offers tips that have worked for him!
AND YES! Mr. Thorne is in the throes of a thriving career! But after reading a recent Linkedin posting, I realized that he (along with other successful individuals), have felt stuck or without options at some point in their careers:
“5 years ago, I quit my 28 year old vacuum sales business without a single plan. I was burnt out and didn’t know what I should do next.
The only business in the Capital Region that would hire me was Albany Broadcasting Company, Inc. to sell radio advertising. That is where I cut my teeth in advertising and I’m grateful they gave me an opportunity to sharpen my mindset and skills I already had.
I was intrigued and reached out to him! When we sat down (over zoom), my first question was: “That 28 year sales job must have required a tremendous amount of energy, cold-calling, never-knowing how you would be received, etc., etc. – i.e., not easy! What enabled you to stick with it?
“I learned early in my career how much we can gain by being open to the support and advice of more seasoned and successful colleagues,” Walter explained. Soon after starting out at age 19, I met people who were doing well and I knew that I wanted to emulate them! I was fortunate that some of these folks were positive, motivating and willing to transfer their skill set to me.”
“And I was willing to act the ‘dumb, smart guy’,” he continued, “…swallow my youthful pride, create space within and soak in all that I could learn from more experienced sales people! I realized that there was something I could learn from everyone, but not everything from any one person. I sought out “the winners” – the best prospectors, the best deal closers, etc. – and spoke with/learned from each of them about their particular strength. I benefited greatly and started doing well financially. That’s what kept me there!
“And perhaps, the lessons that I have learned in my 30 year sales career have been preparation for my current role at the Albany Business Review…not least, the impact of strong and positive relationships on our success!”
“After about 7 or 8 years, I realized the value of transferring my skill set to others! I purchased the product, became a distributor and began hiring and training sales people. And as the sales people that I hired became skillful and increased their sales, my earnings grew! And speaking from a purely sales-generating perspective, the most amount of money that I’ve ever made in my life came from people who didn’t buy anything from me…but instead may have connected me to the biggest clients that I had or the largest organizations!…or may have worked under me for 15 to 20 years. And for every machine they sold during this 15 to 20 year period, I benefitted as well!”
“In 2013, I started looking around for new opportunities (as it became harder and harder to recruit and retain good sales people). But it took a good five years to work up the nerve to actually leave and start over in my career…and then sent out over 70 resumes before getting an offer from Albany Broadcasting!
“I have no doubt that the skills and relationships that I have developed throughout my 31 + year sales career paved the way for my entrée into the Albany Business Review as Ad Director. I also don’t doubt the impact of having worked with former ABR Publisher Cindy Applebaum for 18 months prior to accepting that position upon her retirement. The support and training that I received from Cindy prepared me well for this opportunity!
And while my focus as ABR Market President and Publisher is wider and deeper, relationship-building continues to be integral! I’m responsible for directing all operations. But I’m still about transferring skill sets and providing the best business intelligence to our readers. I’m also about fostering empathetic conversations and influencing hearts and mindsets!”
“Like so many others, I was deeply affected by George Floyd,” Walter shared. “I decided after witnessing his murder, I would no longer remain silent (and in that way, complicit). I now choose to openly share my lived experience with my colleagues (white or black). For example, being a black man, my career success does not follow me into the car:”
“When I am stopped by a policeman while driving, I am very careful to follow specific, methodical steps… I have to remain calm, not make any jerky movements, quietly place my keys on the dashboard and promptly answer all questions.”
“Yes, it feels like such a polarized time in our life and it is! But at the same time, you take a conservative, a liberal, left, right, woman, male, black, white, you take any spectrum and ask those folks, what are the top 10 things that you want for yourself, for your family…8 out of 10 will be exactly the same! So I focus on the 8 out of 10…the 80% that we share.”
“I look forward to continuing to serve the community… and continuing to follow good business sense! My goals include helping to bridge gaps within the business world as we all move toward being more diverse and inclusive workplaces.” Because just as diverse revenue streams sustain business growth and diverse financial portfolios protect an individual’s assets, diversity within workplaces truly strengthen and sustain those organizations!”