Wow. Ever since Shit Got Real, I’ve been one busy guy. You’d think it was because I’ve been working on my own business, but I wasn’t. I was transitioning my sales territory to the new guy. It’s kind of funny, but since quitting my job, I’ve worked harder for it than I have for years.
I never realized how many people I’ve met over the past four years, and how hard saying goodbye would be. There are literally hundreds of people that I’ve helped, supported, and have become professional friends with. Their feedback has been incredible – they all support my endeavor but know that the new guy will be better than I was. Honestly, I’m gonna miss nearly all of them.
All of my customers kept telling the new guy how big of shoes he has to fill. Really? I guess I didn’t think I was that great of a sales guy, so maybe I’ll have to write something on how I operated as a technical sales rep, because I guess it worked. In short, my four pieces of advice would be these:
- SHUT UP, ask questions, and listen
- Follow up
- Don’t be a douchebag
- Delegate anything and everything to the geniuses at corporate.
Customers knew that I wasn’t the guy with all the answers, but they also knew that I’d crack skulls in an effort to get the answers for them. With an incredibly proactive company like NI, skull-cracking usually isn’t necessary, but sometimes it is. And I will ruin anyone who dares downplay me and my customer. I really wasn’t a sales guy OR an engineer, so much as I was a “Resource Manager”. I liked that. Why spend 45 minutes trying to figure something out when I could get someone in corporate to do it in 5? Delegation is key, and something I’m trying to figure out in my own business (and kinda failing at thus far, admittedly).
Everyone says it’s good to not burn bridges. But let’s face it – I will NEVER return to National Instruments, the Test and Measurement industry, nor corporate America in general (unless ClutchWave IPOs – which isn’t part of “the plan”). I’ve made some of the best friends ever at NI, but don’t really care about the professional bridge. No doubt, the NI connection is great, but my gripe is more with Corporate America in general. I don’t want or need back in. So why did I bust my ass transitioning the next guy in when it wasn’t in my personal best interests? Well, in a few words… because I want to leave something better than the way I found it. And I can truly say that I did that.
Anyway, come September 1st, I’m going to wake up and be on my own. I’m nervously excited. I have a plan and I know what I want to do. And I’m gonna do it.