Whether you’re fresh out of high school and starting your career or shifting gears from a different field, a career in sales and marketing can be an excellent opportunity for those with a wide range of backgrounds. And contrary to popular belief, that applies even to job seekers on the shy and quiet side!
Plus, working in sales can help you develop many skills you’ll need down the road as you further your career and grow into new roles.
We recently had an enlightening conversation with our very own Director of Sales, Geoff Booker, who says the key to effective sales is simple: effective communication! Read on to learn more about his path into sales, his time at Chameleon, and how his work here has helped him grow personally and professionally.
Geoff Booker knew he loved puzzles long before he began his career in sales and marketing.
Around age 16, he began working in IT and cable tech roles with companies like Comcast. He then went into corporate moves and relocations, working for a company that outfitted clients with all their IT and electronics equipment upon moving (e.g., phones, computers, badges).
On his tech-related positions, Geoff says, “I loved it because it fed my problem-solving nature, and that’s what I love to do.”
After about 10 years in the field, Geoff developed a drug and alcohol addiction. These roles, which required him to drive hundreds of miles a week, became untenable. Eventually, he entered rehab, where he learned about the Chameleon Group and how they were willing to hire people in recovery.
“I jumped at the chance and showed up, I think, two days after I got out of rehab,” Geoff explains. “They hired me and took a chance on me because I’d never done sales in my life, and I kind of fell in love!”
So, is sales a good career? Five years later, Geoff is still here! He started at the Chameleon Group in 2017 and quickly worked his way up to Sales Trainer, then Inside Sales Manager, and most recently, Director of Sales.
While Geoff has worked in many different roles and types of companies, he says one unique trait makes Chameleon stand out. “I found a company that would take a chance on me,” he says. “There’s no amount of money that can compensate for that.”
We feel the same way, which is why we invest so much in our people! Geoff’s story is a wonderful example of the reward a company reaps when they give good people a chance.
While Chameleon supported Geoff’s transition to his career in sales and marketing, he has played a significant role in helping Chameleon become a Recovery Friendly Workplace. He explains how he assisted founder Dana Lariviere and the management team in developing programs and acclimating to working with people in recovery by sharing his perspective.
“It was extremely helpful to see and feel the management team take that on, understand it, and work with it,” Geoff says.
As one of our business growth strategies, Chameleon had decided to work with people in recovery about six months before Geoff joined. He was the first employee in the Strafford County Drug Courts program, meaning he had to fulfill weekly obligations.
During this time, Geoff and the Chameleon team worked closely to ensure he could work as much as possible while meeting these requirements. He describes it as a learning experience for both parties and the foundation for their current program.
“The first thing that made me fall in love with this job was when I walked out the door, I could leave work behind,” Geoff says. He appreciates how work doesn’t follow him home. There’s no stressing over big projects and deadlines.
“Don’t get me wrong—it’s still sales, there is still that competitive [nature] and pressure, but it’s not pressure that follows me home. And that’s the most relieving feeling.”
Geoff explains this healthy environment allows him to come in and simply focus on doing his job well. Although he works hard while on the clock, he knows that at 5:00 p.m., he is free to live his life outside of work.
Who couldn’t go for some more work-life balance nowadays? Chameleon stresses a positive company culture to ensure our team’s well-being—a large part of this means having a life outside work.
“Because it’s a career instead of a job,” Geoff answers without hesitation.
He says that he wouldn’t just recommend Chameleon to anyone. For example, those looking just to get a check? Probably not the job for them.
“This is a career where you can make it what you want, to an extent,” Geoff explains. He notes that Dana and the management team are willing to provide the support and resources to empower their employees. All they ask in return is a job well done.
“It’s a really good partnership, but it doesn’t work for people who are just trying to [clock in and out]. If they’re not trying to grow, this isn’t a good job for them. This is a job where you want to be challenged, you want to move forward, you want to grow,” he continues.
