Our Fast, Focused Closer of Diverse Deals

Supplier Business Ⅱ
Miwa Okabayashi
Retail Market
Tokyo Department I

Describe your role and job responsibilities.

In a nutshell, I hammer out leasing deals by working closely with the sales managers of equipment suppliers.

I first go over leasing options with the managers then accompany their staff on sales calls. My specialty is distributors of OA equipment, such as multifunction printers, security devices, wireless technology, measuring instruments and other product lines. Since my clients are from many different fields, I have to stay up to snuff on the latest products and keep abreast of industry changes.

Lots of things I have to study on my own, but I’m fortunate that I’m around experienced salespeople who are very generous with their time when it comes to teaching me what I need to know. Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without them! On the other hand, I and other SMFL team members also instruct and hold seminars about the basics of leasing for up-and-coming sales staff at equipment suppliers, so information sharing comes naturally to me.

What are the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of your work?

I like the excitement of multitasking as regards working on different deals at the same time.

Compared to other branches, ours handles many more projects, each with its own unique requirements that seem to constantly change. When visiting suppliers, I often meet with multiple salespersons, all who want to keep their projects moving. Staying current with the details of my projects is important and one of the most demanding aspects of the job.

Speed, too, is vital. Projects can change in a heartbeat: What was supposed to be a cash deal suddenly becomes a leasing deal, or maybe a deal that was expected to be slow in developing abruptly takes off. These unexpected changes are just part of my job, but when they happen I have to act fast. So I absolutely must keep close tabs on my suppliers and try to anticipate their moves. I’ve also got to prioritize well while at the same time share information and coordinate actions with suppliers.

Describe a particularly challenging episode at work.

There are many, but one deal sticks out because the supplier was especially happy in the end.

A lot of our deals move along pretty quickly, but there are some that involve tons of work and never seem to end. And because we work so closely with our suppliers’ sales staff to overcome all the little dramas and get deals done, it’s natural to become emotionally invested sometimes. On one occasion, when one of these especially difficult deals finally came through, the salesperson I had been working with immediately called to let me know the good news. “We closed the deal!” Hearing those words was pure joy because the person sounded genuinely happy.

Someone I Respect

Shunichi Watanabe
IT Business Department

Without a doubt, Mr. Watanabe. He was my supervisor and mentor when I first joined the company. He taught me everything, from how to exchange business cards and answer the phone to dealing with customers and so on.

One thing I’ll never forget is when he corrected the way I handled a supplier whose deal we had to reject. Sometimes our credit analysis makes it clear that we have to walk away from a deal. For this particular case, I was the one who had to inform the supplier of the bad news, and my tone and manner was kind of cold. Mr. Watanabe overheard and told me to lighten up and become more understanding. He said that suppliers work very hard on their sales activities, and that I should show more consideration if I have to inform them we can’t move forward. This was a wakeup call as I learned how to empathize more with others. This is something I always pass on to my younger colleagues.

Private Shot

Hooked on yoga and gyoza!

I started practicing yoga when I had problems with my lower back. I found out that it’s also a fantastic way to deal with stress, so I’ll do a session whenever I’m particularly frazzled or fatigued. I’m also a huge fan of Chinese dumplings (gyoza). This started when a lot of people who joined the company when I did began to meet after work at a gyoza restaurant near the office. Now we’ve formed a club of sorts and regularly eat out at our favorite gyoza shops.

Note:Department names and assigned positions are subject to change.