Rising to the top in any profession is difficult and in sales getting to the top can take many different route’s, but none can be more unconventional than Daniel Howard who started out on a career in Politics and Law but currently holds the position of Sales Director at Search Office Space; Lawyers, Politicians and Salesmen, a lethal combination!
Search Office Space is a global commercial property broker representing corporate clients that require office solutions in locations around the world. The business has grown consistently over the last 20 years, and Daniel Howard now heads up the sales function.
An Unconventional career journey
After studying Politics and Law at University Howard was looking for a career in banking and carried out an internship at BNP Paribas, this career choice soon changed as he began to see and explore a career in sales;
“I began to particularly enjoy the ideological side of politics as it is extremely subjective and chose to focus my efforts here. This provided me with what would later become a great basis for my consultative sales approach”
He then joined Search Office Space following a recommendation from a friend and immediately joined their sales team where a career in sales was confirmed, building a career journey that has gone from consultant to Director.
Howard made key decisions about his career with the ongoing battle between developing sales skills or a product knowledge, he did choose not to become a qualified surveyor to concentrate on his sales role, “I don’t believe it is necessary to have this form of qualification to do my job, as it has not hindered my progress, and on some level, it has allowed me to gain more experience within different aspects of the property market”
Sales Advice, plain and simple
For those entering into a career in sales, Howard’s advice is as simple as any, but describes how frustrating not doing the basics can be;
“The first piece of advice I would give to someone who is beginning their career in sales is quite simply, to listen to their client. Some sales techniques can be aggressive, but in my experience, it needn’t be. Consultative sales approaches tend to work in your favour as it shows the client that you understand their needs and are helping them in the best way possible”
He also recommends a thick skin and for new professionals not to take rejection too hard, “The sales industry can be cut throat at times, but if you are a motivated individual it can be an exciting and rewarding career path”.
Having said that he also advises that the sales is a great career once you get over the early stages, “One of the frustrating aspects of sales is the initial start-out phase which can be really tough, both mentally and financially. You have to develop a style that works for you and your company which can be juxtaposed at times. For junior sales people, the basic salary is often low, as much of what you do is based on commission. However, once you get into a routine and develop your skill set, your sales rates will become higher and you may find that the industry can be very lucrative. The market is also very fast moving which means you have to stay on top of it at all times or you can get lost.
For someone who initially was looking for a career in either Politics or Law, then went on to Banking before ending up in Sales, you could not find a list of careers with such poor perception by the general public. So it is good to know that some of the UK’s leading sales figures still looks to try and give something back to the community, and aspect of his life that helps complement a work-Life balance.
“I am a very active and sporty person, so spend most of my spare time going to the gym. I am currently training for a few triathlons which I will be doing for charity, so will spend 5-6 times a week training at the gym.
“Similarly to sales; sport is all about self-motivation so activities such as this are a great way to stay on top form, both physically and mentally.
Showing an interest in sport can certainly help to achieve a good work / play relationship, but many enjoyable activities can have a significant positive effect on a sales career, Howard also enjoys travel where he gains both professionally and personally.
“Travel broadens your horizons in many ways and allows you an insight into different cultures. This also relates to business as travelling all over the world and experiencing different markets and sectors, along with different views on business which is always interesting to me, as it develops my wealth of knowledge.
About Search Office Space
Search Office Space, a global commercial property broker, was established by Richard Smith in 1993 as the first ever commercial property consultants which exclusively specialised in the serviced and managed office sector. Almost 20 years later, SOS now represents corporate clients that require flexible office solutions in locations around the world, ranging from emerging markets to established locations throughout the UK/EMEA, The Americas, Asia Pacific and Australasia.
Through strong relationships with business centres and commercial property landlords, SOS has developed an international database of property owners who offer serviced office space in over 5,000 locations around the world.