Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Be Humble - October 28, 2017

A good friend, someone I admire greatly and who also happens to be a priest, recently told me, “no amount of money or possessions will ever replace humility”. He said this in response to me sharing how I’ve been frustrated by the selfishness of some people around me in business over the past year or so. I was venting a bit when he reminded me that I should not change who I am rather stay the course. Continue to be humble, praise others for their hard work and efforts, and try not to allow frustration and jealousy to set in. I’ve been dwelling on his words, the words that have kept me awake for several nights over the past few weeks, and in context have come to realize that those I truly admire, in addition to this specific friend, are successful professionals who are educated, family-oriented, well liked, and above all humble.


Pondering his words brought to mind two real examples of people I know that are successful in their sales careers and yet worlds apart as human beings. The following are the profiles of these two individuals for you to ponder. Names changed to protect the guilty.


Susan is a 45 year old mother of two. She has been in sales for nearly 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree and always attends continuing education programs when available. In her career she has always put her client’s need before her own, even if that meant passing on a deal here and there. She has had the opportunity to hire and mentor many younger sales people and is always quick with compliments. Her philosophy is to build up those around her, making the team stronger, instead of just herself or one other person. Susan not only gives of her time with her team members, peer mentoring so-to-speak, but never shy’s away from a volunteer opportunity at her children’s school. And, somehow, she also volunteers with several charities. Her husband, much like her, is full of compliments. He seems to always be amazed at her accomplishments with the ability to keep going.


Mary is also a 45 year old mother of two. Mary is divorced, but has shared parenting with her now ex-husband, so she can spend time working on her career. Mary has a MBA in addition to her bachelor’s degree. Her sales career, statistically, is overwhelmingly impressive. She far exceeds quota within her company and has been the top sales person the past four years in a row. Mary is a bit of a lone ranger when it comes to the sales team. She has always been very focused on the win. Closing a deal takes priority over everything else around her. Clearly this approach has worked given her stats. While Mary has been successful in closing deals, making presidents club year over year, she does not like to nor want to mentor her younger team members. In fact, internally within her own organization, she comes across cold and unapproachable. Success, being Mary’s priority, does not afford her much time to spend at the kids school or watching them in sports. Her mantra is: focus on the deal, always on the deal, it will lead to success and then I can afford to do anything else outside of work that I want.


Susan and Mary work for the same company, and in fact, for the same EVP of Sales. Two months ago the EVP of Sales was promoted to president of the company and it was time to name his successor. Mary, as confident as always in her career believe she was a sure thing, and had no problems sharing her confidence with others. Susan even believed Mary would be selected based on her performance and drive.


Susan is now the EVP of Sales. You see when it came right down to it, the executive team felt Susan had one major characteristic that Mary did not. Susan is humble. Her success shines, it always has, through those around her. She is a team player. She wants her team to be successful. She works to teach younger team members humility. She leads by example. And Mary? Well, she is selfish. She has always been selfish. Money, success and power can come and go. Being yourself, being who you are meant to be, and being humble, will carry you through the best of times and the worst of times. Oh yeah…and Mary quit…walked out…and still hasn’t found a new position. 

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