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Drawing on 93 years of GS&M business and employing the Camp Shelby selling and installation experience, Weddington agreed to an HVACR Distribution Business interview.

HVACR: How were you able to acquire such a large government contract?

GS&M: The answer can be summed up in a few words. For 93 years, our family philosophy has been, “Treat Your Customers Just as You Would Like to Be Treated.” You can never go wrong with this principle. With Camp Shelby, our customer needed a system that could be installed quickly with no ducts, one that was quiet and energy-efficient. Don't ever allow yourself to be satisfied with the “one-system-fits-all” attitude.

HVACR: What can other distributors learn from your experience?

GS&M: There was nothing special that we delivered for Camp Shelby that couldn't be duplicated in Hartford, Peoria, Houston or Seattle. Listen to your customer's problem and give him or her a system that provides the best solution. I've always found that my most successful selling comes from giving my clients an honest test ride. Go the extra mile to demonstrate how your recommended system really works in their own space.

HVACR: A lot of my readers shy away from government contracts. What are your thoughts on this matter?

GS&M: By faithfully leading with our family philosophy, government contracts, even school districts have never been a problem; in fact, we welcome their challenges. Sure, you often have to be more patient, perhaps even more creative, but the payoffs can be huge and very satisfying. Often, as with Camp Shelby, repeat business keeps pouring in. Like David and Goliath, tell your readers there is nothing to fear: Run into these “battles”! The one thing I would caution, however, is to be prepared to adjust your cash flow for a longer payback period.

HVACR: Please share with my readers your keys to an HVACR distributor's success.

GS&M: Sure. Here are some good rules you might wish to live by. They have certainly worked for me and my business:

  • If something is wrong, make it right.
  • Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • Do the right thing.
  • Make time for people.
  • Make a difference.
  • Do more than is expected.
  • Improve someone's life.
  • Persevere.
  • One of the most important things in life is attitude.

“We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we take into that day. There are many factors in life that we can't change or control, but the one thing we can control is how we react to life's situations,” Weddington concluded.

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