People Prefer Personal Contact - Wacker Chemie AG


People Prefer Personal Contact

He calls it “the big loop”: on Monday morning, Scott Hanus climbs into the vehicle he refers to as his “mobile” sales office and sets out from Houston, crisscrossing Texas and sometimes traveling as far north as Oklahoma City or Memphis, Tennessee. For many people, it’s a route that conjures up images of vacation. But for Hanus, this is business: when he returns home late on Friday, he has fulfilled his mission to create sales opportunities with customers and identify additional potential new business.

Scott Hanus likes to visit customers on site – here he is with a major paper producer.

Hanus covers the southeastern United States as a home office sales manager for the WACKER POLYMERS sales team in Allentown. In addition to Texas, which by itself is twice the size of Germany, Scott’s sales region also includes Colorado, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and southern Florida, among other areas. He used to fly to Oregon and Washington as well, but most customers in the northwest have relocated their businesses elsewhere.

Hanus began working for Air Products in 1985, and came to WACKER in 2008 when WACKER acquired its polymers division. A lot has changed since he first started: “Used to be you closed a deal with a handshake,” he recalls. It’s still like that with some customers, since true Texans are averse to any form of bureaucracy. Personal responsibility and independence, on the other hand, are considered paramount – after all, Texas isn’t called the “Lone Star State” (a reference to the state flag) for nothing. Residents commonly refer to their state as “The Loner.”

Hanus is a bit of a loner himself when he travels from customer to customer. Last year he logged over 44,000 miles (70,000 kilometers) on the road for business – even more by air – and he doesn’t keep track of his hours. “A lot of times we’ll talk about our personal lives for 55 minutes and then close the deal in a lot less time,” Hanus says. “That’s how it is in Texas. People want to get to know you.”

But Hanus, a lifelong salesman, knows how to do business in other ways too. On the east coast, where business relations are conducted on a less personal note, he adjusts his speech patterns and can even work well with the customer who puts an egg timer on the desk and says, “You have exactly ten minutes.” That’s when his versatile background pays off: Hanus isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool Texan – he’s a Midwesterner who grew up in Minnesota.

Compensating for his business trips are the days spent at his home office on the second floor of the house where he and his wife Kim raised their two daughters. From here he keeps in contact with Allentown. He’s pleased that after it was acquired by WACKER, the company has focused on chemistry and on developing ideas like new technology for paper mills. “We’re an awesome team with a lot of talented, dedicated colleagues,” he says.

Hanus also enjoys personal travel, such as an upcoming trip to Asia and trips to Europe, where one of his daughters lives. But Texas is still his home. Is it true that everybody there wears cowboy boots and a Stetson? Hanus laughs and responds diplomatically: “You can if you want to.”