Even a great salesman is going to be in trouble when his customers are either closing up shop or consolidating. That's what happened to national sales executive Rick Caston, who made his living selling to banks and mortgage companies. In some ways, it was a miracle that Caston, of Downingtown, lasted as long as he did, given the meltdown in the financial services sector.
Caston was a top-notch salesman, often beating company targets as he sold loan documentation and fulfillment processes in the mortgage line of business, as well as processes that guided banks through federal and state banking regulations.
But it's hard to sell when the customers are disappearing. Hit hard by the recession that began in 2007, banks and mortgage companies either consolidated or closed in 2007 and 2008. For example, Wells Fargo bought Wachovia, Commerce Bank was purchased by TD Bank and Sovereign wound up being owned by Santender, a Spanish financial institution.
Even so, in 2008, Caston brought in $2.8 million in sales, putting him at 153.7 percent of his sales goal. By 2009, though, the economy had caught up to him. With $1.0 million in sales, he turned in 80.5 percent of his goal. Last September, Caston was laid off from his last job, as national account executive for Wolters Kluwer, a firm that provides software and document products and services for the financial services, tax, accounting, legal, and regulatory sectors.
"It's a good organization," Caston said of his former company. "It just happens to be calling on an industry that is shrinking."
Caston sees signs that the financial sector is regaining its strength.
"Banks are starting to ease up on their willingness to give money out again," he said. That may mean more opportunity for him, and for his wife, Kirsten, who is also unemployed. She wants to return to the corporate world in marketing after having run her own jewelry business.
"I'm not a banker," Caston said. He is used to working on a long sales cycle of six to 14 months, closing deals worth $300,000 to $2.5 million
Caston said he thinks his value lies in "understanding the banking world, how to maneuver among committees to get my product or service noticed. My strength is really understanding the consultative approach to sales."
Update: As of December, 2011, Caston is working full time as a sales representative for Intuit, earning more than he did when he was laid off.
- Rick Caston
- Hometown: Downingtown
- Profession: Senior sales executive
- Experience: Called on financial institutions with assets greater than $20 billion. Topped sales goals. Closed major deals from $500,000 to $2.6 million. Planned and executed sales proposals.
- Education: Ball State University, bachelor's degree in journalism.
- E-mail address: email@example.com
- See Rick Caston's resume
- Rick Caston's LinkedIn page
Read past profiles of the unemployed in the Looking for Work series.
The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should do their own background checks.
Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or firstname.lastname@example.org.