“Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
It’s a time-honored saying that most Marines will proudly stand by.
Like most entrepreneurs, Jim has had his share of struggles since launching RDM back in 2007. But time and time again, it’s the discipline and ‘never give up’ attitude he acquired in the Marines that’s helped him to always land on his feet.
I sat down with Jim to learn more about his journey and the lessons learned along the way.
To Be The Best, You Must Be Adaptable
For most people reading this, the Marines need no introduction. But in the interest of storytelling, bear with me.
The Marines are known for taking on and succeeding in some of the US Military’s most difficult combat missions. They’re often regarded as one of the most elite military units in the world. And unlike other military departments who stick to either sea, land or air missions, the Marines deploy over all three.
In a word, they’re adaptable.
Adaptability is certainly a trait well suited for the makings of an entrepreneur. And it has undoubtedly helped Jim over the years.
From quickly shifting an approach to a particular client challenge or adopting new knowledge and skills, Jim’s innate ability to adapt swiftly to the sales landscape in front of him have been foundational to his success.
Chart Out Your Mission
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail,” Winston Churchill supposedly once said (or was it Benjamin Franklin?).
Regardless of who actually uttered those words, there’s just something so poignant about their simplicity.
As most business owners know (or have perhaps learned the hard way), planning is critical. Planning gives you direction and goals. Without planning, entrepreneurs are more likely to fall prey to distraction, making rash decisions that veer their business off course.
Jim knows this well. When he first stepped into IT sales he had zero plan in place. During this time, Jim’s method of drumming up business followed a haphazard course of cold-calling — dialing up any far-off prospect he came across in hopes of closing the deal.
It was a chaotic time. It was also very unsuccessful.
With bills to pay and a family to feed, Jim knew he needed to course correct. He needed to find a way to success. And so he charted a plan.
That plan began with a back-to-basics move to work the strong relationships he made during his time as a channel manager. But the plan didn’t simply stop at making contact. Jim knew he needed a hook. And so he began pitching his full-spectrum experience in the channel and in sales as an invaluable asset to his prospects.
The plan (and pitch) paid off. Shortly after launching this plan, Jim began seeing his initial success begin to coalesce.
Any Marine who has spent time in active duty has experienced his or her share of loss. In an instant, combat can take away a Marine’s friends and comrades, security, and overall sense of normalcy.
In time, many Marines eventually the preciousness of life and the importance of daily acts of gratitude to take stock of life’s blessings.
While he’s committed to his success, Jim appreciates that his blessings could be taken away. But rather than being fearful, Jim uses this knowledge as an opportunity to show gratitude. Every day, Jim gives daily prayers to offer thanks for every success (no matter how small), and every gift in his life.
With such success under his belt, it would be quite easy for one’s ego to run amok. But with his gratitude attitude in place, Jim operates from a special vantage point that blends his roles as Marine, father, husband, and businessman. A vantage point that keeps him grounded, focused, humble, and kind.
And that’s a combination all of us in sales should constantly strive towards.
You can catch Jim’s full-length interview over on the podcast. Jim shares more insights from his Marine lessons and how they’ve helped shaped him as a sales superstar.