EPISODE 569: Motivating Sales Professionals Right Now with Bradley Van Kleeck

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This podcast, sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales featured an interview with Bradley Van Kleeck, Vice President of Business Development at JK Moving. JK Moving is a 2022 IES Premier Sales Employer. Read more about the distinguished Premier Sales Employer designation here.

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BRADLEY’S TIP: “Remain coachable, keep an open mind no matter where you’re at in your sales career. You need to be flexible in your thinking and your strategy. Don’t be afraid to lean on those trusted advisors and leaders around you during any situation.”


Fred Diamond: Every year, the Institute for Excellence in Sales recognizes some companies as what we call Premier Sales Employers. JK Moving has been recognized as an IES Institute for Excellence in Sales Premier Sales Employer for three years and they were most recently recognized in 2022. Bradley, congratulations. We’re talking today with Bradley Van Kleeck of JK Moving and we’re going to be talking about what entails a company, what makes a company a premier sales employer. Let’s just get started with that. It’s great to see you. JK Moving is an IES Premier Sales Employer, congratulations. What does it mean to be recognized as a premier sales employer for sales professionals?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Fred, thanks so much. Good morning, appreciate you having me on today. For us, this distinction means that we’re viewed as an organization that develops, promotes, and commits to a successful sales process. That our level of recruitment, retention, and mentorship has really allowed us to establish an elite group of sales professionals within our industry. This designation is something that we’re very proud of.

Fred Diamond: Let’s get right to it. Tell us a little bit about JK Moving. You and I are both based in the Washington DC area and for people who live near the DC area, Maryland, Virginia and the United States, we have listeners all over the world, it’s not uncommon to drive anywhere and see either a huge JK Moving truck that’s moving a company from place to place, either within a city or wherever it might be. You see smaller trucks all over the place, all over the DC area beltway. Give us a little bit of an insight into what JK Moving does.

Bradley Van Kleeck: We’re a global mobility and relocation firm headquartered here in Dulles, Virginia, our footprint really reaches well beyond that. We’re not only supporting our clients here during their corporate transitions within the DC market, but we’re being asked to do projects not only domestically around the United States, but also globally. We’re helping those companies in transition, whether that be downsizing, going to a new office space and that’s something that we’re very proud of, and then we’ve seen tremendous growth on the past couple years.

Fred Diamond: What exactly is JK Moving? What exactly does it do to become an attractive destination for sales professionals? A lot of the other companies that have reached the IES Premier Sales Employer level are in technology, companies like that. You’re the only company that does these types of relocation and moving services. Why would this be an attractive destination for sales professionals?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Fred, it really starts for us with a defined onboarding process for new hires, whether you’re an industry veteran or somebody just starting out their sales career. We’ve really developed a curriculum that gives them a pathway to success within the organization and we want to focus on what their role is as sales professionals, and how we interact with each and every other department within our division, whether that be customer service, operations, accounting. We all want to be in alignment there to really make sure that our customers are experiencing the best relocation experience possible along their journey. Beyond that, we have an extensive training program. We focus on industry specific training, both internally through our mentorship program as well as externally and bringing in subject matter experts to help develop concepts.

Fred Diamond: We’re doing today’s interview in the fall of 2022 and I’m curious, how are things going right now for the commercial sales organization? We’re still in a process where not everyone has been back to an office, a lot of people haven’t been in their office in close to two and a half years now, Bradley, and you guys are in the business in a lot of cases of moving offices from one place to another. How are things going in the sales organization right now? Knowing what we’ve just come through, how’s the transactions and transition been?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Currently, Fred, it’s been great for us right now. The pandemic has taught us a lot of lessons, there were some very uncertain and scary times globally for everybody. Our team, we had to come to more of a collaborative out of the box approach and thinking to try to keep our crews busy, and maintain the revenue goals that we set forth each and every year. I’m actually happy to report that in both June, July, and August of this year, we just recorded top three highest revenue months in our division’s corporate history. Things certainly seem to be trending in the right direction right now.

Fred Diamond: What are salespeople looking for? One of the reasons that The Institute for Excellence in Sales created The Premier Sales Employer program was to help sales professionals looking for a new opportunity or considering a new opportunity or for kids coming out of college with a degree in sales or marketing or business find a premier place to go work. What do you think salespeople are looking for right now?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Fred, for us, what we’re seeing in our candidates that are coming in for interviews is that, equally important as a generous compensation package is that they really want to align themselves with an organization where they feel valued and respected. Our brand promise at JK is you will be treated with care and respect. That mutual respect baseline is upfront and demonstrated from the get-go. Beyond that, they really want to know that they matter at the end of the day, that their opinions matter, and if you can surround them with the tools and the training that they’re going to need to be successful, then I think you’re ahead of the curve there.

