When I joined IST Management Services 16 years ago, I left a competitor with a global presence and annual revenues in excess of $4.3 billion. I was a General Manager at IKON Office Solutions (now Ricoh) with responsibility for two (2) divisions; Legal and Facilities Management and had responsibility for 200+ employees with both sales and operations reporting to me. I had a great career and was very successful, but I felt that IKON had lost sight of a critical ingredient to achieving success as an organization. This vital ingredient is to recognize that our employees are our product! Recognizing the contributions and achievements of employees and the teams to which they contribute is critical to any success as a company. The success of our employees means success for all of us.
I received a call from Joe Carroll who discussed IST Management Services and the vision of its founder, President and CEO Hal Blackman. Joe stated Hal came from IKON and recognized that they, along with all of the other outsourcing companies, had lost sight of the employees who are the key to a company’s success. At that moment, I knew that we had our first connection. I accepted the interview and spent the day touring IST sites where I was able to meet the wonderful people of IST, see the cutting edge technology and processes in place (something no other competitor had) and interviewing with executive team members, with a final interview with IST’s visionary. Simply stated, I was blown away by the great company and culture Hal and his team had built. By the time I landed in New York, I had a written offer to join IST and the rest, as they say, is history and what was to be the best career move I have ever made.
Over my career, I’ve realized that my employees have been my lifeline. To put it plainly, they are the key to my success as a Sales and Operations Professional. What I’ve learned at IST over the past 16 years and what has become my guiding mantra is “do not hire someone you wouldn’t invite to your house”- a mantra that I can truly say is been a key factor in my personal success.
When it comes to sales, my personal experience is that success in sales comes with the convergence of timing, luck, hard work, skillset, perseverance, believing in your product and selling from the heart. The order of any one of these is reversible! A great salesperson can do everything that would be called “text book” while prospecting accounts. However, it has to be the right time for them to want to do business with you. The key is relationships and knowing that there is a very fine line between persistence and annoyance. A persistent sales professional knows never to cross that line but rather to build the relationship. Over time, you can become friends with your clients as long as you remember one thing, “Never blur the lines between professionalism and friendship.”
I pride myself on being a relationship professional who puts my own reputation and integrity first. When you sell from your heart and are genuine in your dealings, a prospect can tell immediately that you believe in your product and your company. They automatically become engaged and want to learn more about you and your company. It becomes personal. In sales, you have to like people and they have to like you.
In closing, I can truly say that the best part of managing sales and operations at IST Management Services is that we have:
- the best employees is the industry and who continue to impress me every day
- proprietary software that no one in the industry offers
- a clear path for career growth at every level
- a president who believes in his employees, products and company
- an executive team who is employee and client focused and has remained the same for the 16 years I’ve been at IST
IST has changed my life and provided a better life standard for me and my family. I believe in IST and know that we will continue to build upon our success and, together, we will continue to grow and make this company better every single day.