Under 40: Matt Del Valle, Stan Miller & Associates LLC Powered by Proforma, Cleveland
Matt Del Valle, 34
Stan Miller & Associates LLC Powered by Proforma, Cleveland
How he got his start: I came from the business-to-business sales market for Staples. Stan Miller & Associates LLC powered by Proforma was actually one of my customers. I had the B2B job right out of college, started in Cincinnati and transferred to Cleveland when I moved closer to home. I was getting burned out with the position and saw that there was limited opportunity for growth. On average, we saw 60+ businesses a day, and I was trained to close on the first visit (one call close). My closing ratio was always 75 percent or better. Knowing that, one summer day in 2012 when I sat down with the owner of Stan Miller & Associates powered by Proforma, I told him “I want to work here! I will work on commission and catapult this company to multimillions.” At first, I couldn’t believe I blurted that out. But I was always so intrigued about the print and promo industry. I saw that there were no territory restrictions, no sales limitations and an expansive product line to offer to a diverse set of customers—everything that I felt I was being held back by. I knew I could succeed and was inspired to take a leap of faith. I took a risk that changed my life ... I bet on myself and I knew that would be enough. The owner said, “I like you, young man, let’s make it work!” I started in July 2012 with no product knowledge. However, I applied my previous sales training and hit the ground running. My first year was a learning experience. I networked and gained as much information as possible, learning from my boss and peers. By 2016, I sold $490K+. No tricks, no fancy marketing platforms, just hard work.
His current role: In 2018, I began to transition to operations manager, handling the day-to-day operations of the business, while managing key accounts and maintaining sales growth. During this time, our company was able to increase the revenue of the company exponentially. In the spring of 2018, I sat down with the owner and discussed a buyout and exit strategy. With the help of Proforma and private counsel, we worked out an amicable deal. In April 2018, I became the official owner of Stan Miller & Associates powered by Proforma.
What he likes best about his job: I enjoy the grind. Although I’m a millennial, I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and working round the clock. Work ethic is what got me here. I still go out in the field and meet with clients, still cold-call on prospects and simultaneously implement strategic marketing concepts to build our company portfolio.
Age roadblocks and advantages: First, complacency. Success breeds complacency, especially at a young age. Our team talks about “getting uncomfortable to be comfortable.” Therefore, you’re never comfortable—never settling for average. Second, navigating in the era of information. Technology is constantly changing and only those who adapt are the ones who are winning. We lean on Proforma and our extraordinary network of partners for innovative solutions for our clients.
His biggest career influence: I would undoubtedly say Chris Piper, vice president of business development for Proforma. Chris’ knowledge and genuine approach to business are unmatched. He forged his path as a distributor, so he can relate to us. He has instilled a confidence in me not only to push the envelope, but to remain steadfast in my roots. He’s a grinder, and I love the guy.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: No amount of sales, no monetary value. The most meaningful accomplishment to me is being able to give back to the youth via multiple volunteer platforms. I’m proud to be heavily involved with both inner city and suburban community and educational organizations. Whether it’s an Advisory Board Panel or a Career Day event, I take pride in meeting with the youth and letting them know that they can become business owners with hard work, focus and dedication. As a minority business owner, I feel it’s my responsibility to provide motivation and opportunity—the “pay it forward” method. We’ve provided internships and Capstone projects for students in accordance with Proforma’s Support Center. For those students to get the joy and experience for the advancement of their careers, that’s what’s most meaningful.
His differentiating factor: We’re mixing old-school and new-school methods. [We are] outworking the competition and implementing the various technological platforms available to us. Our customers get the same great service they’ve been accustomed to for over 50 years combined with the most modern resources for print and promotional solutions.
Why he believes the future is bright: The trends show us that marketing as a whole is going absolutely nowhere. Businesses still need a way to promote their brand, and that’s where we step in. There are so many ways to service customers (e.g., print, promo, digital, social media, etc.) that the industry will continue to thrive. If you have the work ethic and willingness to adapt, anything is possible.