Keynote speaker and sales trainer
I do not only appear I compete.
My story – so far.
How it all began
I compete for excellent and happy sales that amaze customers. Sales, gross profit and market share increase over time as a logical consequence. These lines should help you to get to know me better. “What is Kober’s resume like, what does he stand for, does my project fit with him and vice versa?”
With joy, fire and expertise I make sure that more is sold at higher prices in B2B sales organizations. Born in 1980, grew up in the countryside with animals and tractors, still a member of the volunteer fire department, provincial lover.
I am East Westphalian and still love to laugh!
I have already talked about my strengths on the home page. Let’s move on – in the spirit of “plain speaking in sales” – to my weaknesses. To the point:
You continue reading? Great, I’m glad.
Education: Betriebswirt (VWA), Master of Business Administration (University of Surrey), numerous advanced and continuing education courses as a speaker, sales consultant and sales trainer. I am currently on the long journey of promotion on the topic of digital communication in B2B sales.
I have worked in sales for most of my working life. I have sold computers and construction machinery.
I started my own company because I wanted to get away from the usual sales monotony:
I wanted salespeople to be happier and therefore more efficient. My vision: “How do you transfer the passion of firefighters in the field to sales?”
After all, anyone who knows firefighters or who is one himself knows how much energy and passion is expended there – in the case of the volunteer fire department, even without pay!
Even if you now have a certain stereotype of the fire department in mind: Given. There is a 15-20% “idiot rate” in this organization as well – but it exists in every club, every company – some even claim in every family. Nonetheless, in return, this means that over 80% are doing a good job, and that’s the same in the fire department.
I set out to find experienced mentors, continued my education and developed a completely new concept for sales. As an author, speaker, sales consultant and sales trainer (I proudly mention, of course, that I am the sales expert in the eyes of my clients), I live to make exciting books, rousing presentations and gripping trainings an experience that makes a difference. I want to make sales more efficient and field and office salespeople happier in order to increase profits and secure market leadership. For example, this increased sales by 44 percent in four years at a TecDAX company and won a European training award for demonstrable success in 2016.
During my sales life, I had contact with many exciting target groups – including even farmers. I quickly learned what the saying was all about, “Once you make money with farmers, you’ll never be poor again!”
There, too, I learned the honorable craft of selling, because in addition to computers and construction and agricultural machinery, I also sold myself.
Sold me? Sounds strange?
Because selling is something respectable. And I work every day to make it really clear to everyone: Sales is the decisive department in every company. Other areas are certainly important and create the conditions for selling. But with the seller, the customer often makes the final decision in B2B. And at the same time, internally as a “sales person” you often feel like the fool.
Why do I think that?
Back to my story: As an apprentice in a large IT company, I was assigned to pallet wrapping in the warehouse “in order to gain work experience”. After I had made an enormously stupid mistake (only partly on purpose …), I went to the next department. Controlling. My first personal major professional disaster. How can you do that all your life? Presumably, controllers think the same about distribution and sales.
There I was told I was “too communicative.” The head of Controlling probably only wrote the word “sales talent” in my departmental reference in order to get rid of me quickly as a chatterbox. After all, as a number cruncher, he certainly couldn’t judge whether someone was a first-class sales consultant or sales representative. I, on the other hand, rather believed that those working there were already dead – just not fallen over yet.
From then on, I was put into sales. The clear message was: identify the market, develop new locations and sell! There I worked my way up to “Sales Manager Key Accounts” with a sales volume of €800 million per year. I quickly realized that as a salesperson or sales manager, you are often the fool within the company, regardless of whether you are successful or not.
Me, too, Stephan Kober.
If the sales come, market potentials and sales areas are well developed, then it is due to the good market situation. Not because the sales department did a very good job.
When the numbers don’t add up: Then the sales department quickly becomes the scapegoat. Managers then like to lapse into “blind actionism” (yes, at the time I did too).
Nonsensical price campaigns, building up pressure via personnel talks, “putting horsepower on the road”, “controlling sales activities”, nonsensical sales campaigns, platitudinous marketing campaigns, sales meetings with hundreds of PowerPoint slides – these are then usually the effects.
Moreover, I hated it: The theater with other departments or played diplomacy. In meetings, I often said: “I’m basically with you, but that’s not how it works in sales. Inwardly, I thought: “You don’t know the first thing about sales!
As head of sales, I was always allowed to spoon out other people’s soup. Either those of my own employees, some of whom I had simply not managed properly, or the dirty soup from other areas that had pissed off customers who then stopped buying.
But it was always the sales department’s fault.
Sometimes rightly so, but often not.
I played this game for years, and at some point I had a crisis of purpose in my late 20s: “Surely it can’t be true that the decisive department, the supreme discipline in any company, ekes out such an existence?
That those who represent the most important stakeholder of any company – the customer! – should convince every day, internally only “get on the cap “?
But even on our own doorstep – God knows – not everything was always clean.
In the field, we had some lazy dogs and a few who really stepped on the gas. I tried to make up for it with pressure.
But that never did much good.
And if at all, then in the short term only again with blind actionism at various industry customers and with almost “zero result”.
Nevertheless, we also rocked the market there with – from today’s perspective more or less mediocre – methods. God only knows what more would have been in this company if I had applied what I teach and model today.
After ten years in the same company, I was eager to change industries, even though I was a proven (sales) expert there. I then sold construction machinery – a great job, a great company.
But that I then had to bake very small rolls again …
… I had a hard time dealing with that. A lot of things had to be approved first, I had to submit to so many rules – couldn’t “breathe” anymore.
So? Set up my own business. As a sales trainer. But for the first six months I cursed myself: How could I? From a well-paid salaried position with a company car and a big company behind you into the piranha pool of sales training as a “one man show”? In a sector where, unfortunately, anyone can offer services without having to show training?
I had to have gone crazy!
So much for the theory…or rather the dream. The sad reality came by mail.
At the time, the letter from the German pension insurance company got to the heart of the matter: “37 years to go until retirement? Crisis of meaning! That should have been it professionally…37 years on in this theater?
On the other hand: Throw in the towel, leave everything behind and start your own business as a sales trainer? In a market that is flooded with fired sales managers who have no trainer training but are allowed to call themselves trainers?
What the heck: I made up my mind and quit.
I set out to find and found experienced mentors. I drew up a business plan, changed my house bank (because the bank with the big “V” didn’t want to take this “risk” of starting up) and went through a valley of tears in the first twelve months.
I started with full enthusiasm into the acquisition and ended up in bitter disillusionment. Rejections, delays, eternally long decision-making processes. My cash buffer was shrinking visibly. The nights became restless. I felt terrible and was extremely dissatisfied.
Somehow no one had been waiting for sales trainer “Kober” – and with all the mistakes I had made, in retrospect that’s not surprising.
Then FINALLY the first big order worked out. Together with my wife, I looked at my screen in the basement of our house (that was where my “office” was at the time) and saw the first signed training contract with a five-figure sum. This feeling of relief was indescribable. That was almost 10 years ago now.
The greatest praise I can achieve professionally is when viewers of my presentations say something like Arno Kalbus, Sales Manager of the TecDax company Pfeiffer Vacuum: “You have brought about a paradigm shift, a change in awareness, in our sales department and in the entire company. Thank you for that”.
I compete to trigger in people the will to change the world of B2B sales, to amaze customers and to be #1 in the market in terms of sales. Raising the pulse, looking into shining eyes, creating positive excitement, igniting more joy and fire in sales – that makes my heart beat faster and with it the hearts of my listeners.
Thanks for reading this far!
Yours, Stephan Kober