On the occasion of an important and successful FAT, we had a chat with Vittorio to get to know him better. Vittorio has been part of Omag’s Sales Team since the end of May 2023 and is responsible for EMEA (French-speaking countries, Africa and the Middle East).
A highly experienced salesman who approaches Omag (and the sea) coming from far more structured backgrounds, managing single multi-million euro projects and multinational clients; what does not change is the sector, that of packaging.
A native of Milan, he then moved to Bologna to work in a major company in the sector, until he arrived in the small town of Gradara.
Name: Vittorio Tonazzi
Lover of good food and being in good company. Passionate about photography and motors.
Vittorio, how many years have you been working in the world of packaging?
All my life. My grandfather founded Tonazzi in 1938, a company in Milan that was involved in the design and construction of tube filling machines. I was practically born and grew up in the company.
With my family I lived on the top floor of the manufacturing plant, so the company was literally home for me. I remember playing ball in the courtyard among the cast iron castings left outside to mature. I grew up surrounded by machinery and it was very natural for me to follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather before him, continuing to work in this industry.
Have you always held the role of a salesman?
No, having in fact grown up in the company it was impossible for me to look and not touch. So I secretly started using first the lathe, then the milling machine… I was also very curious about the assembly workers, I followed and imitated them in their daily activities. By the age of 12 I knew all the parts of the machines by heart and knew which ones they were to be mounted on.
When I finished high school, I started commercial work out of necessity. At that time there was no real sales person in the company.
So my father decided to offer me an experience in the United States to learn the language, which I obviously caught on! After my year there I returned with the specific purpose of opening the company to the American market. In 1996-1997, 25% of sales came from the United States.
Tell us more about your experience with the American market….
I was very young, and often customers, seeing a guy in his early 20s coming in, would start out prejudiced. But I did not demoralize myself; I had a good strategy in mind. First, I let my beard grow to set the tone and a few more years, and then I would not let them go!
I would meet them the first time, the second time, the third time, until I became a familiar face, they took confidence in me and realized that despite my young age I knew the industry well and was attentive to their needs. So I was able to sell the first machine, the customer was satisfied because it worked well, word began to spread, and we all know that a good word of mouth is worth a thousand words spoken by a salesman.
One of the greatest satisfactions for me was selling a machine to a large company that bought one machine from the industry leader and one from us-they became our loyal customers.
How did you come to Omag?
The power of social media! Thanks to a post on Linkedin shared by Giovanni where he said he was looking for an area manager for Omag.
I have known Giovanni Nocita for many years, we were also colleagues in a large company in Bologna and we stayed in touch. In addition, I knew Omag, also Davide Santi, Fiorino Gregori…we often met at different trade shows.
When I saw that they were looking for a sales figure I said «why not?» and decided to call Giovanni to find out more and here I am, 5 days a week in Gradara.
Tell us a little about the markets you follow. Are these markets new to you? Are they active?
Right now I am following Africa, the Middle East, and French-speaking European countries.
I have dealt with some of these areas before, others are totally new to me, but I like it that way.
Some of my areas are developing, so they represent great opportunities that I would like to be able to take advantage of. They definitely require a lot of commitment and work even in establishing ongoing relationships with the various local agents and distributors.
These are markets where you can do a lot but they require time and dedication; in my opinion if you can get on the right track, you can even be among the first, almost «pioneers.»
My goal now is to be able to enter the Saudi Arabian market, perhaps even acquiring a new agent…we will see as we go along.
What are your plans for the coming months?
In November I will be in Dubai for Gulfood Manufactruring, it is my first time at this fair, I am not familiar with it. I will take it as an opportunity to analyze a little bit and see how it goes.
I would like to meet some potential agents or distributors so that we can increase our presence in these areas.
I will then take advantage of the break in events at the end of the year to get current projects in order as much as possible and to outline a good strategy for 2024.
I also have several FATs planned for the coming months and visits to potential customers already scheduled, in addition to the trade shows already on the calendar for next year…let’s just say there’s never a dull moment!