The story of Stephanie
“It’s about believing in our products and selling that belief, rather than focusing on how much seed can we sell.”
Stephanie Knight doesn’t just sell seeds, she nurtures relationships. A background in Agricultural Science and an early career in viticulture and processing meant that sales came naturally to her when she joined Rijk Zwaan as the area representative for Tasmania and Victoria in 2006. Stephanie is also the Brassica Specialist for Australia.
Selling a belief
I was working as an agronomist for a processor when the role with Rijk Zwaan role popped up. I didn’t think I could do sales but I discovered really quickly that our job is about relationships, knowing your product and making the grower feel comfortable. It’s about believing in our products and selling that belief, rather than focusing on how much seed can we sell.
I love being out on the road. I’m quite social and I like to have a joke and connect with my clients personally. A highlight of my day is when a grower calls me, and it could be at all hours of the day or night, to tell me that a variety is performing well. That’s so important because it’s not us taking the product to them, it’s them coming to us. It’s never the same day, there is always something new to do and you can push yourself out of your comfort zone, going into crops that you don’t know that well. I don’t think you ever stop learning in this company.
Seeing things to fruition
There’s a real sense of pride in what we do. Iceberg variety Toscanas RZ, which is now the market standard in the growing area of Werribee (west of Melbourne, Victoria), began as nothing. We started with a few trials with one grower and it took years and years and years to establish the variety. I saw this process through right from the start and to think I was involved in that is pretty cool.
Changing perceptions for future generations
I’m really passionate about my work and it’s not a chore going to work, it makes me happy. Having two kids of my own now, I think a lot about future generations and how we can be healthier as a company and a country. It’s nice to be selling something that is healthy and tastes good and hopefully we can change people’s perceptions as well.