The National Painter's Day (NPD) was first held 10 years ago to appreciate all painters for their service. What started as a pilot project is now expanding beyond Dutch borders, led by the true star behind this initiative, Paul Verheul, the sales manager for SIGMA COATINGS™ Netherlands.
"It's in Our DNA!"
10 years ago, the first ever National Painter’s Day took place. Since then, it has been held on the first Wednesday of April, as a thank you to painters and the service they are providing.
"The painter is working outside every day, in any weather. It's not always a pleasant job."
April is the time of the year when the painters start a new season outdoors after a hard winter. They have a lot of work to do, but the improving weather has a positive impact on them. The NPD celebrates this special time.
It's in our DNA. We want to be friends of the painters. We treat them with attention when they come to our stores, but we also have salespeople who go and visit the painters who don't enter our stores.
Building bonds and friendly relationships with all painters is one of Paul's main beliefs and missions. "We know when his birthday is. We know how his wife is doing. If he's ill, we show compassion. These details make all the difference."
These very good relationships with customers are what makes Paul and his team stand out among the competition.
Forming Bonds Among Colleagues and Customers
NPD is a chance not only to get in close touch with the customer base, but also for the whole PPG team to gather up and see each other outside of the usual workplace. However, before that part is reached, much organizing must be done.
The smiles of the painters we talk to during the day, and the smiles of the colleagues who are texting me in the evening, feeling enthusiastic and charged with energy, all that makes our effort worth it.
What started as a small pilot project in the Netherlands is now getting more and more media attention, and growing even beyond Dutch borders, as the team in Belgium also recently held their own National Painter's Day. And other European countries are following en suite. This year's NPD will be taking place on the 5th of April in the Netherlands and on the 19th in Belgium.
The added value of NPD isn't just the fact that the days after the event, a huge influx of new customers is seen. "It's also about the bonding between colleagues that have no contact with painters in their daily job, yet on this day, these two groups of people come in contact, become aware of each other and learn from each other."
Making the World Beautiful Day After Day
Paul Verheul has been with PPG for almost three decades now. After finishing his chemistry studies, he started in the R&D technical lab in Amsterdam. Before joining the Sigma Coatings team, he worked for BRANDER™ for 16 years.
He handles the complete Dutch trade brands, which include Sigma Coatings, GLIDDEN™ and PRO GOLD™. Paul leads a team of roughly 150 people across the Netherlands, 50 of whom are field salespeople.
His friendly and energetic personality also translates into Paul's day-to-day job. Paul's way of working is centered around keeping his team engaged and happy. "They must like coming to work. They must know what their mission is, that keeps them motivated and purposeful."
And the mission of Sigma Coatings? To make the Netherlands a little bit more beautiful every day. This is the reason why Paul keeps highlighting the importance of a friendly atmosphere in any store. "No one wants to enter if the vendors are not friendly." The sellers not only help the painters by giving them the best quality paint, but also by showing them that they are welcome to the PPG family.
When it comes to his actual family, Paul's main incentives are his 3 beloved daughters. Both him and his children have a passion for soccer, and Paul is even actively coaching his daughters in the sport.
Together with his life partner, Paul loves to ski and ride a boat toward his favorite little island in the middle of the lake. “That's what recharges my batteries whenever I need it.”