Isbert Bermudez is the Regional Sales Manager for Latin America for an international manufacturing company with a primary focus on technology. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Isbert received his undergraduate degree at the University of Carabobo in Valencia. He earned his Master’s in International Business in Spain in 2009. In 2006, Isbert moved to Orange County, California where he has successfully managed a large region for his company.
His love for learning and experiencing different cultures is what set Isbert on this path. A true people person, he loves traveling to new places and meeting new people. He provides sales and support in an area that has experienced political and economic issues over the years, yet has developed and maintained relationships with many Fortune 500 companies including Chrysler and GM.
In his free time, Isbert enjoys sports including soccer and baseball. He also enjoys traveling for leisure and has recently started practicing yoga.
How did you get started in the business? What inspired you to start in this business?
I have always had an interest in other cultures. That led me to pursue my Masters in International Business. I wanted to be involved in an industry that allowed me to work with different people in different parts of the world. I have been lucky to be able to use my degree in such an interesting field. I am the sales manager for the Latin America region and I work with several accounts that include multinational companies, such as Walmart and Chrysler.
My role is to develop new business and create partnerships in my region. I do this by attending trade shows and building business to business relationships. I also provide support to anyone who works with us and my team is there to help promote the products. We create marketing campaigns, answer any questions our partners have, and make sure they have the tools to be successful.
How do you make money?
I work for a corporation, so I am paid for my time and effort. I manage sales and distributions for the region. I also earn a commission for the sales I complete.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I have been very successful in my sales. My first account took about three or four months to close and I have closed multiple sales since then. Each partner I approach and work with gives me more experience and increases my knowledge. I love that I am able to meet with so many different people. It gives me the opportunity to learn more and to grow.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
When I moved to Orange County, I had some concerns. Not in my ability, but in how to present myself in the industry. I was still new to this country and it was a new culture for me. I was focusing on being as educated and as aggressive business-wise as I could be. I handled the change by rising to the challenge. I just kept going, learning as much as I could.
How did you get your first customer?
The company I work for has been around for more than thirty years. We are given leads and we contact them. We do sales presentations and keep an open communication with them throughout the process. It’s a lot of legwork and phone calls. You have to put in the work to get the sales, though, and I thoroughly enjoy all of it. I love the challenge of engaging new partners and working to suit their needs.
What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that you’re using to generate new business?
We use the internet a lot. It’s how business is done these days, really. We also do promotions and cold calling to new leads. We frequent trade shows to promote our products, which allows us exposure to potential partners. The idea is to reach as many companies as possible. Industry specific magazines are still useful, though we have primarily gone digital. We use email blasts also.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
There have been times that we have had to deal with product quality issues. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen frequently, but when it has we have made sure to keep our partners up to date on the situation. We have had to stop using certain distributors because of this, and that is never an easy process to go through. The most important thing is keeping our clients informed and ensuring that they have the highest quality product. We want the end-user to be satisfied with their purchase.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I build great relationships with our partners. I am sure to respond in a timely manner. I don’t waste anyone’s time. Our partners look to me to provide resolutions and depend on our open communication. Being available and working with them to find solutions or answer questions has helped me be more successful. Sales really comes down to the relationships that you maintain with your clients. When they know they can trust your judgment and that you make them a priority, they will seek you out. Being mindful of their time and needs is something I do very well.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Closing big accounts is always satisfying, but the day to day is enjoyable for me too. My love for other cultures and how they do business is like a constant learning experience for me. I get to see how each different company I work with approaches their challenges and that helps me learn new ideas. I am in a position that I truly love and that by itself is satisfying.
What does the future hold for you? What are you most excited about?
I am excited about new technologies that are emerging in our industry. Everything changes so fast and I love to learn about all of it. You have to stay updated in order to be a contender in this industry. My primary focus is on technology so all the advancements there tend to excite me. Products we are introducing now may be obsolete in four or five years because we advance so quickly these days. That just means down the line, I will be promoting those products instead. It is a nonstop learning process.
What business books have inspired you?
I like to read biographies more than how-to books. I have read Lee Iacocca’s biography about how he started and grew his business. He was an engineer who moved into sales, so reading about how he accomplished it has been inspirational for me.
What is a recent purchase you have made that helped with your business?
We have a trade show next month and have been preparing for that. The purchases I’ve made to get ready are going to bring in more sales for us.