Geoff highlights that job seekers fresh out of high school could even join the Chameleon team without going to school. Instead, they can build a career in sales and marketing as long as they apply themselves.
Chameleon also offers education assistance. Geoff is graduating with his associate’s degree in Business Administration in March, which Dana agreed to cover. Dana is a strong proponent of education and is open to discussing potential opportunities with employees.
What has Geoff’s time at Chameleon meant? “A sense of purpose.”
“It’s shown me that I love teaching and training and coaching. I knew I loved solving problems, but I never really put it in the context of seeing someone’s growth or development as a problem I need to solve. It’s like the ultimate puzzle to solve.”
One important skill he’s gained is training and teaching people in a style that works for them. Much of this, he says, has come from leading training programs, where he covers introductory sales topics and guides new reps on how to start a career in sales.
Geoff calls these trainings a crash course in psychology, in which new sales reps learn to appeal to the largest group of people possible, get further in their conversations, and gain a better chance to sell the problem they solve instead of the product. He conducts the sessions in person using an engaging approach to get his team involved and help them retain information.
When asked about what makes up a typical day for Geoff, he jokes, “My big morning coffee!”
Ok, but really, what does a career in sales look like?
On a more serious note, Geoff explains that he loves how every day is different and there are always new challenges. He says this keeps things fresh and interesting. “Being a problem-solver, I like better than repetition.”
Geoff says sales plus the Chameleon work environment are a great fit for people who like to change things up and want to get away from a job where they’re doing the same every day.
Perhaps his other favorite part of his job is the coaching, Geoff says. “I love being able to work with people. The most rewarding thing is seeing that light turn on when someone finally gets it!”
When asked what the most surprising thing a new hire will discover on Day one at Chameleon is, Geoff says, “How quickly people get comfortable. That’s what I’ve heard more often than not is that we’re super accepting and welcoming; everyone is friendly.”
Based on feedback he receives from about 50 to 60 new hires a year, Geoff says the consensus is that Chameleon has an atmosphere of wanting to help you get better—unlike other jobs where you receive your task and simply punch in and out with little support.
“It’s a very accepting, welcoming, and comfortable environment where no one feels out of place.”
We create this environment through team-building activities like our food days and Friday afternoon Slack trivia to extensive mental health and addiction recovery programs. All to show our team members that they have a community to rely on.
“When I’m coaching and teaching, I don’t just feel like I’m teaching someone how to do a task. I’m teaching them how to overcome problems, not just in this job but also to apply to life itself,” Geoff replies.
If you’re still asking, Is sales and marketing a good career? The short answer is yes!
As Geoff points out, Chameleon sales reps gain communication skills that they can carry across all aspects of their lives. He has seen trainees communicate more effectively after just a few training sessions and says it’s even helped him personally.
One rep Geoff trained has become a Sales Manager, with a few others moving up. His preferred style: Leading by example with an outside voice.
“I’ve failed in every way you can think of—and that’s kind of how I’ve figured out what works,” he says with a laugh.
Geoff reiterates, “This is a career, not just a job. It’s a fundamental change in the direction of your life if you want it to be.”
He explains that being a small New Hampshire business that works with very large corporations allows us to understand how our clients operate while still doing things our way. We don’t have to face bureaucracy and red tape. Geoff says this creates an interesting dynamic and makes the job fun.
Still not sure if you have the skills or confidence for a career in sales and marketing? “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!” Geoff encourages. He says new sales reps never cease to surprise him. Those who start off very quiet and reserved often soak up the information, start the job, and crush it. They may not seem like an exact fit for sales, but they excel at it because they can communicate.
“There are always going to be hurdles in life, but this is one that I think anyone can overcome,” Geoff concludes. “If you’re able to communicate and say a few words, that’s a great place to start!”
To learn more about the Chameleon Group and our available opportunities, let’s chat! We’d love to meet you and show you all we can offer you as part of our team.