Craig Chrest is a highly accomplished professional with over 30 years of experience. With a remarkable career spanning over 12 years in the medical capital equipment sales industry, Chrest has established himself as an expert in sales strategies, performance optimization, and effective team management. Chrest began his career after earning a degree in Journalism with a major in Mass Communication and a minor in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Armed with a solid educational background, he dove into medical capital equipment sales, where he quickly excelled and developed a passion for helping others achieve their full potential. Throughout his career, Mr. Chrest has honed his skills as a top performer and has gained invaluable insights into managing individuals to maximize their performance. He firmly believes in empowering his team members by providing guidance, mentorship, and practical tips to help them excel. Chrest’s ability to inspire and motivate others has contributed significantly to the success of the teams he has managed.
In addition to his sales and team management expertise, he is also an entrepreneur and a seasoned Talent Acquisition Manager. His extensive experience and keen eye for identifying and recruiting top talent have been instrumental in building high-performing teams within the organizations he has worked with. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Chrest is a dedicated philanthropist passionate about giving back to his community. He has volunteered as a youth football and baseball coach, mentoring numerous kids through Texas high school and college football. He has also devoted his time to mentoring children with learning disabilities, assisting them in overcoming challenges and reaching their full potential. He and his children have also volunteered with Meals on Wheels, providing essential assistance to older individuals in their community. Outside of his professional and philanthropic endeavors, Chrest cherishes spending time with his children.
How did you get started in this career?
I entered this profession over 30 years ago after completing my education in Mass Communication with a minor in Marketing. I joined a reputable company as a sales representative and quickly developed a passion for the industry. As I gained expertise, I transitioned into a leadership role, focusing on managing and developing a high-performing sales team.
How do you make money?
My income primarily comes from commissions and bonuses based on my sales performance. By effectively managing and developing my team members, I help them maximize their performance, contributing to overall sales growth and increasing our earnings.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
In my profession, the timeline for becoming profitable can vary depending on the industry, product complexity, and individual skill development. In my case, it took me a few months to establish a strong foundation and understand the nuances of the medical equipment industry. I learned early on that the key to achieving profitability lies in personal performance and in effectively managing and coaching my team members to maximize their own performance and drive overall success. This helped increase our profits.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
There were certainly times when I questioned whether I could succeed in this demanding and competitive field. To handle these doubts, I sought guidance and support from experienced mentors in the industry. Their insights and encouragement helped me gain perspective and navigate challenges more effectively. I also focused on continuous learning and self-improvement. This commitment to personal and professional development boosted my confidence and expanded my knowledge base, enabling me to provide better guidance to my team members. I also maintained a positive mindset and surrounded myself with a strong support network. Sharing experiences and challenges with people who understood the sales profession helped me overcome doubts and stay motivated.
Do you remember how you got your first job?
Sure! Getting my first job was an exciting time. I researched, tailored my resume, and reached out to my network for potential leads. Through networking, I landed a job with a great medical equipment company. It was a mix of preparation and connections that helped me secure that opportunity.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
One of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make professionally was transitioning from being an individual sales representative to a managerial role. It was a significant decision because it meant stepping away from the comfort of what I was already successful at and taking on the responsibility of managing and developing a team.
I carefully evaluated the pros and cons, considering factors such as my passion for mentoring others, the potential to make a broader impact, and the opportunities for personal growth. Ultimately, I chose to embrace the challenge and accepted the managerial position.
While it was a difficult decision, it turned out to be incredibly rewarding. Managing a team allowed me to leverage my sales expertise to help others succeed and maximize their performance. It also provided me with new insights into leadership, communication, and strategic decision-making. That decision to transition into a managerial role has been pivotal in my professional journey.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
One marketing strategy that has proven to be highly effective for me is utilizing social media platforms strategically. Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, and leveraging its power can significantly impact business growth.
Through social media, I focus on creating engaging and valuable content that resonates with my target audience. I also share industry insights, success stories, and tips for sales and performance, which have positioned me as a trusted expert and helped me build credibility among potential clients. Additionally, I leverage targeted advertising on social media platforms to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to my website or landing pages.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I advise my younger self to cultivate a growth mindset and believe in my ability to learn, adapt, and improve. I would embrace challenges and view them as personal and professional growth opportunities. I also advise my younger self to build a strong network and recognize the importance of building meaningful relationships with colleagues, mentors, and industry professionals.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am successful because I possess deep industry knowledge. I have invested time and effort in understanding the complexities of the industry. This knowledge allows me to provide valuable insights and solutions to my clients, positioning me as a trusted advisor. I also have strong interpersonal and communication skills. Building relationships and effectively communicating with clients and colleagues is essential in my field. I prioritize active listening, empathy, and clear communication to understand and address the needs of my clients, fostering trust and long-term partnerships.
What has been your most satisfying moment in your field?
My most satisfying moment is when I see my team members succeed and achieve their goals. Witnessing their growth, development, and achievements as a result of my mentorship and support brings me great joy. It is truly rewarding to know that I have played a part in their professional journey and contributed to their success.
What does the future hold for your career? What are you most excited about?
I plan to continue honing my skills as a leader and expanding my expertise in the industry. I aim to take on more significant leadership roles where I can guide and inspire teams to achieve outstanding results. I believe that my experience and insights can greatly contribute to the growth and success of the organizations I work with.
What excites me the most is the chance to develop and implement strategies that will empower my team members to maximize their performance. I find great fulfillment in helping others reach their full potential and exceed their goals. By leveraging my knowledge and experience, I can mentor and coach individuals, identify their strengths, and provide them with the tools and support they need to excel.
What business books have inspired you?
There are so many, but here are some of my favorites “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. This book introduced the concept of the Challenger Sales Model, which emphasizes the importance of bringing valuable insights and challenging customers’ thinking. It taught me how to engage with customers more meaningfully and provided strategies for driving success in complex sales environments.
“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins: This book delves into the factors that differentiate great companies from their competitors. It explores the importance of disciplined leadership, a culture of excellence, and the relentless pursuit of improvement. It inspired me to strive for greatness and continuously raise the bar in my own career.
Are you willing to be a mentor?
I am willing to take on a mentoring role and support others in their professional growth. I believe in fostering a collaborative and empowering environment where team members can thrive.