More than 30 years ago, Marc Swirsky entered the industrial auction and machinery dealers industry on a whim. Now, he’s a powerhouse and his sales territory covers multiple continents.
“I fell into the business by way of a mutual friend,” he said. “Back in 1989, a longtime machinery dealer was doing a lot of joint venture auctions. He felt he could do it bigger and better than everybody else, and wanted someone to groom for the business. I was interested yet I didn't know what an auction sale was at the time. As well, I had no idea what a machine tool was, or anything for manufacturing for that matter. But I took a shot, quit my job and started a couple of weeks later. And 33 years later, I'm still doing it.”
He’s not just doing it — he loves the nature of the work, too. He’s had the pleasure of serving customers in the U.S, U.K., France, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Jordan and Israel through his dormant business Old City Industrial (OCI). At this time, Marc’s full-time focus is with his current employer, Chicago-based Revelation Machinery.
On that note, he’s pleased to have joined forces with the company earlier this year, which is the fastest-growing machinery dealer in the nation. Drawing on his expertise and experience, he’ll continue to add to the company’s trajectory and provide additional services to their customers in his role as managing director for the auction and appraisal division of the company.
It’s clear that customer interaction is really a bright spot for the sales veteran. In his words, every day and every deal are different and that’s part of the appeal of this work. The excitement of closing a sale is motivating. There’s also the novelty that comes from the nature of the vendor-customer relationship.
“At auction we're selling equipment in plants that are generally going out of business. Therefore, we don't usually go back there unless there’s some fluke reason,” he said. “So, we really don’t go to the same place more than once or twice.”
Speaking of places, Marc is quite the world traveler, having done business in 16 countries over the years. He’s sourced, secured, managed, conducted or participated in over 1,000 auctions, including numerous multi-day events, and capital equipment projects throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan, France, United Kingdom and Israel.
The cultural nuances mean no two countries are alike. For instance, he said in Israel businesspeople can be rather animated, aggressive and be quite tough in negotiation. However, once the deal is closed, they generally enjoy a meal or cup of coffee together. That’s a contrast to how business is done in the States, where people may be more formal.
Another point of difference relates to accommodating different languages.
“I've had deals in multiple countries so often there’s a need for communication and documentation in multiple languages,” he said. “For example, one deal was done in English, Hebrew, French and Russian. There were parties involved that needed their documentation in those languages from a legal perspective.”
You could say living and working abroad has made him a more seasoned sales professional, too.
“Our methods of doing business here are certainly not as easy as doing business in the United States,” he said. “It’s much easier to close deals in the States than doing business in Israel. That’s because the fast-paced nature of the Israeli business world can mean we don’t always have the luxury of time in negotiation.”
That being said, Swirsky says that he’s most happy to be back in business in the United States and looks forward to a long working relationship with his colleagues at Revelation and its customers and partners.
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