Sales is the family business for Matt Hoffer. His father owned a medical sales company, and Hoffer says he and his siblings all pursued a sales career.
“I always looked up to my father,” he says. “He was successful in the business he owned and in sales, and so I just kind of followed in everyone else’s footsteps.”
Hoffer, 31, was raised in Palatine, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2006 with a double major in communication and psychology. He spent a year in real estate, then took an outside sales job in construction staffing before joining Worldwide Express’ Denver franchise as an account executive in 2009.
“What attracted me to the company was the culture of the Denver office, which then obviously is kind of universal across the entire country,” he says. “It’s just a young, energetic organization.”
Hoffer made a quick impact, winning the 2010 national sales contest among account executives. That came with a $15,000 bonus and what he calls “a big ol’ Happy Gilmore check.”
“The money was great,” he says, “but also the recognition in front of the entire organization — getting up onstage and the trophy that came along with it as well.”
Six months later, he was promoted to sales manager for the franchise, which also covers territory in Wyoming. Here’s more from him on his approach to a sales career, and on life and work in Denver:
What attracted me to sales: “I really like the fact that you get out what you put in. The harder you work, the more rewards are in the end. Essentially, you’re operating your own business within a business. I like the adrenaline rush when you land that big deal, or the gratifying feeling of landing that big account, whether it took you three years to get the account. I’ve had numerous accounts where I had to pound my head against their door for three or four years, and then finally they became customers. There’s not a better feeling than getting those type of accounts on board.”
My start with Worldwide Express: “When I came on board, our freight program was in the early stages and fairly new to Worldwide. So the challenges were trying to figure out that particular industry, because no one really knew much about freight in general. A lot of trial and error, and figuring a lot of things out on my own. From a sales standpoint, I already had outside sales experience. So I was able to take those skills and apply them to this position. That allowed me to be successful where I’m at today.”
My approach to sales: “I really try to humanize the sales approach and really just try to have more of a conversation with that individual instead of being very scripted. But that comes with time. When you come on board as a new rep, there’s always that learning curve and that ramp-up period of time. We always give our reps the tools to be successful, and from there it’s taking what we give them and them making their own sales approach. When you really get down to it, it’s all very similar in nature, but everyone has his own demeanor. When I’m pushing, I don’t like ‘no’ for an answer. The biggest thing is persistence. Just because they say no today, doesn’t mean they’re going to say no six months, one year, two years down the road.”
On the Denver team: “It’s kind of a work-hard play-hard type of mentality, but it definitely comes from the top as well. Most people we hire, this is more of an entry-level sales job for the account executive for the most part, are younger. They’re early 20s to early 30s. The actual physical age is young, so that brings a lot of energy as well. … We’ll always put sales goals in place. We recently hit a sales goal and the entire sales and account management team went up to Breckenridge — took Friday off, went skiing. We’re always doing sales contests, too, to keep things interesting and keep people motivated.”
The best part of my job: “There’s a lot of good aspects of this job. You get a lot of freedom with this job being out and about in the field all day. I think the best part of my job is finding solutions for customers. And really bringing a consultative approach to their account.”
My hobbies and interests: “I like to ski, I like to golf. Hit up the local watering holes here and there. I also like to see a lot of live music. [The last great concert I saw] was in the Dominican Republic to see Widespread Panic. It was a little vacation and beach life during the day and concerts at night.”