#StandApart Profile: Ben Smith, VP Sales +Marketing, Rennie Marketing Systems

Ben’s home in Whistler is long gone from his rear-view mirror before half of Vancouverites have even opened their eyes to the morning rain (it is November in Vancouver, after all). While Vancouver sleeps, Ben is plowing through his to-do list—undoubtedly part of the reason why he’s one of the most well-known real estate sales and marketing gurus in BC. Ben leads marketing and sales for Rennie Marketing Systems – North America’s leading real estate marketing organization, known around the world for developments like the Olympic Village and Woodward’s. Throughout his career Ben has seamlessly jumped up the corporate ladder from consultant, to director agency side, to real estate marketing and sales frontrunner. Ben has proven himself a strategic sales and marketing leader.

Don’t let marketing and sales innovation fool you.

Ben is the Chuck Norris of time management and always makes time for his #1 priority; his family (wife and four children), and his passions; skateboarding and snowboarding.

How does this #standapart sales and marketing executive and family man do it all? Learn his story and his secrets – here is Ben’s #standapart profile.

Describe your current role in 140 characters or less…

I lead a team of people who market and sell multifamily residential communities.

One word that best describes how you work.

Hard.

What is your superpower? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?)

Making change.

Intentionality or Happenstance?  Which has played a greater role in building your career path?

Both, they are inextricably linked.

“You can either have a job or make a career.”

Where does your motivation come from?  Does motivation come easy for you or is it work/discipline to sustain it?

I think I was born driven to some degree. On the days I am really unmotivated it is a combination of a deep sense of responsibility, and a commitment to keep going so I can continue to provide for my family, that gets me moving again. When lack of motivation is sustained and I just can’t seem to muster the will/discipline to turn it around, that is the sign for me to make a change.

Have you ever watched someone sabotage his or her own career? If so, how?

Yup. Without giving details, it is always when we surrender to the ego that careers go sideways. I’ve seen people who have been wronged, blow up because their ego just couldn’t handle an injustice, and I’ve seen people do really wrong things because of their ego.

Can you point to any career/life turning points that either a) provided clarity or b) served as a springboard/accelerator/ launching pad… 

Definitely having kids young forced me to get serious quick and to persevere at times when I could have quit or done something stupid. Kids also gave me credibility in the boardroom as being older than I look. Having a child with a disability has also been super life shaping for us. And sadly there was a time I went to a lot of funerals which tends to create a lot of perspective for what’s truly important. A couple lines I carry with me from along the way…

“Every struggle carries with it a chance to learn something.”

“You can either have a job or make a career.”

“We can walk away and rightfully fall apart for what we’ve had to face, and nobody would fault us for it, or we can chose to move forward and to lead.”

When you look back over your career to date, what are you most proud of?

I feel like I’ve left the last few places better than how they were when I got there. Everyone is replaceable, but it’s important to me to have made a contribution.

We asked one of your team members @RennieVancouver, May Globus, what makes you #StandApart. Here’s what she said:

Ben has the rare ability to balance both a business and creative brain – his mind is always working to find the right solutions for our clients and for our company, not only ensuring that those solutions are the best course of action for everyone, but also the most forward-thinking. His ideas and recommendations are strategic, but not without him thinking through all facets and variables leading to that one best decision.

 

At the end of the day, what makes Ben stand apart for me is that he cares about people first and loves to make us all laugh – he’s a truly good human being and, in my books, that’s what makes Ben the kind of leader that Rennie is privileged to have on board.

You’re interviewing a candidate and there’s no doubt, they’ve got it. What ingredients were you looking for? When it comes to hiring, what does you/your organization consider the special sauce?

So cliché, and hard to describe, but you just know when someone has “it”. Hard working, highly intelligent, high integrity, are tops on my list.

What devices/apps/tools form part of your regular routine?

iPhone. Instagram. LinkedIn. My car – I live in Whistler and work in Vancouver so my car is imperative to making it all work.

How “LinkedIn” are you? Do you use it?  What role has networking played in your career?

Very. I like it a lot. Great place to get business news and to keep up with people. People change jobs so frequently now so it usually has the most up to date 411 for people. I certainly ascribe to the adage “it’s who you know”, especially in this town.

If you could put one question on the list for our next #StandApart Marketer profile, what would it be? What do you want to know?

If they are a “#standapart marketer” then my question would be, “Can I interest you in coming to work for me?” LOL.