SRS Distribution, Sacramento, Calif.
Cory Garrison has sold his fair share of interesting products, from uniforms to truck software. Selling inside the LBM industry completely changed his idea of how sales could work and secured his future. “I started selling early on in my career. Inside sales, boiler-room type,” he says. “My brother-in-law managed a supply yard. He told me about an opening. I was floored. Here, I could be a salesperson developing relationships.”
Since then, Garrison has risen through the ranks to area vice president. As a leader at SRS Distribution, he has worked to address two key issues in his company and LBM as a whole: people and technology. “One thing we’re trying to do is more college campus recruiting,” he says. “To sell not just the industry, but the training.” By providing an avenue for new employees to learn the industry from the ground up, Garrison hopes that the new recruits will come to value the relationships in the industry. “What’s really neat about this is we’re constantly learning new things about the markets, the people. Hell, my subordinates are mentoring me on things.”
Garrison is also confronting the challenges with technology head-on, and he knows there’s room for improvement. “We’re horrible at what we’re doing,” he says with a laugh. “That’s a strong word! We’re trying to do things differently, providing a really good e-commerce site. It’s not as sexy as it should be.”
The reason for looking so heavily into new technology isn’t just to benefit current contractors, but the up-and-comers too. Garrison knows those entering the industry today have a different technological expectation, and he’s working to exceed that.