Andy Brahms may be company president of Armchem International Corp., but he is a salesman at heart. Still today he carries a worn-out copy of Dale Carnegie’s “Golden Book.” 

Brahms wants his salespeople always calling on accounts, knocking on doors and prospecting for new business. Success is measured by how many accounts you can open. He learned this from his father, Barry.

A former marine drill sergeant and boot camp instructor in the Korean War, Barry was very strict and disciplined. He applied his disposition to his job as president of Kem Canada.

“My dad could open four to six accounts every day,” says Andy. “I learned sales from my father. I talked to my father every day about sales.”

Barry got Andy a sales position at Kem during summers off in college.
“I worked hard at it,” he says. “I was afraid to show my father I couldn’t do it.”

Sales takes discipline. Faced with constant rejection, it’s easy to give up on the day. But that mentality won’t bring success. Andy learned that at a young age.

One day while selling for Kem, Andy left work an hour early because family friends were visiting. However, since Andy hadn’t made a sale that day, his dad wouldn’t let him in the house. Instead, Barry went upstairs, put his suit back on and took Andy back out selling. Barry made a sale at his first stop.
“Afterward my dad told me, ‘You cheated me, you cheated the company and you cheated yourself. Do it again and you’re fired,’” says Andy. “That taught me, in order to be successful, you need to treat it as a career.”

Just as Barry was a mentor to his son, Andy tries to be the same for his employees. Every day he leaves a motivational message or lesson via voicemail for the sales and support staff.

“People always need a good coach,” says Andy. “You need someone to be     accountable to. Otherwise, they drop their guard, get in a rut.”

Since 1993, Barry has worked at Armchem International Corp., recruiting new salespeople. But even if he didn’t work there, Andy would still think back to the lessons his dad taught him. 

“Every time I need to make a decision, it’s like my dad is on my shoulder,”  he says.

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