Steve Ziemke has been with Gulf coast Western in Dallas, TX for 16 years where he is currently a Senior Vice President. As a sales leader in the company, Steve has worked diligently to offer clients positions in oil and gas partnerships that can generate monthly income and offer aggressive tax advantages. Steve was actively involved in Gulf Coast Western’s donations to the Sadie Keller Foundation, working to supply toys to children with cancer as well as their siblings. Steve has helped put together and attend investment conferences including Freedom Fest and the New Orleans Investment Conference. Here he met with hundreds of individuals and presented and discussed oil and gas investing, and their benefits to accredited investors.
Prior to this, Steve worked over 20 years in the property and casualty insurance industry at California Casualty rising from sales representative to Assistant Vice President; managing sales, customer service and retention operations. Following this he worked for a subsidiary of Ohio Casualty managing service operations. Steve was also instrumental in bringing operations in-house to improve the efficiency of servicing auto and home insurance policies that had previously been outsourced.
Steve has an MBA in Business Management from Boise State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management from Michigan Technological University. He continues to self-develop in the areas of sales, motivation, and people skills.
Steve Ziemke has achieved a successful sales career throughout his life while enjoying his three beautiful grandchildren that keep he and his wife of over 40 years actively involved in their lives. Steve’s three adult children never cease to amaze him with their families and achievements. Steve enjoys downhill skiing, personal fitness, world travel, scuba diving and camping. Steve has achieved solid times in the Pikes Peak Ascent (half marathon gaining over 8,000 feet in elevation in 13 miles), the Hood to Coast relay race covering 295 miles with a team of 12 runners, and Pueblo marathons. Steve has been a drummer in a rock and roll band called Monument Hill for over 20 years playing classic rock cover songs. Steve resides in Dallas, TX.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
My typical day begins with listening to positive and gratitude affirmations. Following this I work out for roughly an hour, either full-body conditioning, spin class or swimming laps. I feel these mental and physical activities begin my day in a positive mental state providing energy throughout the day. I divide my day into different types of calls- I start by making out-going calls to get my energy going and my head in the right mindset, followed by morning appointments. I spend my lunch hour exercising, going for a walk or working on projects, and then spend the afternoon calling other appointments and following up on prior appointments to identify new clients, and updating my existing clients on existing and new projects, while also generating referrals. I end the day with making out-going calls to earlier time zones and call on any evening appointments.
How do you bring ideas to life?
An idea only comes to life through trial and error and by implementing it, then changing it if needed to make sure all angles are attempted. For instance, if I have an idea on a new approach to sell a potential client, I will first practice the strategy and tape it for review and analysis. Once I have it the way I want, I will attempt that strategy in a real-life situation to see how it goes and how the prospect reacts to it. I will also involve an experienced co-worker or my manager to evaluate my skills. It is crucial to monitor the results of the idea as time goes on. Adjustments may need to be made if situations change within the marketplace.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The one trend that excites me is the commodity price of oil. Global and domestic demands are increasing as various industries increase their productivity to meet customer demands. The evolution of the electric car is where the impact on oil prices in my opinion will be pushed out 10 to 15 years. In my outlook working at Gulf Coast Western, I see strong oil prices helping in our clients’ returns, both short and long term.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
One habit that I believe helps me be productive is to tackle first a project or a task that is least desirable and is one that I really do not want to deal with. Once I have that finished, I feel that I can go throughout the day without the issue hanging over my head, so that I can focus on the rest of my schedule and be more effective.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give my younger self would be to save early no matter what. It was always easy when I was younger to purchase the nicer car or bigger house. But looking back, those luxury items are not so important. It is much more important to save and invest for the long haul. If I had committed to putting away savings each month in my twenties, I believe I would have not noticed the lower net income and would have been building for the future.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?
I totally believe in positive thinking and the power this has in daily life. Even when things are negative or there seems to be no outcome that could be positive, I continue to tell myself not to worry as things will work out. It gets to the point where my wife or close friends roll their eyes at me, because they think I’m being unrealistic. I listen to morning positive affirmations and try to live this through daily life.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
Self-discipline is a trait that I would implore others to develop. This foundation allows me to apply myself in many facets of life. It has helped me achieve top sales year after year at Gulf Coast Western, and to get and stay in physical and mental shape.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
Life is crazy sometimes, and when I feel overwhelmed, I step back and take some deep breaths and look at the issues. Often, I realize the situation is not as bad as I had thought, or that I am reading too much into things. Whatever I deal with, I look at it positively and it always seems to work out. I believe that negative thoughts or anxiety is all between our ears, and that we can handle situations better than we think.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
I have always believed that working hard and going the extra mile is what has helped me gain a foothold and develop my career. I started in sales in the insurance industry, and my hard work and results led to my advancement into senior management. My success in oil and gas can be attributed to working diligently from the beginning and being consistent.. Throughout this, however, I quickly learned that one must work smart in addition to hard. If I hadn’t developed my sales skills by becoming more effective in acquiring new clients and developing existing clients, while getting rid of bad habits or ineffective techniques, I would not be where I am today.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
A failure that was a life learning experience for me dealt with my insurance job as manager ending when the company was sold. It was frustrating trying to remain in the same Service or Sales Manager position, and after many interviews that did not lead to a job, I had to step back and think about what I really wanted to do. I realized my true desire was to be in charge of me versus many people and to get back into sales, as that is where my insurance career began. A positive result came out of an initial negative situation.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A business idea that I have found to be successful is tracking the requests and results of referrals from existing clients. . While I have always asked for referrals, I never tracked the activity to observe how often, from whom, and the replies I received. This is a 2023 goal of mine that is working very well, and that has allowed me to become more effective. For example, I noticed a trend that caused me to change my approach to handle more effectively the objections when asking for referrals. One-third to one-half of my new clients come from referrals, and my goal is to increase that number to two-thirds.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use Vanilla Soft, which is a CRM lead-based system. The system allows me to effectively follow up with prospects and clients to ensure maximum contact efficiency and as a result more sales.
What’s the best $100 you recently spent?
The best $100 I spent was on a buddy pass ticket for my wife and me. My Southwest pilot friend gave us passes as a thank you that cost $50 each, and we had not been to Florida in a while, so we decided to fly into Tampa and drive south. We ended up driving through a small town on the ocean called Fort Myers Beach and fell in love with the area. My wife and I had casually talked about having a second home in Florida but were never serious about it until then. We ended up buying a house on a canal near the beach, and really enjoyed the time with family and friends. From an investment standpoint, it was one of the best.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
My favorite book is by Rhonda Byrne entitled The Secret. I read this book while going through a life change in between jobs, trying to search for a new angle on staying positive to find my path. I have always been a pos itive person and believe the glass is half full, but this book added a whole new dimension. I learned in college that you will be more successful in life if you are positive and believe things will happen. Rhonda taught me that I am what I think about most, a whole different thought process. More importantly, the more positive I am, the more positive I attract. I feel that my successful career in sales at Gulf Coast Western is due to being positive throughout the day and believing in the Law of Attraction to expect success.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
I am really enjoying the series, Ted Lasso, which I had heard so much about but did not begin watching until recently. I love the dynamics of the team and how the characters have developed. I have been to England several times and understand the nuances that show up in the series regarding their culture and terminology.
- Focus and discipline are keys to success
- Staying positive breeds positivity and allows one to attract more positive outcomes (if you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t)
- Even when you get knocked down, you can get back up and succeed
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.