Positive attitude guides Charlie's career

Positive attitude guides Charlie's career

Machinery
McIntosh & Son Katanning precision farming products salesman Charlie Pellant is transitioning into a career with the company. "There's plenty of opportunities in this industry to succeed," he said.

McIntosh & Son Katanning precision farming products salesman Charlie Pellant is transitioning into a career with the company. "There's plenty of opportunities in this industry to succeed," he said.

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McIntosh & Son Katanning precision farming products salesman Charlie Pellant maintains a positive attitude in his ag career.

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PEOPLE call it karma, fate or being in the right place at the right time.

But McIntosh & Son Katanning precision farming products salesman Charlie Pellant likes to think of it as maintaining a positive attitude.

And that obviously struck the company's southern branches dealer principal Devon Gilmour, who approached the now 27-year-old Charlie last year, to join the Katanning branch.

"I had a five-year history in the retail sales industry and was treading water, so to speak," Mr Pellant said.

"Devon approached me about a career and asked me what I wanted to do and I automatically thought about sales.

"At that time I was selling Telstra contracts and while it wasn't exactly what I wanted, my goal was to make it a positive experience.

"I've always tried to maintain a positive attitude to life and it's all about self-talk and being confident and positive with customers."

That wasn't always the case, as Mr Pellant left school after year 12 with no real career direction in mind.

He was born in Perth but moved to the country when his parents, who work in the health industry, made a lifestyle move to Katanning and purchased a hobby block between Broomehill and Tambellup.

"I went to Tambellup Primary School then Albany High School where I left after Year 12," Mr Pellant said.

"I was happy with my grades but I really didn't have any particular job in mind.

"My first job was at the local abattoir and I stayed there for six months before I went back to Perth where I mostly did labouring jobs."

Mr Pellant returned to Katanning after a phone call from his parents alerted him to a job opportunity at Betta Home Living, which sold furniture and electrical goods and also was a Telstra dealer.

"I did sales and worked on the Telstra side a bit handling contracts," Charlie said.

"I wasn't really happy so I thought about looking for a trade and tried painting.

"I loved that to bits but it wasn't good pay and I did a bit of work at the local hardware store on Saturday mornings to make ends meet."

Then his old boss at Betta Home Living told him about a job coming up and suggested Charlie "go for it", saying he he needed somebody to handle the Telstra contracts.

So Mr Pellant returned to the business.

That experience lasted four months before his meeting with Devon.

"Now I'm transitioning into a dedicated salesman for precision farming products," Mr Pellant said.

"It's a huge challenge for me because I'm relatively unknown in the market and farmers want to buy from somebody they know, trust and respect.

"But I'm up for it and while I'm on a fast learning curve, it's an exciting lifestyle and you meet a lot of people in a lot of different districts and you're always learning.

"I like the hands-on approach so I'm really interested in speaking with farmers to grow relationships to learn how they want to use the equipment I'm selling, on their farm.

"I take the viewpoint that if I don't understand why a farmer is using a particular product, I can't sell him what he needs," he said.

"That remains the biggest challenge for me but this is an industry where you meet great people who are happy to help.

"I ask a lot of questions and nobody has told me yet 'that's a dumb question'.

"I really respect people for that and I learn just as much from them as I do with in-house training."

The latter mainly involves on-the-job "knowledge gathering" from senior staff.

Mr Pellant sees an exciting career in the farm mechanisation industry with precision farming playing an increasingly important role in farm management practices.

"I think more conversations need to happen around precision farming," he said.

"It is true you need to spend money, but it's an investment to make money.

"I see my job as helping to explore options with farmers and assess where money can be saved and made with good planning.

"Precision farming shouldn't be seen as an afterthought or an add-on and while I'm in the after-market game, I'm keen to discuss future needs as well as providing upgrades for current practices.

"If I can help a farmer move in a direction that's positive for him, then I think I'm doing my job."

In terms of his career, Mr Pellant is adamant that young people should not be put off by "all the technology".

"You really don't need tertiary education, per se and it is a reality these days that you can start at the bottom and work your way up to management roles," he said.

"The opportunities don't just exist in sales at the dealership with options such as technicians, parts interpreters and administration roles."

McIntosh & Son's new administration and parts wing at the Katanning branch also sends a strong message about the future of agriculture.

"The company has made a huge investment which emphasises their commitment to be here for the future," Mr Pellant said.

"Working in the new administration wing with your own office really provides you with positive energy and customers appreciate our professional attitude to business."

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