When it comes to finding the optimal processes and products for end users, there’s no better perspective than to have been in their shoes before. Such is the case for 2024 Sales Leader Glen Huizenga, now a senior sales leader for Imperial Dade, Jersey City, New Jersey.   

Huizenga, who came from humble beginnings, worked for over seven years as the eventual lead custodian for Holland Christian High School in Michigan. He loved the work but is perpetually looking to learn new concepts and pursue new avenues. Intrigued at giving sales a shot, Huizenga eventually landed a position with Nichols — a distributor that would eventually become a division of Imperial Dade. 

Reflecting on the beginning of his sales journey, Huizenga credits his custodial background for helping him gain the respect of clients. That, and the insights he gained from reading authors such as Tom Hopkins and Napoleon Hill helped to hone his craft quickly in the sales realm.  

“Having been a custodian, I ran into almost every scenario that one could imagine,” says Huizenga. “That didn’t necessarily mean I always had the best solutions, but at least I could relate. I could reflect on my experiences, connect with the client, and ask ‘Hey, did you try this?’” 

Starting as an account manager at Nichols, Huizenga worked his way up, and after 12 years, he was promoted to the position of sales leader. Fast forward an additional 17 years and he finds himself as senior sales leader as of January 2023.  

While his responsibilities have shifted — roles that included IT sales management and personnel leadership — Huizenga’s favorite part of sales has remained consistent: getting to know the ins and outs of a customer’s situation and putting together a detailed gameplan for their success.  

“The preparation, the encouragement — I'm still a sales guy at heart, regardless of my additional responsibilities,” reflects Huizenga. “It’s like putting a puzzle together. You're constantly rearranging and working different pieces.”  

It’s a passion that he likes to share with other salespeople through the art of mentorship — a practice that not only helps others to improve their skills, but also helps him learn more about his own paths to improvement. Despite having 30 years in the industry, Huizenga is keenly aware that new approaches and perspectives can come from all tiers of experience. 

Among the most valuable lessons he’s learned through mentorship is the importance of letting every salesperson have their own approach. 

“Everyone needs to be an individual, and as a manager, I have to recognize that they're not all like me — they shouldn't be like me,” says Huizenga. “There's power in encouraging individuality.” 

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Sales Leaders 2024: Rob Novak Personifies a Team-First Approach