#2 „Marino & I“: Meet Mr Dimitri – Our veteran sales manager

“Marino and I” – it’s not just a title, but also stories about successful collaborations and the challenges faced by ,,Marino projects” employees. In this interview we met with Dimitri, who is a long-standing and loyal sales manager in “Marino Projects.”

Meet Mr Dimitri, Our Veteran Sales Manager

Dimitri has been working at the company for a full 8.5 years, but was the beginning easy?

Theodore Roosevelt once said:

– “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

Dimitri, who is actually a simple cook by profession without a higher education, believed this as well. One day he decided to try his hand at sales, and although the beginning was tough, he didn’t give up. With gritted teeth, he believed in himself and “broke through.” Currently, Dimitri has been working at the company for a full 8.5 years. Initially, he worked for the German market, later expanding his horizons.

He is a Christian Jehovah’s Witness, and his answer to the question – what are your hobbies, reveals a lot about Dimitri’s values:

– “My grandson is my general and the meaning of life.”

Dimitri’s favorite book is the Bible, and his favorite movie is Vanilla Sky (starring Tom Cruise).
“The movie Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise helps you ponder where your REAL life is – at WORK, or does it start AFTER WORK, or will it start in GOD’S KINGDOM AFTER THE RESURRECTION. It helps check your value scale.”

Dimitri has achieved remarkable success within the company as one of its top salespersons. What is his secret?

There are no secrets. His journey began with his first sale, a moment he vividly remembers, achieved in three months. This experience cultivated in him a deep sense of empathy for newcomers facing similar challenges. In Dimitri’s view, sales is akin to a lottery and a roller coaster ride. He explains:

“You can spend a year building rapport with a customer, only for a colleague at the neighboring table to swoop in at the opportune moment and clinch the deal. Sales can plummet for three months, only to skyrocket with one unexpected order.”

From his experiences, Dimitri imparts two valuable lessons:

Experience 1: Don’t despair or feel envious if your sales take a hit while your colleagues thrive. In six months’ time, the tables may turn. The same fluctuations apply to everyone in the field.
Experience 2: Dimitri recalls a time when a colleague received inquiries from fifty potential clients at the outset, triggering feelings of jealousy and inadequacy within him. However, that colleague’s success was short-lived. Therefore, Dimitri advises remaining composed when colleagues boast about significant orders, as true success is only realized upon receiving payment—not merely through inquiries or commands.

Dimitri’s insights reflect his seasoned perspective on the unpredictability of sales and serve as valuable guidance for navigating its highs and lows.

Navigating Sales Success: Dimitri’s Journey of Faith, Strategy, and Cultural Savvy

In Dimitri’s sales endeavors, his approach is centered around understanding and catering to the needs of customers. He finds success through genuine attention to their requirements, particularly in markets where the company is less established. Despite his personal fondness for self-promotion, Dimitri remains skeptical about the effectiveness of exhibitions and traditional marketing methods.

Dimitri’s faith as a Jehovah’s Witness also plays a role in his sales tactics, enabling him to navigate situations where potential clients may exhibit indifference or objection. He has learned to gracefully handle such interactions without interrupting the conversation or becoming discouraged.

Regarding communication with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, Dimitri and his team excel. Whether dealing with Italians prone to lengthy monologues or Finns who may communicate briefly but bluntly, Dimitri finds no significant challenges. He attributes the success of his team to a fortuitous alignment of skilled individuals, believing them to be one of the best teams he has encountered thus far.

In terms of the largest number of people sent to a single project, the record stands at 80 individuals dispatched to Holland. This achievement underscores Dimitri’s ability to coordinate large-scale efforts and his team’s capability to deliver results even in challenging scenarios.

Balancing Competition and Cooperation: Dimitri’s Insights on Team Dynamics and Sales Innovation

Dimitri evaluates team cooperation with a pragmatic outlook, acknowledging the competitive dynamics even within the company. He is hesitant about offering too much assistance to colleagues, recognizing that they are competitors, albeit within the same organization. He explains:

“While I can provide guidance on the licenses we offer, I’m reluctant to advise my colleagues on circumventing the need for difficult licenses. It’s regrettable, but it’s the reality.”
Despite this stance, Dimitri values harmony and positive relationships within the team more than proving himself right. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace and goodwill to foster successful collaboration, demonstrating wisdom gained from years of experience. Additionally, Dimitri places great significance on the working atmosphere, emphasizing the importance of a conducive environment.

