Where It All Started.

IN 1998, I made my very first sale. It was not a big sale by any means. Yet, I remember to this day how I felt.

Mostly surprised.

Surprised that, somehow, I managed to convince someone to work with me and my firm. Surprised that I actually got them to pay for, too. And surprised that someone had taken a chance to trust someone as young and inexperienced as me.

But there was more than. There was a sense of pride as well, and accomplishment.

Little did I know this would get me started on a career-defining journey. From that very first sale, I was enthralled by the process of selling – it was as if some magical spell had been cast on me, that I was unable to break to this day.

Fast forward a few years, and I was still working as a Big-4 management consultant. Where I liked delivery, I felt most engaged and excited when I was out generating new business opportunities. As it happens, large management consulting firms are a great place to work if you know how to bring in new money.

Whilst at Ernst & Young and Arthur Andersen, I had the time of my life, selling ever larger deals to corporate clients in the Fortune 500 and beyond. Presenting to senior executives in boardrooms across Europe and the United States, and feeling like I was doing quite well for myself.

Until one day it hit me: I really didn’t know all that much about business. Any business.

From Sell-Side To Buy-Side.

So, as I sometimes jokingly like to say, I “got a real job”.

For the next decade or so, I gradually climbed the corporate ladder at a Fortune 100 financial services firm called ING. By the time I was done, I had lived and worked in three different European countries, held four different roles and became the Global Head Of Marketing (CMO) for one of their seven divisions, ING Private Banking.

What I remember most from this decade is how it really helped me understand what things look like from a buyer’s perspective. How corporations make – often huge – investment decisions. How senior executives decide what to buy, how to buy and who buy from.

During my time at ING, I either directly or indirectly influenced tens of millions of Euros of corporate spending – anything from buying strategy consulting services to large scale CRM implementation projects.

It was like getting a fast-track education in the ins and outs of corporate purchasing – giving me a real-life perspective on how buyers decide, and what sellers should do to succeed in convincing them. Today, I consider myself to be one of the lucky few that truly understands how corporate buying processes work – giving me a significant advantage in my current occupation and my work with clients.

Reinventing Myself.

Whilst I was at ING, a growing sense of unease started developing inside of me. I had always known I was not a “corporate man”, but with increasingly interesting roles offered to me, it was hard to leave a good thing behind.

One day, the inevitable finally happened. I left ING in order to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. After getting my executive MBA from Swiss-based HEC Lausanne, I embarked on a variety of small ventures, none of really led anywhere.

Until I reconnected and rediscovered my passion for selling. In late 2012, I became Practice Director EMEA with RAIN Group – a position which I have held until this day.

I love selling – and helping others achieve their maximum potential. Having a chance to do both at the same time is like a dream come true. I love what I do, and I’m fortunate to be able to work with clients who appreciate what I contribute and gain significant benefits from the work that we do together.

Personal Life.

I am the lucky father of two boys, Raphael and Nicholas, and happily married with my wife Silvia. We like to divide our time between Geneva, Switzerland and Lisbon, Portugal. In my “off” time, I’m an avid road cyclist and have been known to catch a wave or two on of the beaches near Lisbon.

I have a Masters’ in Business & Marketing and an Executive MBA, and have lived in 6 countries (and counting) and speak four languages fluently (unfortunately, Mandarin Chinese is not one of them).

Congratulations. You’ve made it this far. Now, go check out the blog.

On this blog, you will find a collection of blog posts related to B2B sales, selling to the C-suite and senior executives, Insight Selling and other topics related to high-end, complex B2B sales. If you’d like to receive automatic updates whenever a new post goes live, check out my RSS feed.

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