Hello, my name is Alan Gehami and I have been enjoying the life of a sales professional for the past 21 years or so, but I was not always in sales. I started my career as an electrical engineer back in 1979 working for the General Electric Company as a Software Development Engineer. About 7 years into software engineering I realized that as rewarding as this profession was, there was not much money to made beyond an expected salary range. So I started looking around at who makes the most money that is not in a senior manager (VP or higher) role.
I had a good idea of what professional salaried engineering, manufacturing, and customer support jobs paid, but I was clueless about sales compensation. I started to get to know folks in our sales organization, and to make a long story short, I quickly realized that sales people attained compensation levels that were 2-4x what I made. What most impressed me about a sales compensation package is that you are paid for your efforts beyond a fixed deterministic wage. I’ll get more into that as I continue to build out this site, but for now the ability to make more money as you work more, versus a fixed salary, is the key motivating aspect of a sales compensation package; and for me it was a great reason to make the transition.
So now it’s 1986 and I am about 7 years into a very good software engineering career working about 60-70 hours a week and getting paid for 40 hours. I did not mind the long hours and hard work, but being capped on a salary was starting to become a negative issue for me. If you don’t like working hard long hours, then sales is not a good place for you either, but if you enjoy working long and hard and getting paid for it, then stay with me on this journey. Once I started to understand how sales people were paid, I quickly decided to cross over and join “team-sales”. My decision was quick, but the actual transition process was anything but quick. It took me another 7-8 years to complete the transition from development engineering to sales. Yes, it did seem like forever and at times impossible to achieve, but it was well worth it.
I faced constant rejection trying to jump directly from engineering to sales, in my first year of attempting this transition. It got to that point of deciding between giving up on my goal, or to take an intermediary step or two in order to achieve my goal. I decided on the later and took on various post sales support positions ranging from customer support, systems engineering, and project management. What all of these post sales support positions had in common were that they allowed me to start interfacing directly with Customers, which was both new and exciting to me. Understanding the Customer’s perspective on a given situation leads to offering solutions and options that are fundamental to successful selling. So even though I was not in a sales position, at that time, I took full advantage of the opportunity to deal directly with Customers, which is a critical skill to have in sales.
Once I started getting comfortable with the post sales position role, I started to educate myself on the topics of selling and the sales profession. I accomplished this education, which is still on-going today, through a series of books, articles, publications, videos, and seminars. In other words I committed myself to learning and understanding the act of selling and the sales process, and applying what I learned to real life situations. The post sales role went on for about 3-4 years, and then I was able to take another intermediate step towards my goal, by switching over to a presales engineering role. The presales position was big step for me since it placed me directly inside the sales organization.
I finally reached my goal of transitioning into a direct sales position about 2 years after making the transition to the presales role. All in all, it took me about 7-8 years to transition from a software development engineering to a salesperson, and to this day I enjoy being a salesperson.
About 3 years ago I decided to find ways to help people who want to transition into sales, are new to sales, or simply want to improve their current sales. At the end of the day I came to the conclusion that I can help people through sharing my understanding of the act of selling and the sales process, thus the creation of this site and hopefully more.
After spending 21 years in sales, and waking up most mornings with a desire to improve my sales results I started to understand that sales is a process with variable results that can be tamed to become relatively predictable. Predictable in a growing revenue sense that is. My next goal is to establish The San Diego Sales Academy as the vehicle that transforms sales into a recognizable profession, much like that of a being a doctor, lawyer, nurse, engineer, etc. Won’t you please join me on this journey.