Hein Schouten, Account Manager – SHOTS

By on December 18, 2018
Hein pic

That’s actually quite a funny story. Nine years ago, I was working 36 hours a week for a company that sells measurement systems for hospitals. During the evenings I would attend school to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Economics. I did this job for a few months, but it wasn’t really for me. So, I sent an application letter to all the big companies in the area I lived, and SHOTS was one of them. I didn’t hear anything back for a few months, because they weren’t hiring at the time. So, I signed a contract with a construction supplies company.

I was about to start my new job when the owner, Oscar, called me. He was intrigued by my application letter and wanted to see if I was available for a talk. My application letter only had a few words together with my resumé. The letter read (in Dutch): “You are looking for someone, here I am.” I did this to stand out from all the other “boring” CV’s out there and apparently, it worked.

With one signed contract from the other company in my pocket, I went to see Oscar in his little “castle” in Beneden-Leeuwen, just 2 kilometers from my home. Having lived most of my life in Beneden-Leeuwen I knew, of course, a little about Shots (Google helped). But I never really knew 100% what was going on behind those mirrored windows. I remember as a teenager when we passed SHOTS we always looked to see if they were shooting a movie, only to later find out that that’s something Oscar never did. But that’s another story for another time.

I had a nice relaxing chat with Oscar and he explained everything about the business, while I told him all about me and what I wanted to do. At the time I was 20 years old and still studying for my Bachelor’s Degree in the evenings. After the interview, I went home and thought about it. Then I talked over with my parents and my girlfriend about the crossroads that I now found myself at. The question was; which direction do I take now? Do I play safe and sell construction supplies, or do I go for the funny flags and mugs with penises and boobs on them? I would have to sell these to mainstream gadget stores, which is what I was initially hired for to do. I thought to myself, “you know what, you only live once”, and having come from a company where my customers studied for more years than I was old, I thought “I’ll give it a try”.

I started at Shots on the 3rd of January 2011 as a junior account manager for the mainstream market. During my first few months we realised that driving a car to all the mainstream stores in Holland, to sell penis flags at €0,20 a piece, was not going to make us very rich.

Fortunately, and just at the right time, Oscar decided that I needed a new challenge, which was to find new customers. This was a huge success!

From the start, things went really well, and the extra euros started rolling in, making yours truly a little more profit too. From there on my career took off at the speed of light. I took over the Dutch-speaking territories from my colleague Pierre, who had retired and also the UK from Oscar. I then went on to conquer Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and South Africa. Earlier this year I handed over the UK to my new colleague and apprentice Brad Taylor and started working with Spain and Portugal. And, last but not least, I started up SHOTS’ latest project: the establishment and growth of SHOTS Brands in the Asian Market.

A typical day
So, with that being said, my typical day depends on where in the world I am. If I am traveling to see customers in any of the above-mentioned countries, my day looks something like this; Breakfast – Taxi – Meeting – Taxi – Meeting – Taxi – Quick sandwich somewhere – Taxi – Meeting – Dinner (alone or with customers) – Sleep.

Now, I know that sounds like a robot that does the same routine every day, but that’s really not the case at all! It is the incredible experiences that come from traveling. Like seeing the world, meeting the most beautiful people from different cultures and starting business relationships that grow into wonderful friendships.

It’s about introducing the SHOTS brands, which I am personally very proud of, to the world and expanding our success. We also participate yearly in several international trade shows, which is hard work but so much fun. In total, this accounts for about 15 weeks of my working year. For the rest of the year, you will find me in the office.

A typical day in the office is completely different and goes something like this.
I wake up, (no breakfast at home, I guess the hotel service spoils me and I’m too lazy to do it myself, I know, it’s bad). Then I drive to work in less than 2 minutes (yes, I know I should ride my bicycle). I arrive at work around 8 am every morning, have a coffee with the Logistics Team and then my day begins. Calling, emailing and handling customers is a big part of my job. This is the part that I love the most: helping, offering and selling. Planning and organising my future trips and tradeshows is another side of my day, and I’d say 20% of my time goes into product development. Every day we all have lunch together in the cafeteria at SHOTS. Then, between 5.30 and whatever time the job I was doing is finished, I go home and have dinner with my wife. Two, maybe three (ok 2) times a week I’ll go for a run in the evening and after that, we watch a bit of TV.

The most significant influence in my working career was/is
That would be two people. The first being my father. He taught me from a young age to be confident and social, to be a good speaker but even a better listener. He has been a businessman his entire life and I always saw him as an example. The second is Oscar Heijnen. He gave me the opportunity and saw something in me when I was only 20 years old. And now, 8 years later I am very thankful for the opportunities he gave me and continues to give me. He taught me a lot about SHOTS, about the business, about sales in general and about making relationships. So these two gentlemen have definitely been the biggest influencers of my life.

I’m most proud of
Being where I am now at just 28 years old.

One of the most memorable moments was
In my personal life that would, of course, be my wedding on the 28th of July 2018. The best day of both our lives for sure, a day we’ll never forget! Then workwise, there are so many to mention but here goes. The moment I wrote my first order, a €400 order of penis flags, even though they never paid. The first time traveling to Australia by myself. Visiting Hawaii for a tradeshow. Having the most amazing weekend in NYC during a layover which lasted 2.5 days (great planning by “mistake” from Oscar and myself!). Also skydiving with my colleague and dear friend Ruben Deitz above the great barrier reef, and hopefully a lot more to come.

Last book I read
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It’s great to read the success story of a man who had an idea and together with a great team created one of the biggest brands in the world, Nike. It was actually recommended by one of my closest customers, she thought I would like it, and I certainly did!

Favourite movie/TV show
Definitely “De Rijdende Rechter”, translated: the Driving Judge, a Dutch TV show about people who make big issues out of nothing and need a judge to solve the problem. Those problems could entail for example; A tree that is too green, outdoor lights that are too bright or the neighbours chickens making too much noise etc. I’m not sure the readers of this magazine will get it though, hahaha it’s typical Dutch humour. So, let’s go with some more well known international titles. I like Narcos, La Casa de Papel, Dexter, Lord of the Rings, Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile. I also like second world war movies like Schindler’s List.

My favourite place

My favourite meal
Japanese, and especially Sushi but not Japanese Sushi but more USA style.

What I wanted to be when I was growing up
Veterinarian, well I got pretty close to that. We now work with quite a few rabbits and they are looking good. Our chickens produce pretty good eggs as well, so I guess I am quite good with animals.

What would most people not know about me
As a baby, I never crawled.

When I’m not working I’d rather be doing
Go on a holiday. Rita, my wife, and I love to go on holiday. At least one big holiday a year to a nice country or continent somewhere in the world.

What I like best about my job
The freedom it gives me.

If I could change one thing
I would have stopped Holland trading the Islands of Manhattan (NYC) for a tiny Indonesian Nutmeg island, in the 17th century… not the best deal ever made.


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