Dan Jenne talks about his passion for the promotional products industry and how he took a leap of faith and opened his own distributor business to be able to spend more time with his daughter.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Dan Jenne, a Sales Affiliate who has been with Boundless for the past two years and in the industry for a total of 18 years! But Dan’s life isn’t all about business―he plays drums in an alternative rock band and spends every other moment he can with his daughter. Read on to learn more about Dan!
Tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from?
I’m from Nashua, New Hampshire and moved to the Myrtle Beach area in 2004. My daughter McKenzie was born in 2005 and I have lived here ever since.
What are your hobbies or personal interests?
I enjoy reading, playing tennis, and cooking. I’m a drummer in a band called Rhombus (follow us on Facebook!), and we play all over the Myrtle Beach area at bars, parties, and restaurants. I’ve always had a strong passion for music, and have been playing the drums since I was 15 years old.
How did you get into the promotional products business?
My foray into the promotional products business is actually an interesting story. My uncle owned one of the first promotional products roadshows, Discovery Marketing Associates, Inc. In 1997 his roadshow concept was becoming increasingly popular and business was picking up. He asked me to help move show materials and drive exhibitors from city-to-city as well as set up and manage the shows. So, I began traveling every other week to different regions of the country. As the company grew, I made friends, developed relationships with suppliers and distributors, and continued to learn about the industry.
In 2004 the Discovery Marketing roadshow ended its run, and I decided to make a shift to the supplier side. For the next five years I covered North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee as the regional Bullet Line rep. The company grew tremendously, and as the management and structure changed with the birth of PolyConcept, my passion and interest in the traveling gig faded. My daughter is basically my world–I never want to miss a sports game, a school meeting, or anything else that involves her youth. I knew it was time for a change.
All the distributor salespeople or owners that I had met while working with Bullet Line were making a good living working from home. So I took a leap of faith and decided to switch to the distributor side to launch my own company (CMG/Carolina Marketing Group) which I started from my bedroom with a business license, a phone, a fax machine, and a computer. I brought on a couple employees and sales people in the years following. In 2013 I spoke with a recruiter for Boundless, a contact in the industry I had known for years, and that lead me to working here. To sum it up, I have gone from the tradeshow side, to the supplier side and then to the distributor side, all over the course of 18 years in the industry.
What professional goals do you set for yourself and how do you achieve them?
My professional goals are to maximize the potential for business and growth with every client, and to always be looking out for new business. Ideally, I want to grow to the point where I can sell it or hand it over to McKenzie when she gets older, if she’s interested. I make it a point to read and stay on top of industry trends. I make little notes that I post all over my office, and talk to myself a lot about goals and values. Visualizing and believing in what you’re striving for is very important for achieving your goals.
What is your secret to building relationships with your clients?
In some ways, being a good salesperson can be taught. But when it comes down to it, either you can do it or you can’t and I truly believe that much of it depends on your genuine personality. There are “learned” sales methods and people skills, and there is a natural way. I have always had a knack for being able to read people, which helps me to quickly get on the same page as others.
What has been the biggest game changer in the promotional products industry?
The technology. When I started in the industry you still had to send in your camera-ready artwork slicks to the suppliers via snail mail. The technology and capabilities of Boundless’ Portal and Portal Stores create much more opportunities to gain new business.
What drew you to Boundless?
I was talking to several companies, but it was the conversation I had with the recruiter at Boundless that really made my decision―I was very impressed with Boundless and the entire team after visiting Austin in late summer 2013.
What had initially led me to Boundless was the technology they offer and the fact that I was looking for another avenue to free up my time so that I didn’t have to do all of the office administration duties. I was working too much “in” my business instead of working “on” my business.
I see and hear a lot from other companies in the industry and there is no one as aggressive as Boundless when it comes to pursuing technology in addition to maintaining the priority of developing personal relationships.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience?
I can’t imagine meeting better people than those I have met in this industry. I also really appreciate the educational opportunities offered by PPAI and its regional associations. I have been actively involved with PPAI and the regional groups throughout my time in the industry, serving as President and on the Board of CAAMP (Carolina Association of Advertising and Marketing Professionals) as well as RAC (Regional Association Council,) which brings industry professionals together for a variety of networking, educational, and professional events.
All in all, I feel very grateful to be where I am today!