My 16-year-old son and I just returned from a trip to Phoenix for Spring Training. Love us or hate us, we are Dodger Fans. Actually my son is the big fan. I’m just along for the ride, but am catching the vision. My family was in the sporting goods business and we have always had great sports event tickets and I do like going to games.
Building memories and experiences with my son is important to me. As part of that parenting plan, I’m working on liking baseball even though it moves a bit slow for my taste.
With a new ownership group and what should be the dream team, I could start bleeding Dodger Blue again. Although so far it didn't quite work out that way for the 2013 Laker “Dream Team".
As we were watching players warm up on smaller fields at the beautiful Camelback Ranch baseball complex in Glendale Arizona, I began reflecting on what it took for some of these players to get here. Many have had personal challenges to overcome. By the time they get to this level, they have paid their dues.
But even if you have gone through Little League, Pony League, the minor league pro system, and have made it to Spring Training, there is no guarantee that you will be successful in the major leagues. A player is close, but they still haven’t made it. Very few do hit that elusive level of success that so many try to achieve. In my entrepreneurial way of thinking, I translate this to everyone's struggle for success in today's increasingly more challenging business world.
In the case of these professional ball players, success translates to millions of dollars for playing a game. In our world, most of us won’t make millions of dollars. We have to work very hard in the field of business, while they work very hard on the baseball field. We do however have opportunity to achieve the success we desire, but just like in professional sports, nothing comes easy.
Another business observation I have from our Spring Training trip has to do with connecting with the customer. Many of these players will painstakingly sign autographs for the fans who are reaching out with baseballs and pens in their hand. Even the superstars will take the time to be with the fans.
Obviously, there is a limit to how long these players can sign autographs, but I noted that some would go out of their way to not engage with the crowd. I offer grace to these players as they have other things to do. They would never get off the field if they signed everyone’s autograph, but how about a smile and wave?
What many may not realize is the fan is their customer. These players are blessed with a career that enables them to make an incredible living for playing a game they enjoy. We chose a career that enables us to make a nice living in an industry we enjoy. While the income potential differs greatly, we have the opportunity to be as successful as we choose.
This should be a reminder to all of us that we need to be showing appreciation to our clients. In today’s fast paced electronic world, this often is overlooked. A simple handwritten thank you note has a big impact, because most people don’t do this.
The value of promotional products and the benefits of personal connections was showcased during the inaugural Promotional Products Work Week. This outreach program facilitated by PPAI was a big hit and created many opportunities to connect with clients and prospects. You don’t have to wait for a program like this to have a Client Appreciation Lunch or do an Open House. We need to be thanking our clients and reaching out all the time!
In what would seem to be a unique twist on connecting and saying thanks, one of my clients reached out to me with this e-mail message:
Hey Pal. All is well here, and I thought I’d just send out a “Hey Pal” to you.
Hope the fam is doing well.
I need to take this guy out to lunch!
Spring Training represents a time of optimism. No “real games” have been played and everyone has the chance to win. A new season brings new hope. You can start fresh with a new commitment to your clients anytime and can achieve the success you desire.