Every so often, our editorial staff selects one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better. Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator. In this installment of “5 Minutes With,” we get to know Brian Boland, chief sales officer and partner at Garage Guard by Evarts Tremaine.
What was your first job in the industry?
Well, this was my first job in the industry. I started when I was 26 back in 2004, and I’ve been here ever since. I was recruited to join and grow this program that I’m involved with, which I run now, when it was sort of in an infantile stage. There was a great opportunity to grow it. Also, there was a uniqueness with our trust with the insurance companies and our differentiation. I thought it was kind of a neat thing to get involved with, which is a little bit different than what you see out there in general agencies. To me, it was just more intriguing. The word insurance can kind of turn some people off and I understand it. I was coming from a sports marketing background prior to this, and it was a big change. But, then again, it was also pretty fun once I got into it, once I learned more of what it was all about.
What do you like best about your current position?
I think the thing I like best about it is you meet so many different business owners, all across different levels. It’s never the same. It’s really interesting to see in each demographic how each business owner runs their business, how it’s run depending on the climate, depending on the situation where they’re at and, you know, just helping them out. We now become a trusted advisor. They’ll call me and ask for advice on stuff that doesn’t necessarily relate to insurance because I’ve established that credibility with them. We’ve become more of a partner versus just a means to a policy. We become someone they can trust and bounce ideas off of, and we truly work together toward their goals. That part I think is really neat because I feel like I’m adding a lot of value. Being a part of their success is worth it in the long run.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
I think what keeps me going is the same thing that draws me to it. It’s always changing. It’s not static. There are always new ways to learn and grow. The industry is evolving, and those relationships keep going. I’ve had some customers now for as long as I’ve been in the industry — 17 years. It’s always nice to say “you’ve been with me” for that long, or they hand it off to their son or someone else and perpetuate their business and you’re still a part of that. There’s always something around the corner. That is keeping me intrigued and hopeful.
What do you do when not at work?
Well, No. 1, I’ve got two kids, a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old. So that keeps me extremely busy. My 10-year-old is really involved with sports and ice hockey. I help coach his ice hockey team and that takes up quite a bit of time. That’s a long season. It goes on and on. It never ends. Other than that, my wife and I like to play tennis. Sometimes, I try to play golf, but that’s not one of my strengths.
What one word best sums up your personality?
That is an interesting question. Using just one word is challenging, but I picked “intuitive” because I feel like I’m good at really being able to understand people and understand what they want, kind of the feel of the room. I feel like that is a strength of mine. I have this kind of uncanny way of knowing if something’s wrong. I can kind of feel it without actually asking that person. It’s one of those things that sometimes is really strong and gets to me. It can be a curse because you can take on other people’s energy so much so that it can affect you. But, I feel like that’s probably one characteristic why I think I’ve been successful at my job. I understand what people need without really having to dig deep.
What was your first car?
My first car was a green Jeep Wrangler. It was a used car. I bought it off a kid who was graduating from college. I had saved some money and my dad helped me out a little bit. It was the best car by far. I had it until the end of college. I just remember the feeling of when you get that first car being just incredible, especially when you work toward it. It was amazing.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished a book I’m really into. I’ve always been obsessed with Navy Seals and very crazy things that people have gone through and kind of a growth mindset. So, the last one I read is called “Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life,” by Brent Gleeson. It was really fascinating about what he went through in his training, his challenges in life and how people can get through it by shifting their mindset. I always seem to be intrigued by how these guys do it and their mental toughness.
Favorite quote, mantra or motto?
This actually kind of goes with that book I was reading, but I love it being that I’m in sales. It is: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. I think it’s something that everybody can apply because the more you get comfortable being uncomfortable, the more you’ll take risks that apply to growth. And, the more you will get yourself out of your comfort zone and enjoy life, hopefully not having as many regrets when it’s all said and done.