Don Kitzmiller was key in building Midmark Corp. from an upstart exam-table and medical furniture company into the market share leader. He created a culture dedicated to distribution, and exemplified energy, enthusiasm and fun in the process. Midmark salespeople were hired for attitude; negativity was not an option.
At Kitzmiller’s urging, Midmark took it upon itself to become a teacher of selling skills to a generation of distributor sales reps. Together with colleague Scott Fanning, Kitzmiller devised creative, challenging and profitable promotions. He championed sometimes outrageous trade show exhibits in an effort to differentiate Midmark from other manufacturers. And he excelled in building long-term relationships with distribution executives around the country.
Don Kitzmiller believed that “you can’t look neat if your shoes look beat, and you can’t look fine if your shoes aren’t shined.” Those who called him on the phone would always be greeted with a “Top of the day, Don Kitzmiller.” Negativity was not an option.
As vice president of sales and marketing for Midmark Corp., Scott Fanning recognized the importance of distributors in helping the company achieve success against long odds in the market. With colleague Don Kitzmiller, he realized that in order to win the support of distributors, Midmark had to differentiate itself from other manufacturers.
Fanning taught selling skills to thousands of distributor reps, bringing intensity, enthusiasm and fun to each session. He taught Midmark – and the industry – the importance of helping distributors look good in front of their customers. Fanning also understood that people buy from people they like, and that people are drawn to fun. It was part of what he called “having the customer at ‘hello.'”
Scott Fanning never said “No” to a customer, and he wrote the book on “owning the relationship” with the people he called on. He was said to have a competitive drive that was second to none, and he passed on his love of gambling – cards, horses, anything at hand, really — to a generation of distributor reps and others in the industry.