Regarding innovations in sales, Dimitri asserts his confidence in staying ahead of the curve. He simplifies the concept, stating that success requires diligence:

‘‘Stick to a disciplined routine, like clockwork, every day, and sales will follow.”

Funny stories related to work

When asked if he has any interesting or funny stories related to working with international clients, teams or just work, Dimitri even smiled, and believe me there is a reason, because Dimitri has a lot to tell! Here are some of the many stories from around the world:
Singapore: – „Once we sent a huge brigade to Singapore, it was inhumanly hot, +45 degrees… we arrived at the drydock, 19 people came to work in work clothes and twenty – in… shorts. He thought that the other idiots were hot. Even though he was wearing not only shorts, but also a helmet, he immediately quit his job and flew home to Lithuania for half the globe on his own money.“
Malta: – „The homecoming brigade at the airport decided to “repair” their health while saying goodbye to Malta – on the way to the boarding hall, one of our members “greeted” the Maltese policemen. Maybe he said hello in Lithuanian or something – but one of the whole brigade was happily invited by the policemen to the airport isolation ward, he slept there and the next day he bought a ticket home himself…“
Sweden: – „A brigadier, a very good professional, introduced an almost prison system in the brigade, like in the army. He used to wake everyone up at night and teach them to live and smile. The brigade held a meeting, wrote a collective letter to the director: Get this “general president” out of the facility or we will all leave ourselves. There is self-government and democracy in our company.“
Qatar/Arabia: – „workers arrived, settled in a 4-star hotel with meals and sea view in self-isolation. They received SMS confirmations that they can already work. One Ukrainian did not understand the humor that he received an SMS written in “Arabic” (Lithuanian) – and deleted that SMS. Well, he was not allowed to work alone, he sat in self-isolation for another 10 days. For your account.“
Bahamas: – „Our brigade had to work non-stop during Christmas and New Year. For some reason, everyone agreed and was happy?! Hmm, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, a tourist trip to meet the New Year would cost me about €3,000…

You have quite a few examples from different countries. Are there any places you would like to travel to yourself or have already traveled to, and what are your impressions of those places?

– ,,The narrowest point in Europe, Nordkapp, beyond the Arctic Circle. Completely black sky – and white snow / emptiness without people and settlements / at the foot of the mountain +15, driving up the mountain in 10 minutes – frost / silence / the coziness after an hour of driving through the snow in the mountains with dangerous turns – seeing our Lithuanian STATOIL and comfortably eating the same delicious hot dog as in hometown Klaipėda…“
– ,,And when I was in Thailand in February – honestly, after a week, I started to feel a longing for our snowy northern side.“
Finally, what are Dimitri’s plans or dreams that he pursues and teh balance between work and personal life

What are your future plans or dreams that you are pursuing and how do they relate to your professional activities and personal life?

I’m afraid to plan and dream. And if it’s like in Bulgakov’s book THE MASTER AND MARGARITA: there a person left the house planning the day, cheerful. At the same moment, a lady left the house at the other end of town, she was going to buy oil for scrambled eggs. By chance (the Bible says – there is no “destiny” – only coincidences) that lady and that man happened to be in the same street, she tripped, fell, the glass bottle with oil spilled on the tram tracks, that caused the man to slip and fell under the tram and died. So the worst wisdom is to ask yourself every morning: MAYBE THAT LADY IS LEAVING THE HOUSE SOMEWHERE IN KLAIPĖDA WITH AN EMPTY JAR TO BUY OIL – and you are planning your day without suspecting it…

Balance between work and personal life
Well, when Mr. Dimitri was asked what his secret is for maintaining a balance between work and personal life while working in an international company, he replied that he always has valerian tablets in his drawer, he prays, and he often needs to sit down or take a long walk on his way back from work to “let off steam”.