Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Jon Ambuehl and I am the Western Regional Sales Manager for CertainTeed LLC. We are a world-wide Building Material Manufacture operating in 67 countries with 180,000 employees. I work for the Fiberglass Insulation Division that make products to keep houses and commercial buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We are important to reducing energy consumption for people and the environment. I have a sales team in 13 Western States and we sell to distributors and Insulation Contractors in those states. My role as a Regional Manager is to help our sales team be successful. I like to think I work for them to make us all successful.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
The one lesson most helpful in my career would be to treat people like you want to be treated. In a sales role it is important to be honest, respect the time for who you are trying to sell to, and be on time. Also if you don’t know the answer let the client know that and get the answer for them when you follow up. Too many times I have seen people make something up and lost the client.
It all comes back to treating people how you want to be treated.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. I was working for a great company and had another one offer me more money to leave my current company. I went to work for them and in 11 months it was a disaster in that business. In hindsight I should have talked to my current employer about how to advance in the company. I have now been at my current company 24 years.
The lesson in this is you have to be in control of your career development if the employer offers training you need to make sure to ask if you can take a class. Your boss most likely does not have time to oversee everyone’s career development that is up to you.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
10 years from now our industry will be needed more than ever to help make sure we have the right products to keep buildings and homes warm or cool during the year. With the push to make the world use less energy our business will be a huge part of that. This is why 8-10 years ago we started to evolve our products World Wide into a theme for the Habitat for people.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
What I see fail in my business of sales is the sales person has not pre planned their sales call. You cannot just show up and not have something to show or talk about to your client. And all clients are different and have different needs.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
In the last two years have I started to get better at saying no. It’s better to say no that to sell/take a bad deal to just make a sale. I have learned sometimes there is a point we have to walk away in the sale and realize we can’t make every sale regardless. Some deals you know they will not most likely work out long term it is better to say no thanks.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
The one book every college or high school person should read is Dave Ramsey The Total Money Makeover. He has a way to look money that most people do not take a look at. He wants you to be debt free and how that will empower your future with out the stress of how paying a bunch of bills. It will help with the job you choose, retirement (it will be in your hands), and hopefully less stress in your life.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
I would suggest you become a great listener. Too often we all want to tell our story and in turn if we really want to know people we’ll need to listen. Listening makes that relationship stronger because you have invested your time in them. Regardless if it sales, finance or personal, think back when someone really listened to you how much better you felt.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
If you’re on time for a meeting or appointment you’re late. Always arrive 10 minutes early.