product or service I was offering was a value to somebody. It wasn't just there for me to make money," she says. "When I took money out of the equation and con- centrated on the relationship … the money didn't matter." After her transition to the RV industry, Cline says that other vendors took her under their wing. "I had some great support coming into this industry," she says. "I am forever grateful to them and their friendships." Furthermore, Cline says she loves the passion and devotion that her team has for the industry and enjoys working with them. Cline's advice to others looking to enter the RV industry, particularly in sales, is to focus on the long-term and be able to change with the times. "Remember, we're trying to provide products that are going to allow friends and families to create great memories," she says. "It's actually a fun industry."

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