Extra Innings with Polek & Polek (baseball free agents, sales peeps)


Chris Polek and I are huge fans of baseball.  Chris is a lifelong fan of the Yankees and the same for me except I'm a big fan of the Mets.  You'd think that a Yankee fan and a Met fan would do some trash talking, but that's not the case since we are both avid fans of baseball.

During the off-season two of the biggest free agents out on the market were Manny Machado (signed with Padres) and Bryce Harper (signed with Phillies). Both are players are very capable of putting the team on their back and stacking up countless wins.  All that winning does come at a price though.  Machado with a 10 year guaranteed for $300 million and Harper with a 13 years with a guaranteed $330 million.

Both players are 26 years old, both players probably won't make the end of their contracts and both have career batting averages under .285.  When it comes to offense that means they fail more than 7 times out of ten where they do not get a hit.  Dang, if I failed 7 out of ten times with prospects, I'd probably be looking for another job.

While Chris and I were chatting the other day we thought we would share some points about signing or not signing that superstar salesperson. That gal or guy that can put the team on their back and help the time meet and exceed their goals.

Okay, so let's get into to it. Chris Polek will give us his thoughts and I'll chime in with a few of my own. 

Chris: These are certainly big bets by these teams, and just like in business, there is always risk. You know the saying: “No risk, no reward”

While it is easy for people to start calculating how many dollars per home run or plate appearances that adds up to, you know the owners of these teams weighed on benefits outside of the player’s stats to justify that investment. Things like more ticket sales, which equals more concessions sales. How many more people want to buy that player’s jersey?

Art: Yup, I can see that. By adding that top sale rep to the team, that person and their performance can enhance the sales team. That’s accomplished with the pecking order moving a down a notch or two with the other sales people on the team. Top sales people don’t like to be anything but first. Quoting from Talledega Nights, “if you’re not first you’re last”.

Chris: And what about the rest of team players? How excited are they to work with an impact player like that? Will they raise their level of play that these teams are playoff contenders? Believe me; these owners were looking to buy more value that just how many dollars each plate appearance cost.

Art: Acquiring that top sales person will inspire others. Other sales people on the team will raise their levels because they need and want to compete. Plain and simple we like to win.

Chris: Pay in sales is different compared to these guaranteed baseball contracts though. In sales the top players are making the big paycheck, because they are bringing in the results. As a business owner, if you are concerned that you are paying your salespeople too much money, you probably haven’t instituted the correct compensation plan. When you pay your salespeople record breaking paychecks, it means you should be having record breaking financial performance in your company.

Art: Agreed, you can’t sell Jersey’s with the names of your top salespeople on the back. But you can ride the backs of the those top performers.

Chris: Although Bryce Harper and Manny Machado were the players that were making the headlines because of the record breaking contracts, what happened after these signings was even more noteworthy. It seems that baseball owners realized something about free agency: it is expensive.

Baseball owners decided that instead of letting those loyal, good performers play out their contracts, and become a free agent, it was better to tear up that contract, and sign them to an extension of 5 or 7 years. These weren’t the pay levels of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or even Mike Trout, but all very comfortable and fair contracts to keep that loyalty and production from those players such as: Chris Sale, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Xander Bogaerts, Ronald Acuna Jr., Aaron Hicks to name a few.

The point is those sales people or employees that are there for you through thick and thin, you need to make sure that you take care of them. Sometimes it is money, or new computers, but what goes farthest for a business owner is making sure that you genuinely appreciate the hard work and value that they bring to your organization. Your employees value that recognition over and above the paycheck. Your “A” players will stick with you when they know they are appreciated versus leaving you for a pay increase.

Art: It's all about investment. Invest in your team in order to reap the rewards. Adding a top player (salesperson) will improve the overall performance of the team, as only as you don’t treat them differently. Just getting away from baseball for a second. In New York we had a player by the name of Beckham, who is an awesome talent. Problem was he was not disciplined by the coaching staff, ultimately it lead to the demise of a season and Beckham getting traded.

Chris: That superstar sales person can be that final piece of the puzzle that makes your company a contender; perhaps a World Champion. That one person will not determine success alone. As a business owner, you need to continually invest in taking care of your loyal employees, and providing them the tools to bring successful results for your company. It will create a culture of loyalty, hard work, discipline, and the desire to succeed.

That superstar salesperson is the finishing touch, and the culture of your team is the foundation. If you don’t have the proper culture in place at your company, there is a bigger possibility that huge free agent contract will turn into buyer’s remorse. That superstar sales person will look like the answer, and you need to have the right culture in place for them to fit.

It is like having the key to your success, but you have the wrong keyhole. That will cause frustration, and will lead to a losing season. So focus on getting your company culture rock solid, then adding that superstar sales person can set you up for a season that takes you to the World Series!

Art:  Chris and I enjoyed writing this blog. If you enjoyed reading it please share and like.  Chris Polek is President of Polek & Polek. Polek & Polek is a 2nd generation wholesale distributor of toner, toner cartridges, drums, mfp, copier, printer supplies, parts, staples, power protection and more. Visit thier web site here

-=Good Selling=-

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