Ever since I was a youth, I have studied business leaders and companies that are making an impact in the world around them. I was raised by parents who were actively involved in both business and ministry activities, and were Entrepreneurs. My Entrepreneurial spirit was born, which ultimately drew me to pursue two business degrees including my MBA. I have always seen myself as a businessman (first) who had a knack for technology (second), not the other way around.
When major life events occur, it is very normal to assess and evaluate various aspects of life and rationalize what should stay, and what should change. This is part of the journey I’ve walked through the last eighteen months, since my wife and I lost our two year old son, Carson. Taking time off work, I was able to meditate, pray, and study the things I am most passionate about. Stepping away is incredibly helpful for soul searching, and led me to make a number of personal and professional evaluations and changes. I was seriously considering my life aspirations, what I wanted to be doing 5-10 years from now, and the path that I was headed down to get there. The seed was planted, “What would it look like if I transitioned from a Technical role to a Sales role?”
I pressed in, and being a perpetual student and lifelong learner, I read, listened and watched anything I could get my hands on. A month ago we had our son, Asher, and I had three weeks away from work on paternity leave. The thought kept coming back to me, to the point that I felt it was confirmation of the direction I was considering. When I came back to work two weeks ago, I had a conversation with our CEO, who was incredibly supportive, and we are now putting a transition plan into place.
It’s official, I’m going into Sales!
My decision to move in this direction was shaped by a number of great resources. In his book, EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey writes about how the Entrepreneur Leader (“EntreLeader”) approaches sales:
“An EntreLeader makes sure he loves his product and loves his customer and wants to see them married. Doing so removes the frenetic attention to the transaction just for the sake of money, and the EntreLeader sees business as more relational than transactional. We serve, we don’t sell, but in order to serve well we have to be intelligent and intentional about the process that humans go through in order to buy. So whether you are trying to get a date, persuade your children to get good grades, or do a business deal for money, approach the process with the good of the other person in mind. When you use that approach you will become a servant-seller and will get customers for life.”
Recognizing how much sales is part of every day life, I am excited to be given an opportunity to focus on these areas of my personal and professional growth. Sales is also incredibly relational, and the transaction is the result of established trust. This gives me great confidence in my ability to be successful as I care deeply about people and making an impact through relationships and technology. I love what we do, the value we provide in the industry, and serving customers who are ready to change their organizations through tactical and strategic technology decisions. Moving into this role gives me an opportunity to fulfill my aspirations to build a business through sales.
Strategic Business Advisor
The role I am entering into will put me in a position of being the quarterback and primary client representative of our company’s culture, mission, and values. Many have used the term ambassador or sherpa to describe this role, guiding clients to their destination. Some aspects of my daily duties will change, but several things will remain. I will continue to strive to become a trusted advisor for my customers, to keep them abreast of the market trends and how technology solutions can enable them to achieve their strategic business initiatives and deliver value to their stakeholders. My value to my clients will come in my ability to make them incredibly successful in accomplishing their goals, objectives, and meeting business requirements, through each technology purchase. I will continue to stay informed and close to the technology, to providing valuable insights throughout the entire sales process. I am confident that my technical background will become increasingly valuable to my clients as I consult with them as their Strategic Business Advisor.
Leaving my Comfort Zone
A couple years ago, a good friend Ruben Spruijt used this graphic to describe a similar career decision that he had made. I have been thinking a lot about this and am excited because I know that this new role will take me out of my comfort zone, moving me in a direction of where the magic happens.
Thank you for reading, and for my friends and family for supporting me in taking a giant leap in my career! One small step for man.