By Amelia Zwecher
SEMA Career Center sat down with Rick Hogan, a job seeker and aftermarket enthusiast, to discuss his career aspirations. Following a recent feature about Hogan’s life-changing accident in 2011, in which he fell from the roof of his home in Orlando, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, SEMA eNews decided to further spotlight his extensive experience, successes and drive to stay in the aftermarket industry.
Below is an interview with Hogan that was conducted in November 2016.
SEMA eNews: Are you seeking part-time or full-time work? What kind of company are you looking to work for?
Rick Hogan: I am looking for full-time, but would consider consulting for multiple companies each taking a portion of my time. Start-up to medium is where I thrive ($0 to $20 million). But depending on the company, I would be open to any opportunity.
SEMA eNews: How adept are you at using technology to communicate?
Hogan: I am a highly trained individual and technologically savvy. I strongly believe that I am equally efficient using technologies, such as video conferencing, telephone, numerous software applications and via email.
SEMA eNews: Why should a company hire you?
Hogan: I have experience in the automotive aftermarket in sales and marketing in every channel with contacts and relationships with vice presidents of purchasing, category managers and buyers at nearly all mass merchandisers, performance warehouses, traditional warehouse distributors and automotive retailers in the United States and Canada. I understand how to build teams, generate sales and create demand through marketing, editorial and advertising.
SEMA eNews: Why do you want to work in the automotive industry?
Hogan: I have a passion for all things automotive and anything with an engine. This industry is my home, my friends, and all I know.
SEMA eNews: What kind of opportunity are you specifically seeking?
Hogan: I want to work as a consultant or direct employee, ideally with a small- to medium-sized company in sales and marketing. If I could pick a direct product, it would be in the performance segment of the aftermarket.
SEMA eNews: Please provide specific stats on your sales quotas at your current/previous jobs and the plan you used to meet the quotas.
Hogan: I have sold products from window handles, door knobs, fan belts, radiator hoses, import auto parts, seat covers, floor mats, decals and spark plugs. I have used my years of relationships and built trust with key accounts and buyers to sell and promote products. I utilized relationships with public-relations contacts and editors to secure editorial and help create demand for products.
SEMA eNews: What challenges are you looking for in a position?
Hogan: I love to take unknown products or companies to the aftermarket. I enjoy the challenge of selling products that someone else could not do.
SEMA eNews: Describe the most difficult sales call you have made.
Hogan: Wow! In almost 35 years of selling it is hard to pinpoint one particular hard sale. One that comes to mind was selling E3 Spark Plugs to CSK, now owned by O’Reilly Auto Parts. I was so persistent, the buyer said he appreciated my enthusiasm and follow up but to please back off for a while. I sold him 60 days later. We are now friends.
SEMA eNews: How do you handle the negotiation phase?
Hogan: I love face-to-face, in-person sales calls or Skype. I like for the customer to feel I am an expert in my category, my product and always have the authority to say yes or no. I want enough information about costs and pricing to make a fair, long-lasting and profitable business relationship for both parties.