Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
Classic Erotica sales executive and product educator Nicole McCree has become a recognizable face in the pleasure products biz through her constant travel — which she shares online with her signature #saleschronicles updates — and her dedication to customer service and product education. Although she entered the business with doubts, McCree says she’s since fallen in love with the industry and is passionate about empowering women and strengthening relationships through Classic Erotica’s line of products. In this month’s edition of Women in Adult, we profile McCree as she discusses the versatility of her role.
Being a salesperson is a true lifestyle. You live it and breathe it 24/7.
XBIZ: What is your role and responsibility at Classic Erotica?
Nicole McCree: My formal title is sales executive/product educator but I’ve never been one for titles. I hope my work, and not my title, speaks for itself.
I am responsible for many things. I believe most people think I am only a road warrior who trains at the retail and distributor level, but my job encompasses so much more. I continually have to identify prospective customers and possible leads, correspond with current customers regarding their needs and goals, assist buyers with purchasing the best products for their demographic, emphasize product features and differentiate our products from our competitors,’ negotiate pricing and terms of sales and services, develop strategies to increase sales and improve branding, and maintain positive strong relationships with my customers.
XBIZ: How did you get into the business?
McCree: Great question. I sort of “fell” into this business. I was working at Procter & Gamble for the Clairol brand in NYC for nine years as a market research consultant. When P&G decided to move their facility back to Ohio I didn’t move with them. That left me unemployed in NYC. After a few months of not working a friend told me about an opportunity to work in the “adult industry.” I immediately and emphatically responded, “Hell no!” Why? First, I had no sales background and second I had so many pre-conceived notions about the industry. But after a few more months of still not finding “that job” I came knocking, not really knowing what to expect and still secretly looking for “that job.”
I fell in love five weeks into working in the industry when I attended my first-ever ExpoMark in Miami. I realized that the people in this industry are just as professional and business-savvy as anyone at P&G; they’re just typically more fun and not as stuffy. In addition, the products that we manufacture at Classic Erotica are female-friendly and empowering. My trainings are centered on situations of empowerment where women are usually the focus. I truly feel like I’m helping to strengthen one relationship at a time with our product line, as it’s extremely couples-friendly as well.
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
McCree: There are so many challenges on a daily basis. Being a salesperson is a true lifestyle. You live it and breathe it 24/7 and that was something I had to adjust to as I had a traditional nine-to-five prior to this industry. But the biggest challenge above the lifestyle is working remotely. While I love working remotely I realized I wasn’t “in the mix” with the other vendors and companies in California and elsewhere. This industry is very small and to become one of the “cool kids” means interacting with everyone all the time. It took some time but now I feel like even though I’m on the other side of the country I am a part of the “mix.” It really took me building one relationship at a time with folks I’d see at trainings and meetings and open houses and trade shows. I had to step out of my comfort zone and extend myself and I am happy to say I have been well-received.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
McCree: There are so many rewarding things about my job. I truly love it. But I have to say that it’s working with the best people in the industry. The road to success for me is having a company who implicitly trusts and believes in my capabilities. It feels amazing to have strong leadership and a company who I truly see as family. And it really allows me to flourish.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
McCree: Professionally: “Follow up. Follow up. And follow up again! Did I mention following up?” Personally: “Don’t do anything that isn’t going to make you happy.”
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
McCree: Hmmm ... this was a difficult one as I still feel like I have so much to accomplish. That being said, I did feel humbled and extremely happy when I was nominated by XBIZ for the Brand Ambassador of the Year Exec Award. I was up against so many people who have so many more years on me and have developed so many solid relationships that I didn’t even know people knew who I was! So I feel grateful to even be mentioned among the illustrious list of nominees and that folks recognized the work I do. #saleschronicles.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for the rest of 2016?
McCree: I feel like I can get a better handle on managing my road travel with my “in-house” work while still maintaining a balanced personal life. I am on the road about two to two-and-a-half weeks out of each month. Many times I am training all day long and driving hours between trainings. It makes it difficult, not impossible, but difficult to maintain strong relationships with my customers as well as find time for myself. So my goal is to manage my time more effectively without hindering my work or personal life. I know I can do it.