How Selling Industrial Coatings is Like Being a Baseball Fan

By: Davies Hood, Induron President

As temperatures slowly begin to rise across our country and the bleak winter rolls into beautiful spring (alleluia!), I long for the best 2 words in the American vernacular… Play Ball! It’s baseball season and even though our nation’s dialogue is as venomous as ever, I remember things will be OK because the boys-of-summer are back playing our nation’s pastime!

I ran across an article titled America needs baseball’s virtues more than ever last week while drinking coffee and reading the Sunday newspaper—yes, someone still does that! One of my immediate thoughts was how similar selling industrial coatings is to being a baseball fan. Please stick with me here!

A decade plus ago when I moved into a management position at Induron, which involved offering support and direction for a team of manufacturer’s representatives, I quickly learned just how difficult my chosen profession of industrial coatings sales really was. Developing relationships by building trust takes a long time and commitment, just like hitting a curve ball or cheering for your favorite team in a down year.  It’s not a part time thing. At that point, I decided that to succeed in a relationship business, which is exactly what coatings sales is, Induron needed a team of dedicated professionals who knew our products, the markets we serve and our customers better than our competitors.

To succeed in all three aspects, one needs to understand the value of delayed gratification. “Build it and they will come” is a great approach to take with all relationships—not just professional ones. Thank you, Roy Hobbs/Kevin Costner, for that sound bite!

In addition to delayed gratification, baseball fans know that their game is a philosophical one. There are 162 games every year. Wins are good but loses happen, and either way, there is a game the next day. You simply have to be ready to play, whether you won or lost yesterday. Get over it, get your mind right and do your best today. Does that sound like a healthy approach to sales? I certainly think so.

Because of the large number of games played, baseball effectively teaches patience, avoiding quick judgement and/or jumping to uninformed decisions. At Induron, we try to teach our representatives to be product and market experts. I also sure hope our customers take that same analytical approach prior to making purchasing decisions. Like our tagline, I want people to “Look Beneath the Surface.”

Lastly, baseball cherishes and embraces historical context more than any other sport. If this wasn’t so, would there be such a huge debate over the all-time hits leader NOT being in the hall-of-fame because het bet on the game? How about players from the steroid era? As a Giants fan, I am actually OK with the fact that the all-time home run leader has NOT been voted into the hall. There are rules, written and unwritten that must be followed. At Induron, we also honor history, which is evident by our 70th anniversary celebration.

In closing, as a long-time baseball fan and manager of a sales team in a relationship-driven business, I cherish the exact same components of baseball: delayed gratification, a philosophical, patient approach, and a respect for history.

I hope this blog helps you appreciate our nation’s pastime and learn a little more about Induron’s marketplace, approach to sales and our overall philosophy.

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