VOS Difference Maker Jason Habbal’s Thirst for the Sale Propels Company

Jason Habbal

It’s been said that the most competitive of salespeople hate losing more than they like winning. While it may sound like backward logic, there is a difference. Quite a meaningful one, actually.

For those who live by the sale, closing a deal is always the default expectation. You’ve been there before, you know the talk track, and you’ve mastered asking for the business. When you’ve racked up a million road miles or more, coming home with anything less than a signed contract (or a verbal commitment) is a bitter pill to swallow. It’s also been said that the best sales rep is his/her own worst critic.

Jason Habbal is one of those individuals. The vice president of Vision Office Systems (VOS) in Charlotte, North Carolina, likely picked up his thirst for success from his father, company founder Fred Habbal. Losing haunted him for the first couple weeks of his career, as his cold-calling efforts fell on deaf ears. But after selling a second-hand printer to a used boat dealership—which netted Habbal a robust $150—it more than stoked his sales passion.

However, the younger Habbal is loath to cross a certain line in pursuit of the sale. Winning at all costs, in the end, can extract a terrible price and lead to an early exit from the industry. Character matters.

“I am a competitive person and I hate to lose. I want to win more than anything,” said Habbal, a 2023 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “I approach business each day as ‘I have to win.’ With that, though, I also understand that we have to be authentic, honest and sincere, so we don’t fall into corrupt ways when dealing with our customers. I have seen the crooks in this industry and most of them don’t last.”

That doesn’t mean he isn’t a gamer. “I always looked at it that if my competitor sells something in my territory, they are stealing money from my pocket,” Habbal added.

Fait Accompli?

His journey to the office technology dealer space was as close to pre-ordained as one can get. The Western Carolina University graduate has known no other occupation; in fact, Habbal’s sights were set on joining the family business even before he earned a degree in business management.

It seems the business has been a natural fit. “I love seeing our growth and all the diversified offerings we’re providing now,” observed Habbal, who has logged 18 years with VOS. “The ability to see the company grow is what continues to drive me each day.”

Suffice to say, Habbal has reaped many benefits from the tutelage of his father, a 40-year industry veteran in his own right. People management skills—handling both clients and team members—is an acquired art passed by father to son. But Jason has also reaped knowledge from his membership in the Copier Dealers Association peer group.

“I’ve been fortunate to be involved with the CDA for most of my career, and there are countless members who have helped me along the way,” he said. “The CDA has played a large role in my acquired wisdom.”

Changes for Better

The 2022 campaign proved to be an interesting one for Habbal and VOS. A couple of departures from the admin team led to a reorganization of personnel and duties. The reconfigured staff has proven to be stronger with newly assigned responsibilities, and VOS is “in a much better place” according to Habbal.

Product diversification set the tone for 2023, and Habbal sees great possibilities on several fronts. “Going forward, I want to see us continue to expand our VoIP customer base and as we have started to do more conference room design and installations. I am very excited to expand our Pro A/V offerings as I see large growth in that market for us,” he said. “We have started a project that will take several years to complete, but will be about $11 million dollars’ worth of Pro A/V once done. We are now putting ourselves in a place to really be considered a viable Pro A/V vendor for our customers.”

Habbal is also playing the long game. As his father inches closer to retirement, the goal will be to establish and solidify the leadership team.

“I am realizing, more and more, that I cannot do everything around the office,” Habbal added, “I will need a strong team around me as we continue to grow.”

 On the home front, Habbal and his wife, Malea, have been married 13 years and have three children—Addison, 11, and twins Delaney and Landon, 8. The family can often be found at club soccer and gymnastics events. The Habbals also enjoy the mountains and beaches North Carolina has to offer.

An avid golfer, hunter and fisherman, Habbal also volunteers on various boards at his country club. He’s also a staunch supporter of activities at his alma mater, WCU.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.