Portrait of the month
NAME: Mahmud Ababakr
ROLE: Sales Manager MEA
LIVE: Stockholm, Sweden
Where did you grow up?
– I grew up in Sudan, in a city on the East side close to the Red Sea. The region is important for Africa because of its wheat plantations and its famous whitish sesame seeds.
What did you want to become when you were little?
– My dream was to become an engineer and to work with electronics in general.
When did you arrive in Sweden and what do you think have made you happy here?
– I arrived in Sweden from Sudan in September 1992. I came with my brother. My goals and attitude back then, was to learn the new language, try to be open and get to know new people.
Any tips for other people migrating to another country?
– I would say to learn the language and understand the new culture. This is key.
How did you go about to achieve your dream of working as an engineer?
– I studied electrical engineering with focus on electronics design at KTH – the Royal Institute of Engineering – in Stockholm, Sweden. During my studies I tried several different part time jobs like computer hardware repair, subway train technician and others. After graduating in 2004, I joined the lift company Aritco. This company was a lot of fun, and I first got to work as a technician primarily supporting the production and manufacturing. Later, as I got to know the product very well, I was located 2 years in the UK and worked as a Technical Engineer carrying out trouble shooting on different customer lifts.
The last years the combination of product knowledge and the Arabic language, brought me to sales and especially the Midde East and African region. Step by step, I started to build up a network of sales partners in the region.
In 2021, after 20 years in the lift industry, I decided to join the start-up SWIFT.
One thing you cannot live without when you work?
– My optimism! Every new day brings new opportunities.
What does home mean to you?
– To me a home is a quiet, peaceful, and comfortable place.
What is your elevator pitch for selling a SWIFT Pro home lift?
– The future is here. Now you can move comfortably and freely between floors in your home. SWIFT is next level living. In comparison to other brands, SWIFT is the most modern, innovative, and silent home lift.
What do you think is the most fun at your work for SWIFT?
– I like to work closely with colleagues and partners that have a lot of experience and are good at what they are doing. In general, I like to make everyone’s life a little bit easier in all aspects.
Which markets do you mainly work with?
– I am responsible for all countries in the Middle East. Next in line is Africa and after that new regions will follow.
How does a normal workday look like?
– I’m an early bird, so I normally wake up at 6 am. The most important thing is my first cup of coffee. The coffee gets me ready for the day. Then, I check my emails and team messages, communicate with colleagues, and follow up with our partners. If I’m not out travelling, I take my daughters to football training, swimming, and other activities in the afternoon. If possible, I try to squeeze in some exercise for myself and I try to make sure I walk at least 3 times per week. I normally try to go to sleep early, just to be ready and have the energy for the next day!
How to become a King of sales – your best advice?
– Working with markets and partners overseas you must master the language and understand the culture. This is key. Overall, I would say it is all about being there when they need you, understanding the needs, support quickly, facilitate and follow up.
What do you like the most about the SWIFT home lifts?
– As a salesperson you want to have confidence in the product you are selling. I know SWIFT is now the most innovative home lift in the world. This is what I like the most!
Which SWIFT project are you most proud of (so far)?
– The very first project we did in Saudi Arabia – a SWIFT Lite. The partner was very happy and eager to show it to both family, friends and customers. That made me very proud.
Looking at what you’ve achieved so far, what are you most proud of?
– I’m a people´s person, so I am proud of the trust I get from a large network of dedicated, trustable partners that I´ve built up gradually during my career. Trust doesn´t come for free.
Your guilty pleasures?
– Eating sweets and having desert after dinner.
Your best travelling tips?
– Middle East in general. I always feel safe when travelling there. The climate is good (if you like the heat 😉) and the hospitality among people is amazing.
Favorite place in the world?
– Cyprus is just fantastic. In Cyprus I can relax and find new energy.
– To continue to learn and advance with what I´m doing …