Portland native Tara Halligan started her career in sales with Worldwide Express’ Pacific Northwest group in early 2013, and it’s been a blur of activity ever since. She started as an account manager at the Portland office, then moved to the office in Boise, Idaho, where she worked for nine months.
Next stop: Billings, Montana, which is part of the same sales territory as Boise.
“I’m solo out here, while managing our customers that we previously had in Montana, traveling back to Boise, and then I’m also selling to new customers,” Halligan says.
The 28-year-old graduated from Western Oregon University in 2009 with a health and human biology degree, and then worked as a phlebotomist for a clinical laboratory, dealing with pathology and blood collection.
What attracted her to Worldwide Express was the training program, she says.
“It seemed like there was endless opportunities, and I saw room to grow,” she says. “I just jumped all over that opportunity.”
Halligan, at right in the photo above, calls the move from science to shipping “a large adjustment.”
“I was used to working with very science-minded people,” she says. “Then to switch from that to working with high-strung salespeople was quite different. Completely different personalities … but I easily adapt to either. I cheered in college and I cheered throughout high school, so I think I had that social aspect to me.”
Here’s more from her about life and work in Montana:
My adjustment to Montana: “I moved to Boise in the summertime — 120-degree heat, which was terrible. And then I decided to move to Montana in the middle of winter: negative-18 and 7 feet of snow. So I just have the worst timing. When I first got here, I’m out cold calling in heels and a suit. And I walk in and people are wearing snowboarding gear everywhere you go. Business owners, I mean everyone. That’s just normal business attire here, because people are dressing for the weather, not necessarily for the business. … I traded in the stilettos for cold-calling boots.”
My first sales call: “It gave me a lot of self-confidence. You’re told what to say. You’ve run through multiple scenarios. You run through it at basic training, you run through it with your manager a couple times. And then you have to actually see if you can do it or not. The first time you actually make a sale and somebody signs paperwork with you, it’s a huge relief. It’s almost like a high. Like, ‘Awesome. OK, that was cool. I want to do that again.’”
On building a sales relationship with clients: “I try and build their trust. I usually do a cost analysis. … And then I’m really up front with projections: What they might anticipate saving, what it’s going to be like to work with Worldwide Express, and that they get me as the bonus. I watch my accounts really carefully, and I take a lot of pride in taking care of everyone here locally. And if they have any questions or concerns, they know that they can reach out to my cellphone.”
The best part of my job: “I really like that I have multiple facets to my job. As a hybrid account manager, I’m not tied to any one responsibility. So if one week I’m really not in the mood to sell, then I focus on retention. I get out in front of existing customers or I make proactive calls into our existing customers. And then sometimes I’m not really feeling like being in an office and making a ton of dials, so I go out there and sell and hit the field. So I really like that I’m not tied to any one part of the job.”
My hobbies and interests: “Mostly exploring. I haven’t been in any one state long enough to necessarily develop great hobbies. Just exploring my area. I am looking forward to renting pontoon boats and tubing in Yellowtail with my boyfriend and my dog Sadie. She is cautious in those settings, but I always drag her along.”
On Sadie’s adjustment to Montana: “We had to get the little doggie booties … because I would lose her, especially in midwinter — January and February. She’d run out there, and I couldn’t even see her, the snow was so tall. And their paws freeze to the ground, so you have to get them the booties. I felt so bad. I had no idea. The first time I let her outside — negative-18 — she came back and actually sat down, like paws up. I was like, ‘Oh my God, are you OK?’ The little icicles form between their pads in their fur. … I had no idea. Bad mom.”