Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford

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Where do you see yourself in... - April 18, 2015

Here we are in almost mid-2015 and yet there are still HR folks, department heads and sales managers asking a very old-school question when interviewing: Where do you see yourself in 2 years, 3 years or 5 years from now? I’ve been in my career for over 20 years now and someone even asked me the same question recently. My reply was “hell I don’t even know where I’ll be a week from now”. I call it the beauty of being in sales.

 

I am by no means trying to be sarcastic. In fact, at one time, I would often ask the question to candidates as well as myself. “Kev, where are you gonna be in a couple of years?” It was, at least at the time, my way of taking inventory of my life, or so I thought. And then, one day, I came to the realization that today was nowhere near like yesterday, and this week has thrown many more challenges my way than last week. I was not in a typical 9am-5pm job. I chose sales as my career because I wanted to experience unknowns from day-to-day. More than anything else, I never wanted to be bored, or have the feeling that I never knew when or how to climb the corporate ranks; I wanted to trek through a constantly changing professional landscape. And so it goes with choosing sales as my career.

 

It was the last time I asked myself or anyone else where they wanted to be in any specific period of time. Instead, I began to ask myself and others, what their dreams were. Is there a place you’d like to travel to? Do you want to do something special with someone special? Do you have an interest in learning a new sport or how to play a musical instrument? How can you have a positive influence on someone else?

 

In other words, I wanted to set my sights on goals that made me a better person, and I would ask the same of others. I have a firm belief, as you may have noticed through previous posts, that sales is not for the faint of heart, but a chosen career for someone that wants to make an impact for a company and for themselves. And so, I write this week to the children of a few friends who will be graduating from college in a matter of weeks, and for the ones that have an interest in a sales career.

 

Sales is neither easy nor overwhelmingly difficult, it simply requires more discipline than any course you’ve studied for or sport you’ve played. There are great rewards, especially financial, but can be a financially rough journey along the way too. Most importantly, a career in sales may allow you to become a person of influence, and in a manner that you and others can be proud of. You can become a mentor, a volunteer, and a leader, as long as you stay true to the values you set for yourself and to the values set for you by your employer. Remember, when you meet and/or exceed expectations you and your manager have set, the flexibility of your chosen career kicks in and then you can give back. It is then that you will have become an ‘A’ level sales person.

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