Fred Diamond: What should companies be doing right now to attract this top talent? You talked about some of the mission and things like that. How should companies be communicating? What are some of the things they should have in place to attract this top talent?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Piggybacking off my previous statement there, exceptional success really requires an exceptional environment. If you’re able to create that positive work culture where people really feel part of something bigger than themselves, then you’ve got a leg out there. Sales is often viewed as an individual profession. If you can create an environment where people can develop and improve upon their skills and talents in more of a team approach, that really boosts morale across the board. Generally speaking, I don’t think people like to let their peers or colleagues down. Everyone is working towards a common goal with a clear vision, then everyone can really become the best versions of themselves, which hopefully translates to success, both individually and collectively.

Fred Diamond: Let’s talk about leadership. You are a leader at JK Moving. The great sales organizations have great leaders, what are leaders doing right now? What are some of the characteristics that they have to ensure that they continue to be great leaders for their teams?

Bradley Van Kleeck: To quote a former colleague of mine, the first and foremost characteristic of great leadership is to create more leaders. Speaking from personal experience this certainly is true. As I became a more senior rep within the organization, I really felt an intrinsic thing to become a mentor to some of the junior reps as they came on board. I’ve always been able to lean on great leaderships myself, and mentors that have been able to offer me that guidance, but also allowed me that latitude to put my own personal spin and personality into a training session.

What that really established for me is that baseline of trust. Trust is the most vital characteristic of any leader. Trust in its simplest definition is consistency over time and if you can demonstrate that in the shortest amount of time, then you’ll have a team that will follow your vision, and really commit themselves to the cause for the greater good of the organization.

Fred Diamond: What are some of the biggest challenges you face right now to remain premier? There’s so many things that have happened over the last couple of years and obviously, things like The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffle, unemployment is actually quite low right now, it’s still tough to find great performers. It’s always been a challenge, that’s why the mission of The Institute for Excellence in Sales is to help sales organizations, employers attract, retain, motivate and elevate top tier sales talent. What are some of the biggest challenges you face to remain as a premier sales employer?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Great question, Fred. We certainly see this as a challenge, we try to embrace that. We have a responsibility as an organization to just continually refine our sales process without really compromising our guiding principles, and the why of what we’re trying to do at the end of the day. All great organizations are continuing to evolve, and to try to stay several steps ahead of the competition. At JK we’ve always thrived on being the disruptor in our industry and if we can continue to do that, the future is bright for us.

Fred Diamond: Before I ask you for your final action step, I have one last question. Bradley, what are sales professionals expecting? We’ve touched on this a little bit, but in a lot of cases, it really is a buyers’ market. Sales professionals can go to wherever they choose, wherever inspires them. What are they expecting from you as they consider moving on to JK?

Bradley Van Kleeck: Honestly, Fred, I don’t think the sales professionals aren’t expecting really much more than any other employee would be expecting from their employer. What I think needs to be there is really a strong belief in the product or service that you’re going to be ultimately selling, that needs to be there first and foremost. If you have that, coupled with that sense of value and humility, and that you can make a difference at the end of the day and that all the tools are there for you to thrive, then I think you really created an atmosphere where any sales professional should be able to succeed.

Fred Diamond: Once again, Bradley, thank you so much for all the insights you shared today. I want to acknowledge JK Moving. Like you mentioned in the beginning, it is a tremendous employer, they do so much for the community, sustainable farming as well, things that you typically wouldn’t think. Chuck and the Kuhn family obviously has done a tremendous job, giving back. As a matter of fact, I’m involved with an organization called the Northern Virginia Family Service, and they have an award every year called the Care Awards, and I know that JK has been a recipient of those awards as well.

It’s always a fun thing seeing the trucks zipping around the beltway, and wherever you look almost it seems like there’s a JK Moving truck somewhere in your sight of vision driving around DC. Give us one final action step. You’ve given us a couple of great ideas here already, but give us one specific final action step sales reps should do right now to take their sales career to the next level.

Bradley Van Kleeck: My personal advice, Fred, would be remain coachable, keep an open mind no matter where you’re at in your sales career. You need to be flexible in your thinking and your strategy. Last but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to lean on those trusted advisors and leaders around you during any situation, would be my final piece of advice.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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