For Ryan Punt, business is all about relationships.
Good relationships are built on trust and take time to establish, but they are critically important to people and companies that do business with each other, says Punt, a wholesale carrier relations executive with SDN Communications.
Punt strives to earn that kind of access and interaction with clients and prospective customers.
He is one of the point men in SDN’s wholesale sales team, which typically serves major carriers in other states rather than commercial accounts in South Dakota and neighboring area.
“You build relationships and tell SDN’s story and what our network delivers,” he says.
Establishing a good business relationship might not pay off immediately. However, in six months or maybe a year, when a prospective client needs access to a good, regional, fiber optic network, he or she might call SDN, Punt says.
Having good relationships with coworkers and understanding colleagues’ roles in the company also helps serve customers, Punt says.
“I very much enjoy the sales world and the sales field. I also very much enjoy the technical aspects of networks and the connectivity that carriers and businesses use SDN’s network for,” he says.
Punt has been with SDN for nearly nine years. He started in January 2006, initially working in commercial sales. He moved over to the wholesale team in November 2012.
The wholesale sales team includes another carrier relations executive, a sales engineer and three support staffers. Like SDN’s commercial sales team, the wholesale team reports to Dennis Cromwell, vice president of sales.
Punt, 39, grew up in Stickney, S.D. He attended Mitchell Technical Institute and in 1997 earned a degree in telecommunications.
He spent about two years in Mitchell, S.D. selling business supplies before getting into telecommunications.
Beginning in 1999, he worked in sales for more than six years for Northern Valley Communications in Aberdeen, S.D. Northern Valley is a subsidiary of James Valley Telecommunications of Groton, S.D., which is one of SDN’s member companies.
While in Aberdeen, Punt primarily sold phone services to small businesses. However, Aberdeen was home to some larger businesses, too.
He really enjoyed working for the cooperative. But moving to Sioux Falls to work for SDN presented the opportunity to work with larger clients in a bigger market, he says. In addition, two siblings lived in Sioux Falls, which provided extra incentive to move.
“I liked the opportunity to sell more high-capacity circuits and more complex network designs,” he says.
“I always wanted to challenge myself and make sure I was learning the different nuances of the telecommunications world.”
Punt and his wife, Nikki, had their first daughter, Bailey, a month after he started working at SDN in 2006. Their second daughter, Rylee, was born in 2008. Nikki is a teacher in Sioux Falls.
“When I’m not at work, I spend a lot of time with the girls,” Punt says. “We camp a lot in the summer.”
The family also enjoys traveling, he says.
What strikes him most about his 15 years in the telecommunications has been the increasing amount of electronic information moving on networks.
“The biggest change I’ve witnessed in telecommunications is the need for greater bandwidth and higher-capacity circuits,” he says.
He doesn’t see that letting up.
Businesses’ data-moving needs used to be measured in few megabits per second. Now larger businesses measure their needs in gigabits – a measurement 1,000 times greater than megabits.
If Punt does his job right – the way he wants to do it – he won’t be surprised very often by a customer’s needs. He’ll know enough about the client to have anticipated their needs and offered solutions in advance. That’s a result of building good business relationships.
If you'd like to talk more about utilizing SDN's wholesale network, email Ryan Punt or call him directly at 605-978-3570.