Focus is the best tool in business, according to Baby Perez

With her pretty face, fair skin and shy demeanor, it’s hard to imagine Victoria “Baby” Perez surviving a tough, male-dominated field. An engineering graduate, she practiced in Pila, Laguna, first as an engineer for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and then for her municipality as a planning officer for three years, and municipal engineer for a decade.

Exposed to the elements during onsite visits, she brought an umbrella to shield herself from the sun, and conquered her fear of heights by climbing up floors of buildings under construction. As to working with members of the opposite sex, the lady who approved permits and evaluated building proposals says, “Men are easier to talk to. They had respect for me.”

This explains why Baby was a success selling Avon products in her office. Unofficially an “Avon lady” when she sold products to neighbors as a high school student, she did it again on the side when she worked for the NIA and municipio. Whereas others would have thrown in the towel at the thought of selling personal care products to a largely male staff, Baby saw major potential.

“I gave each and every one of them a box of personal care products to buy for themselves or the women in their lives,” she says with a smile. “They could not refuse me!”

Little by little, her sideline was proving to be more lucrative than her regular job. In 1999, Baby opted for early retirement as a government employee and went full-time with Avon.

“Avon offered me an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” she says of the promising career she was to have as an Avon representative.

Soon enough, with an impressive sales record and an improving team she herself trained, Baby proved to be a fearless sales leader. She promoted deserving certified beauty consultants to franchise dealers and opened Avon outlets around Laguna as well as nearby provinces like Cavite and Quezon.

“Getting the company to have me handle a number of branches is also an achievement, but the work doesn’t stop there,” shares Baby. “Even more important is training my recruits. I have to make sure they understood the nature of the business and teach them how they can maximize the Avon opportunity. After all, these are the basics I learned myself that helped me find my way up the company.”

Profits from her branches coupled with her hard work have made her a part of the prestigious General Managers Advisory Council (GMAC). Baby, who qualified for GMAC Volume in 2006, attained GMAC Volume status in 2007 and 2008. A European cruise and a trip to Orlando, Florida, USA, were among her GMAC perks.

While her business continued to thrive from 2009 to 2011, Baby lay low from her regular meetings to care for her husband after his stroke. Once his health was stabilized and a caregiver was hired to assist him, only then did she devote her attention to work.

“Focus on your business. Sell the company, not just its products. When new recruits see Avon as a business and not just for its individual products, they will take better care of it,” she shares when asked what sales leaders can learn from her.

In time, such lessons would aid her in her unbelievable return to GMAC Volume status. Starting from her number 30 spot in August 2012, she jumped to number 10 in September, six in October, and an unbelievable two in GMAC Volume in December. Recognizing the achievement as a team effort, she rewarded her sales staff with a trip to Baguio, while others were treated to lunch, a movie, and dinner.

Indeed, given her amazing comeback, there is little more this sales leader can ask for herself. Maintaining her GMAC status, she says, is her only goal, one that she aims to achieve with her trademark determination, commitment to work, and trust in a Higher Power.

Indeed, the true-blue probinsyana who used to walk the rice fields of Pila has truly come a long way—and is set to go even farther.

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