Graham Robbins talks about buying his daughter a horse, owning your mistakes, the “heart” of his business, and our industry’s game-changer.
We took some time to chat with Graham Robbins, one of our star Brand Consultants, who has been with Boundless for the past seven years. During that time, Graham has not only seen his business grow tremendously, but he has also been able to devote time to his family by maintaining a flexible work schedule. Read on to find out how Graham has leveraged the strength of his team and the Boundless advantage to bring his business to new levels.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from? What are your hobbies/personal interests?
I was born and raised in Fort Worth, TX. Just about all of my free time is devoted to my three children—they are eight, ten, and eleven. I enjoy doing what they do: from baseball with my sons to riding horses with my daughter. I’ve been married for thirteen years. I’m very passionate about my marriage, and I believe in the importance of personal relationships and doing whatever it takes to make them work and put them first.
How did you get into the promotional products business? What do you like about it?
I got into the business because I was a salesman in a very volatile industry – oil and gas. I met a guy named Chris who owned his own promotions company and was looking to expand. He offered me a job, and since I was looking for something more stable I agreed, and found out that I love this industry. It’s the fun part of sales. Then Chris joined Boundless in 2008, and joining this company has given me amazing technology options to grow my business.
I like that I get to work from home – I love the flexibility. My work is not nine to five—it’s whenever people need me. It’s a part of my life, and thereby is a part of my family’s life. Instead of seeing it as me doing a job, I see it as part of who we are. Work provides us the opportunity to do life as a family together. I believe family is so important, and this business affords me the opportunity to be dad.
What is your secret to building relationships with your clients?
Building relationships with clients is personally handling the stakes. The idea is we want to put our clients’ best foot forward. Everyone we deal with typically answers to someone. Our goal is to give them the tools and resources to position themselves in the best way possible to whoever they report to. When we make a mistake we personally handle that mistake. Good or bad we want to be heavily involved. The secret is owning your mistakes and helping people succeed. It also helps to answer the phone every time it rings
What professional goals do you set for yourself and how do you achieve them?
My professional goals are to create a business that provides for everyone involved. We accomplish that by bringing on good people to manage good business.
You manage a team of four people. What do you think is the most important quality of a good manager?
[Laughs] The most important quality of being a good manager is being able to identify good people. The business is good because of my amazing team: Theresa, Melissa, Beth, Morgan—they are the heart. They are the reason we do good business—because they are good people. I have to establish good relationships with clients, but that’s where I stop and they take over. It’s not all about me. I’m having this conversation with you, but they are managing the business. They are being relational and doing what it takes as we speak.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
I think, as an industry, we can easily get caught up in a “best product” model only. With this mentality we compete on idea and price, leaving us with the mindset that we are only as good as our last order. Our team is focusing on how best to engage the employee, the prospect, and the current customer, not with just great ideas, but an overall experience that creates positive and lasting emotional tie in.
What has been the biggest game changer in the promotional products industry in your time as a sales partner?
Boundless. The ability to do what we do. Not just managing spend, but leveraging Boundless technology to smoke the competition. We have the power of the Portal. Anyone can sell a promotional product. But what they can’t do is show their client/prospect what we can do with our online platform that connects buyers and gives them deeper insights into their promotional activity.
Any closing remarks?
Boundless is great. My people are even better. I’m just the guy with my name on the board, but my team is the reason. [Laughing] They are “the wind beneath my wings,” if I may quote the great Bette Midler. I can’t stress that enough.