Boomer vs. Millennial: An Intern Interviews 43-year Associate on an Ever-Changing Industry
As we press on in our Boomer vs. Millennial series, with perspectives from Progress Lighting marketing intern Tae and industry veteran and Sales Manager Ian. Today, we give Tae the chance to tap into and learn from Ian’s wealth of experience and knowledge in the lighting space.
Read on for the full interview between Tae and Ian.
IAN: There are more competitors than there ever used to be. Progress has been in the business for more than a century – but since then, many new brands and companies have been formed. The approach to the marketplace has also changed dramatically. While showrooms are still a critical means to the marketplace, especially with retailers and custom homebuilders, there has been a big expansion as to whom the end user is buying from and how they buy. Additionally, the LED revolution has created monumental changes in technology and design of the products. When I first started out – everything was incandescent.
TAE: Why do you still work in the lighting industry? What has motivated you to stay?
IAN: If you get into the lighting business – you’re going to find out! Even when people leave, they tend to come back. I think it’s the constant change. There are new products, new distribution channels, new going-to-market strategies – it keeps things interesting. Our job as a sales rep or manager is not just to keep up, but also to get ahead of that change.
Plus, it’s important to note that we are selling so much more than light fixtures. We’re selling business and lighting solutions; we’re selling aesthetics, applications and quality. We aren’t just selling the light fixture itself; we’re selling the brand.
TAE: What has kept you loyal to Hubbell, specifically?
IAN: The camaraderie. This is a relationship business. Selling is done on trust, faith and relationships – and overtime you develop friendships. You trust and help each other. Within the company, it’s a family atmosphere.
TAE: What is your favorite part of your job?
IAN: Mentoring. I love to help my sales people. Mentoring and coaching is incredibly gratifying – I guess it comes from my interest in human behavior and desire to bring out the best in people (Editor’s Note: Ian has a degree in psychology and minor in sociology from the University of Maryland). I want to make my sales people better at what they do.
I also love developing big picture strategy. I served on the Progress Strategic Planning Committee for more than 15 years – and it was one of the most interesting and best times with Progress Lighting. It was hugely satisfying and energizing to meet with key personnel in other departments and exchange perspectives and ideas.
TAE: Why did you choose sales?
IAN: A good salesman got to me. He convinced me to be a representative of a company – and I bought it. And 43 years later, it was the best decision I ever made.
Find out Ian’s top advice for Millennials – when you tune in to our final part of the Boomer vs. Millennial series tomorrow!