How many years have you been working in your field?
Describe what you do.
I am responsible for customer relationships and projects from cradle to grave. I will most likely be the first hand shake from my company, and I will be the one honoring the warranty as well. I estimate and bid projects for customers as well as project manage. It is a fun process, but it can be a waiting game most fo the time. In a perfect world, a customer would want to do the job the week after they get their quote. However, it can take months and years sometimes before customers in this industry act on the bids given to them. It is up to me to help them see the value in upgrading or retrofitting sooner rather than later. It is up to me to close the sale.
Describe how you do it.
I first set up a meeting or phone call with the customer. Sometimes these are long time company clients, and some of them are clients that I have brought in via cold calling. I then set these clients up in our system for billing and we run a credit check on them. It is very common in this field to get brunt by customers not paying their bills. I will then do a site survey by myself or with a technician to assess the condition of the equipment already in place. The bidding process is next, and I am hardly ever the only bid the customer receives. This is where the sales piece of the job is very important. You need to be able to offer the client something that will really add value that the competitor may not have access too. It is crucial to get all the dimensions, power needs, and BTU needs correct during this process. You can lose money if your calculations are not correct. Once the bid is signed and the customer has been verified as having a good credit history, I will schedule the job with them. Their are so many little details that are important in this as well. Is it a weekend job? Are there people in the building? Will we need special building access? Where will the crane set up?
Describe why you do it.
I love dealing with people. We are all flawed and all in need of help sometimes. It is a great pleasure to be able to offer a service (In Houston) that many people cannot live without. I am hardly ever met with resistance when I offer my services. I love the bidding process. It is a thrill to be bale to price up jobs and learn new things about the equipment and different installations every day. If I am willing, there are always opportunities for me to learn something new and exciting. It is never stale. I personally could not be chained to a desk. I travel locally a good bit. I put close to 40,000 miles on my car last year, but I am paid well for that. I do not mind it at all. I have learned to redeem that time by making calls or listening to podcasts. It is truly an enjoyable part of the job to me. I love building relationships with clients. I take them hunting, fishing, to sporting events, and much more. It is so much fun to close the deal!!
What was the first step you took to become what you are now?
I would say that college and my degree was only the means by which I got an audience. It is not the source of my success. I had a friend who was a local Union Rep who got me an interview for an entry level position. This was the door. I am now in a completely different spot, but it started with a pretty low pay and humble beginnings compared to where I am now. You have to be a people orientated type of person to be successful at this job. You have to be an active listener as well. There are several personality traits that have a huge impact on success in this industry and particularly the piece that I do.
What do you wish you had paid more attention to in school?
Honestly, I loved my history classes in school as that was my major. I do not think that that degree really left me with many of applicable job options after college. I know several other history majors as well who are doing things that have nothing to do with their history degree. However, the business classes I took were crucial in helping me understand the basics of what it takes to be successful in any job or industry. I would probably just have gone to junior college then trade school if I had the chance to do it over again. College was great, but it was not essential to my success in this industry. It merely showed that I was willing to stick with something for four years. This does mean something to an employer when they are looking to hire a 21 year old with no experience.