Burns is a third-generation Colorado native, born in Boulder County and a graduate of Loveland High School. As regional sales director for PCI Broadband, Burns covers ground along the Front Range from Pueblo to Colorado Springs and Denver.
What attracted you to your career field?
In high school, I was chosen to be the chief webmaster for my school. I had a passion for computers and an up-and-coming thing called the Internet. Then about 10 years ago, one of my mentors called me up and told me that I would be great at sales. I laughed at him and told him that I hated sales people. Years later, having won numerous sales competitions and awards, many of my loyal clients would beg to differ with that statement.
What are some of the challenges you face? How do you meet those challenges?
Being in sales allows me the opportunity to meet many new people. One of my main challenges with meeting new people is staying in touch with them all on a consistent and regular basis. The main goal of any sales professional is to be “top of mind” for their particular industry. With all of the competition and mass marketing in my industry, it sometimes can make that difficult.
How important is community involvement to you? How do you encourage other young professionals to become involved?
One of my mantras and goals has been to serve my community. Don’t tell my past managers this, but years ago, I made a decision to trade my cold-calling efforts in for volunteering. All of the sales books and training I received taught me that people want to do business with people that they like, know and trust. Well, I wasn’t making a lot of friends by simply knocking on their door or blindly calling them on the phone. Now, if anyone knows me, they know that I’m not afraid to meet someone new or pick up the phone. But I made a decision to simply stop cold-calling and to get involved with as much of my community as I possibly could. I wanted to meet every business professional in town.
Serving my community may have started out as a means-to-an-end to grow my business, but it soon grew to become much more. By getting involved, I began to meet and surround myself with people who were passionate about our city. Over the years, I have had the privilege to meet people who have changed my life and had an impact on my life. People like Cindy Fowler. Cindy taught me a lot about life, community and business. She taught me that they were all the same; they were together. You can’t do one without the other — it’s all connected.
This idea is one that I think many young professionals miss or fail to learn in their younger years. I selfishly stumbled upon this concept because I wanted to make more sales. I have learned now that it’s more like the circle of life for business. Just like many things, there needs to be a balance between new and old, give and take. Life requires us to plant new seeds in order for new life to be born. Some people like to call this karma but I believe it’s what life requires of us all. Too often we decide what we want or need from our leaders or community, when actually we should be asking what we can give or provide them instead.
What would you change about Colorado Springs, if you could?
It’s easy for us to look at our city and complain that we don’t have this or that we need that. Do I think that we need to invest in downtown and that we could use a convention center, amphitheater, outdoor mall, multi-use recreation area and a river park? Yes, I think that all of those things would be great.
The main challenge that I believe faces Colorado Springs is community. I feel that we are so busy pointing the other direction that we fail to look inside and see what we can actually bring to the table. Just pick up a copy of the latest Independent. You’ll find that our city has no lack of arts, music, events or culture. Where we do lack is in the execution and involvement. It’s hard to actually get people to leave their homes and be involved. My challenge for young professionals is to get out, go meet someone and offer the world your heart. I think they just might actually be surprised at what they get in return.