Bob Busch: Selling a Service That Saves Lives

American businessman W. Clement Stone once said, “sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman — not the attitude of the prospect.” And that may explain Bob Busch’s success in life.

Against a backdrop of industrial environments — ranging from pipelines to power plants —Bob built a thriving sales career on his ability to connect with people. With nearly 40 years of sales under his belt (and counting), Bob brought a wealth of experience when he joined Industrial Inspection & Analysis (IIA) in January 2023 as Nuclear Sales Manager.

Outgoing, confident and people-oriented, Bob’s sales skills came naturally. But he had to learn about the non-destructive examination (NDE) industry where he spent the latter half of his career.

“When I got into this field back in the 1990s, I’d never heard of NDE, but it is a very important service,” says Bob. “Non-destructive evaluations help to keep airplanes in the air, bridges from falling down, and pipelines from rupturing. NDE helps keep everybody safe. It’s a rewarding field to be working in.”

Over the years, Bob has worked for several NDE companies, including a large global testing and inspection company, and spent considerable time in the pipeline industry. One of his most memorable deals involved a large pipeline construction project in Ohio that took years to come to fruition.

“This customer planned to build a 256-mile, 36-inch interstate natural gas transmission pipeline, and projects like these require a lot of approvals. Over several years, I managed to stay in touch with the right people to get an opportunity,” says Bob, who eventually closed a $15 million deal for his company to perform ultrasonic testing on welds. “It was a pretty neat project. The contractor was putting in a mile of pipeline a day in 40’ to 80’ sections. That’s a lot of welds. We had upwards of 75 inspectors in various portions of Ohio working on this project. It was a really interesting job and one of my biggest sales.”

While Bob has the patience to seal a big deal, he readily admits he is restless to get things done — at work and at home. That’s one of the reasons he wanted to work for a company that is growth-oriented, customer-focused and nimble.

“I’m a restless person, and I’m pretty serious about sales. I’m constantly driving to get the sale done or make something happen, even around the house just working on things,” says Bob, who made a good match for IIA. “In some companies, it’s hard to get things accomplished. But IIA is growth-minded and focused on finding solutions for customers.”

In the field of non-destructive examination, many of those solutions — such as radiography and ultrasonic testing — are standard across the industry. That means a successful sale often boils down to price and availability. Bob is keenly aware of factors that give IIA a competitive edge.

“When you have really good inspectors like we do at IIA, these services almost sell themselves. Plus, IIA has some really nice technologies that set them apart,” says Bob. “We’ve got technologies I’m excited about.”

When he’s not connecting with customers, Bob enjoys golfing and spending quality time with his wife and two sons. You’ll also find the Pennsylvania native cheering on Philly sports teams every chance he gets.

Even after nearly 40 years, this seasoned salesman has never lost his enthusiasm for meeting people and developing relationships that last.

“I’m a people person. I enjoy getting to know clients and building relationships. My goal is to find out the pain points for our customers and see if we can find a solution,” he says. “When you do a good job for a client, they’re happy to have you back.”