Preston Leep was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. Preston was involved in civic projects and athletics throughout middle school and high school. He graduated from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia with a degree in Exercise Science. Preston began his career in the food and beverage business as a sales rep serving the Richmond-area marketplace. After several years in the food and beverage sector, Preston Leep began work as a sales representative in the medical equipment sales arena specializing in Craniomaxillofacial, cardiac, and thoracic products.
While with the Coca-Cola company, Preston Leep achieved the ‘Exceptional Performance’ award for his incremental sales results. While at KLS Martin, Preston finished 2nd out of 325 sales representatives in the Bien Air sales competition. Additionally, while at KLS Martin, Preston finished 4th out of 325 sales representatives in the Medled sales competition. Preston Leep is currently a certified ergonomist and medical equipment sales representative.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
My interest in healthcare advancements combined with my degree in Exercise Science led me to the ergonomics and human factors field. It was a natural progression in my career path.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am in the office by 6:00 a.m. Although my day-to-day tasks vary, I always work from a to-do list to prioritize and manage projects. I usually spend some time brushing up on the latest industry news and developments. Customer service is also a really big part of my job, so my daily routine includes a lot of talking on the phone with clients and checking in regarding their experiences with the products I sell, as well as inquiring if they have any further needs.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Consensus building is key to launching any new concept or idea. Thoroughly vetting client perceptions and needs prior to investing in an ideal launch is paramount to success. It’s a critical part of the process in that it clarifies whether or not a market exists for a new product or service.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I believe the continued advancement of artificial intelligence in the way we manage healthcare and industrial design will have a tremendously positive effect for individuals and humanity on the whole in the very near future. Its impact will serve to lessen the suffering of many people.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I would say maintaining an open mind is crucial in fostering productivity, especially where business decisions are concerned. Preconceived notions and unhealthy egotism are usually obstacles to accomplishing anything useful. So, being open to feedback—positive and negative—is very important.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Spend a portion of each day reading about a new topic or idea to drive creative thinking. Any time spent on self-education inevitably pays immeasurable dividends later on in life in myriad, indescribable ways. It is a panacea. Only good things come from it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It’s still good for the mind and other senses to read a book or newspaper instead of simply reading everything from a computer. A lot of people will tell you that reading is reading, and the medium doesn’t really matter. I don’t agree with that. I believe the quality of content in books and newspapers is vastly superior to almost everything found on the internet.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I devote a portion of each day to physical activity in order to refresh the mind and body. Some of my best ideas come during a workout. This is no fluke; medical science backs up this claim. Increased blood flow throughout the body brought about by cardiopulmonary stimulation actually helps people in creative thinking and intellectual pursuits. Put another way, working out helps people work better.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think the most important strategy I’ve developed sprang from the realization that customer service is more than an industry buzz term or a catch phrase. Customer service is driven by ‘surprising’ the customer by checking in with them unexpectedly to see how they are doing personally, how their last experience was with your product, entreating them to be specific and not to generalize, etc. Customer service is not just sending out surveys or placing quarterly ‘expected’ phone calls.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There was a time in the past where I didn’t achieve a quarterly sales promotion goal. To overcome that failure, I met with the top 3 clients in my territory and conducted a complete analysis of their needs. I learned that client needs can change monthly, quarterly, or even daily, and that I needed to be more in tune with client changes. I have applied that lesson in my relationships with clients ever since.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Anything dealing with the development of artificial intelligence would be a wise business to get into in the next five years. The real-world applications for AI are virtually limitless, from medical science to banking and finance to transportation. I firmly believe that AI will transform human society for the better, and much quicker than some people might imagine.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently contributed to a GoFundMe account for a friend who was adopting a child. I can think of no better way to spend $100 than to assist someone who would make a responsible and caring parent in their quest to adopt a child who comes from an unfortunate background.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use a platform called Salesforce. It’s a fantastic way of tracking client contacts. I’ve been using it for a long time, and, at this point, I find it indispensable.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I believe The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale is a valuable book for anyone to read. Psychological studies show that the majority of an ordinary person’s thoughts each day are negative. This book emphasizes overcoming negative thinking with positive actions and posits that such a state of mind greatly increases the likelihood of favorable outcomes.
What is your favorite quote?
“The score is 0-0—never relax, whether you’re ahead or behind.”
• Artificial Intelligence will drive most initiatives in the future. The willingness to be open to change and the ability to respond to these initiatives is key to future leaders.
• As individuals continue to emphasize individuality and companies encourage their employees to be creative and think progressively, the ability to provide tailored customer service to individuals, not just companies or departments, is key to being successful.
• The ability to stay positive in spite of setbacks and to take care of oneself physically and emotionally is key to personal and business satisfaction.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.