Steve Ziemke built a 20-year career in insurance before becoming a leader in oil and gas investments with Gulf Coast Western. Though the industries seem totally different, Ziemke realized sales was his true passion. His insurance roles honed skills that prepared him for new challenges.
Ziemke started in sales at California Casualty before being promoted to state and national management positions. He improved the company’s customer service and efficiency. Though it wasn’t easy, Ziemke focused on thinking positively and developing his leadership abilities.
When changes in insurance signaled it was time for a new path, Ziemke saw oil and gas investments were the right fit for his background. Making the jump to a new industry proved challenging, but Ziemke leaned on sales fundamentals. “I made sure I was on the phone enough and worked hard to make it happen,” he explains.
Key lessons shaped his success. Ziemke constantly sharpens his sales and communication skills through coaching and recording his pitches. He also structures his time efficiently, categorizing calls and tackling unpleasant tasks first. Trying new sales techniques and getting feedback, even if uncomfortable, helps him improve.
“Going the extra mile is what has helped me learn the necessary skills to gain a foothold and develop my career,” Ziemke says. Though insurance and oil and gas seem very different, core sales principles paved the way for Ziemke’s growth as a leader.