Episode 17 – Flying Paper Planes

It’s interesting how an adverse situation can set you on a new path in life. And sometimes, upon reflection, it seems that the new path was the right one for you all along.

This is what happened to my guest, David Harrison, CEO of The Essential Group.

David grew up watching aviation shows as a kid, and all he wanted was to be a pilot. When we finished school, he got qualified and was ready to hit the skies.

And that’s when the airline industry crashed to a halt in Australia.

Suddenly, David’s goal in life was no longer viable and he had to take a different path.

That path led him to a sales role with Fuji Xerox and he quickly found that was his new calling.

David now owns Essential Solutions Australia, a company he set up with his wife Tara from the lounge room of his family home. Originally a photocopier and printer sales business, but now has evolved into a multifaceted business that offers a range of client-focused services to help with documentation, marketing, print and software solutions.

Moving from aviation to printer sales was a massive change. But for David, it was the best change he ever made.

“I am 100% a salesperson,” David proudly says.

David is the perfect mix of technical nous and people skills. It is that pairing that has led him to be so successful in his career in sales.

Instead of focussing on the solutions, David’s approach was to identify the core issues that his clients were experiencing.

David’s innate people skills quickly led him to understand that businesses require more than “one-dimensional” solutions simply offered around hardware.

Using his tech know-how, he could help clients identify gaps in their business and match their needs to solutions that will help their businesses grow.

This changed the game for his sales and his records went through the roof. And, his deep understanding of his clients and the technical aspects of the products has also helped his business stay relevant to the market over the years.

David now has the opportunity to focus on his other passion; helping people.

“If you can teach someone something that helps them be better at what they do… and that means that somebody then passes that on to someone else, then that’s a good thing.”

He now shares his skills and experience with others, through mentoring other small businesses, not-for-profit, and faith-based businesses.

So, it’s fair to say that while David still loves aviation, he’s happy about his decision to fly paper aeroplanes instead.

Find out more about David’s approach to people first sales in Episode 17 of It’s Never About Money.

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