Name: Tron Jordheim
Title and company/organization: Head of marketing at StorageMart and director of its subsidiaries: the PhoneSmart Call Center and the 7Methods sales and customer service consultancy
Age: Let’s just say Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans” was the No. 1 hit song on the Billboard charts the day I was born. So, ancient.
Job description: I manage the marketing for the largest privately held self-storage company in North America with more than 160 storage locations and more than 75,000 customers across the United States and Canada. We operate in English, Spanish, Quebecois French, Chinese and Punjabi.
I also manage the call center subsidiary, PhoneSmart. PhoneSmart acts as a remote reservation center for StorageMart and other self-storage companies from the U.S., Canada and Mexico from its center here in Columbia. PhoneSmart has been in business since 2000 and fielded more than 3,000,000 phone calls for more than 5,000 storage facilities.
PhoneSmart recently spun off its sales and customer service consultancy, 7Methods. 7Methods helps companies grow revenue by making sure sales and service people are saying the right things to the right people at the right time. 7Methods helps clients in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Panama and Spain with training, coaching and performance management.
Years lived in Columbia/mid-Missouri: 23
Original hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Education: A Ph.D. in cold-call selling from the school of doors slamming in your face and a B.A. from Queens College in New York, Jerry Seinfeld’s alma mater
Community involvement: I’m a member of the Sunrise Southwest Rotary and a board member of the Southwest Swim and Tennis Association. By the way, Southwest Swim is rebuilding its pool and is going to have an amazing new look. We’re looking for additional funding and would be happy to talk to anyone looking to donate to or sponsor a greater icon of our community.
Professional background: I started my first business in the sixth grade with a roll of paper towels and a can of window cleaner and have been building and managing businesses ever since. I had a dog-training school and sold protection dogs to private individuals and police departments in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I wrote a dog-training column for the Columbia Daily Tribune and had a syndicated radio show in the early ’90s. I spent many years in the bottled water business. (I’m part of the reason you see five-gallon bottled water coolers everywhere instead of small bottles of water everywhere.) I have been in the storage business and running PhoneSmart since 2000. Along the way, I sold construction material, promoted rock bands, worked in warehouses, did office filing, sold ice cream and toys and cleaned office and residential space.
A favorite recent project: I told the story of how StorageMart survived and thrived during the last big economic mess in my book, The First Rule of Selling: How StorageMart Led an Industry out of Recession. I would not be offended if people bought a copy on Amazon. You can get a copy at the Columbia Public Library, too.
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why: There are many, actually too many to mention, and I’d be afraid to leave someone out.
Why I’m passionate about my job: I have a great group of people to work with. I enjoy bursting through obstacles, carving out new territory and bringing home wins for the team.
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would: Be running some other business and helping to develop a different set of great people.
What people should know about this profession: Marketing is not for the weak. You take many calculated risks. You lose almost as often as you win. Bigger and better-funded competitors are always kicking you in the teeth. Managing people is only for people who like people and enjoy watching them develop and succeed. And being a leader is great if you have some realistic expectations.
What I do for fun: I hang out with my family, take walks, pull out my kayak or relax.
Family: I have a wonderful wife and two amazing daughters.
Favorite place in Columbia: Any of the amazing parks and trails we are so fortunate to have.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I helped co-found the PhoneSmart Hawaii Un-Conference, which became profitable in its second year and was hailed as the best conference for the self-storage industry.
Most people don’t know that I: Am one of the originators of rap music. I was in a songwriting duo in 1978 with James Brickhouse. We wrote a funky little groove with spoken word rhymes called “The Rap.” “The Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugar Hill Gang came out the next year, and the rest is history.