It takes all types of people with different abilities and skillsets to make a business not only run, but thrive. A company can produce a terrific product but without talented sales team, that product never reaches the customer. At Chief, sales and service are at the forefront, and Bob Holland is an integral part of the sales machine. Bob is the Director of Collision Sales for North and South America (and you thought your territory is big). Today we sit down with Bob and find out not about the death, but the life of a salesman.
Q: How long have you been with Chief?
Bob: Since 2002 – I started in Nebraska at our original HQ office before we moved to Indiana. I was living in the Chicago Area at the time and decided I would bring my wife with me when I went to interview. Chicago and Nebraska are very different and wanted to make sure she would be able to make the transition. I am glad she gave me the green light to make the move because I have enjoyed my years with Chief.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job?
Bob: Chief has a great team of people. The team we have in Madison, Indiana today is dedicated to serving our customers. My job is sales and I like interfacing with our family of distributors. I call them family because many of them have been associated with Chief longer than I have. They treat our customers exceptionally well and make my job much easier than it could be.
Q: What is your work background in?
Bob: I am responsible for all sales for Chief Automotive in North and South America. I need to work hard to make sure we (my Division Sales Managers and I) select the right partners to interface with our customers in local markets. A good distributor is responsive when he needs to be and has the ability to train the customer on the equipment and show its many advantages. These folks also have to be people who will continue to learn each day to stay current with the industry which is ever changing.
Q: What is one thing about working where you do that people may not know?
Bob: I am in sales today, but for the first 20 years of my career, I was a service coordinator or service manager and then a training manager. I think if you can service and train someone, the sales thing happens all by itself. We just want to help make people's jobs easier.
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges to your job?
Bob: There are a lot of plates to keep spinning in the air. We have to work with our distribution partners all over North and South America to ensure our customers are being supported well for products they already own and are getting supported on new products they are wanting to purchase. We have a huge customer base and it is a challenge to make sure that everyone knows about all the new products we have to make their jobs easier. To do this it takes a lot of travel and I am proud of my family for putting up with it and being so capable at dealing with issues while I am away.
Q: What is one of your most memorable moments as a Chief employee?
Bob: When I interviewed, it was an all-day affair and halfway through the process of meeting with all the company management, I was getting a tour of the factory and when I bent down to look more closely at a process, the seat of my pants ripped. It was not a small rip either, a black suit with tightly whites showing through. My next interview was with the female HR manager, and she was directing me up a stairway to a conference room. Of course, being the gentleman I am, I politely said, “after you please”. If I had gone first, she would have known me a whole lot more than she ever wanted to.
Q: What is one fun fact about you that people may not know?
Bob: I am a Big and a Tall guy. I have only bought one “classic” car in my life. It was an MG Midget. Why? Darn good question!
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your time away from work?
Bob: I have three kids (Nathan 20, Emily 18, and Maddie 16) and we have been pretty invested in their various sports activities. My oldest daughter plays Division One Volleyball at Ball State University, and for years we have been chasing her around the country on various club teams. My younger daughter finished #2 in the State of Indiana in Pole Vault this last year as a sophomore. With all that running, we hardly have time to have any hobbies of our own. I live in a 181 year old house here in Madison so when I am not running around chasing my kids in sports, I repairing things that broke at home.
Q: Are you a music person or a sports person?
Bob: I like both music and sports… Really like R.E.M. and others from that timeframe. Being from Chicago, I am a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls – In that order.
Q: What product in Chief’s full line do you think is the most interesting or has the most to offer to the customer? Why?
Bob: I would have to say our Electronic Measuring Systems, the Laserlock™ and the Vector™. They have so many true advantages that it is an easy choice that is fun to sell. Being able to measure the whole car live every 3 to 5 seconds gives the technician the ability to see the structure moving back to specification after an accident. It also ensures that additional damage is not added to the vehicle during the repair. They both make a great blueprinting tool as well for the estimator when he measures off a two post lift.