Golden sales duo: visually impaired David and guide dog Jaycee
In an age where the topic of inclusivity is very much on the boardroom agenda, PSfm is delivering this in practice. Over two years ago we appointed David Zeeman (26), who is visually impaired, to work as a sales representative for Nespresso, the premium coffee brand.
Equipped with the right tools and his trusted guide dog, Jaycee, David is a disarming and a highly effective salesman.
“Sometimes I have customers apologising to me because they didn’t see the button I wear.” said David Zeeman (26) from Emmen, who has become well accustomed to such reactions. The yellow button, with the text ‘I am visually impaired’, that he wears on his chest, informs people of his disability. According to David, there is a sense of humor about it, “Customers think that I can’t help them, but that’s no problem, I like to prove them wrong.”
Diagnoses and early years
David has been visually impaired since his birth. He was diagnosed with tunnel vision at an early age. Tunnel vision is an eye disease where there is peripheral vision loss, it can have a variety of causes and can be temporary or permanent. “For example, I can see your face, but nothing around it. Those are all blind spots,” said David, who expects that the condition will worsen in the coming years.
Growing up, David was frequently subjected to bulling by peers. Initially he did not want anything to do with visual aids such as a cane or a guide dog. Thankfully a lot has changed since then. David now has a guide dog, Jaycee, a beautiful Goldendoodle, who accompanies David to work, and ensures that he no longer stumbles over steps or bumps into things.
Ways of working
“We didn’t have a problem with Jaycee accompanying David to work,” says Customer Satisfaction employee Jenneken Wagenaar. At first Jaycee stayed in the warehouse. If David needed him, he had to be collected from the warehouse first. However, slowly but surely the dog moved closer and closer to David. Jaycee’s bed is now at the Sales Stand, where David works. “It’s going really well”, Wagenaar laughs. “They only get nice comments from customers.”
The two make an excellent team. Jaycee is the perfect icebreaker. “Yes, he does attract customers”, laughs David. “But he doesn’t get too much attention. They often want to pet him, and then of course, coffee is also discussed. Before I know it, they are walking out of the shop with a Nespresso machine.”
This formidable team have proved themselves sales – wise, because David now has a permanent contract. This success has also given him a tremendous confidence boost. “I used to be insecure and shy. But it’s getting better. I also care less about how people look at me. I’ve always had a feeling that I would enjoy sales and I really do enjoy my job.” It is both his sales ability and his unbelievably positive attitude that the coffee brand love.
Taking it one day at a time, David is not sure what the future holds, but for the time being he feels like he is in the right place, and PSfm and Nespresso are showing that diversity in the workplace can be a profitable as well as an enriching experience.
“By the way, what kind of coffee do you drink?
A version of this article was first published here.