5 Mins Read

Use The 3 Year Rule To Eliminate Distractions in Your Sales Career

Brandon Fluharty |

Brandon Fluharty |


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⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️

Today’s edition helps you implement a simple rule to allow you to focus on your sales craft and eliminate the distractions around you.

Let’s go!

Read time: <5 minutes


The 3 year rule

Early in my sales career when I was selling television ads for a local news station, the head of the station made an ask of me that he made from all of the on-air talent.

It has stuck with me throughout my entire selling career.

It’s called the “3 year rule,” and is super simple in theory, but highly effective in practice.

This station was a stepping stone for many broadcasters and on-air talent. In order to manage that talent effectively, Doug and his wife, Linda (she was the other half of the management team) asked the talent to give them 3 great years before moving on.

It was not something they normally ask of their sales talent, so I gave the station 3 strong years and made it a standard rule of thumb in my career thereafter.

Here’s how you can effectively deploy it too.


Use it to navigate your sales career

A 3 year time horizon in sales is a great timeframe to think about.

Assuming you have done your due diligence to get yourself in the right environment, the happy path means you are:

– Establishing yourself in year 1

– Growing in year 2

– Excelling in year 3+

It’s also an appropriate amount of time in your life to put your head down and focus on delivering your best work, while not thinking too short-term or too long-term.

What I mean by that is technology and macro events are moving at such a rapid pace, it’s really tough to predict what’s going to happen beyond 3 years at a time, especially in your sales career.


How to put the 3 year rule into effect

A great question to ask yourself: “Can I do this every day for the next 3 years?”

It’s a good mental check to see if you’re in the right place right now.

I can tell you from experience there is no utopia out there, especially when your calendar is owned by someone else, but you can use the rule to make better strategic decisions in your career.

And if you do find yourself moving into a new role, it’s the perfect time to deploy the 3 year rule.

A few tips:

1. Think about the end first

When you start a new role, visualize deeply on where you are in 3 years (vs just at the end of year 1) and work backwards to try to make it happen.

What skills do you now possess?

Which accounts have you closed?

How much will you have saved up from the commissions you’ve earned?

2. Put your blinders on

It’s easy to get distracted by “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome.

Turn off any hint that you’re open for a new role on LinkedIn. You don’t need to be contacted by recruiters and be pulled into conversations that will take you away from delivering great work right here, right now.

Just know this – you will embark on a journey known as The Emotional Cycle of Change, and it’s not all meant to be a cake walk. Sometimes you have to fight for what’s good for you.

3. Know when to pivot

But not every decision you make will land you in a great spot that takes full advantage of your capabilities.

I broke the 3 year rule a handful of times throughout my career, but I was purposeful in making those decisions. Here are a few times when it’s ok to pivot:

– Toxic environment or manager

– The role is bad for your mental health or personal/family stability (and you can’t change it on your own)

– A macro force has wiped out your industry (and your company’s existence is coming to an end)

Hope this has helped. See you next week!



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