Spring Training for Sales Professionals

By Mark Bowser

“It is the bottom of the ninth, two outs, men on first and third and Joey Votto at the plate,” expressed the baseball announcer.  “It has been a good Spring Training for the Cincinnati Reds here in Arizona.  A win here today will be the icing on the cake. Reds are down by one and need a hit.”

“Votto swings and connects. It is a long fly ball to right center. The fielder is going back, it might be…it hits the top of the wall. One run is in.  Votto is on his way to second, Phillips is passing third and they are sending him home.  Here’s the throw…it is not in time…and this one belongs to the Reds.”

Every spring, major league baseball clubs meet in balmy climates to fine tune their skills for the upcoming season. Rookies and Veterans alike converge for this annual pilgrimage.

Ponder this thought. If spring training is beneficial for professional baseball players, how about the professional in the world of selling? It is not too late to start your spring training.

I had the honor of talking with veteran sales leader Dave Carlin. Dave  has been leading new sales professionals since 1983.  Dave holds the position of Vice President with Prograde.   Prograde is a print, marketing, and fulfillment company for promotional products and apparel headquartered in Cincinnati.

Dave puts his new representatives through several months of Prograde’s version of spring training.  The new sales rep will spend time in various parts of the company before they will call on their first prospect. They will spend time in the warehouse learning how to smoothly and efficiently process an order for shipment. They will go from department to department learning why and how the company is successful day in and day out.  The new sales rep will even spend time in e-commerce. Is this over kill? Is this really necessary?  Many companies shove their sales people out the door with their sample kit and a list of customers to call on their first day.  It is as if they are going to pick up sales success by stumbling all over customers through some warped type of osmosis.

Well, let me tell you this fact and then you can decide for yourself whether Dave’s approach is the best philosophy.  Let’s talk about when the economy totally stunk. Their team sales went up 19% in 2012.  Remember…that success was in a bad economy.   They succeeded despite the economy, not because of it.  World Series, here comes Prograde.

We know what is working for Dave and Prograde. Now, let’s talk about you. Do you have a plan to increase your sales in 2015 so that you succeed despite any economy?  How much time are you and your sales team spending in spring training?  Plan your spring training, work your plan, and expect to win…and I will see you in the World Series.

*Let’s connect on LinkedIn.  Feel free to send me an invite to http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/markbowser

*Mark Bowser is an Author and Professional Speaker.  He can be reached on LinkedIn or through his website www.MarkBowser.com or email mbowser@markbowser.com.

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