The forward momentum the American Supply Association’s specialty divisions has enjoyed in recent years continued at the recent 2016 ASA Young ExecutivesSpring Forum held at the historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

This year’s Spring Forum attracted 145 individuals up from the 2015 total of 135 in Charlotte, N.C., and better than the 129 attendance figure at the 2014 event in Kansas City.

“At my first YE Spring Forum, I discovered a network of peers I could immediately relate to,” new YE Chairman Patrick Maloney (Coburn Supply) said. “Fast forward 10 years, my career has advanced, relationships have grown and countless new ones have been formulated.  Not only are the people I’ve met friends, they are resources I continue to learn from.”

In addition to ample time for best practices networking opportunities, attendees representing ASA-member distributors, manufacturers and manufacturers reps, took in a two-day seminar from longtime distribution consultant and Supply House Times columnist Dirk Beveridge, who spoke on a variety of topics related to innovation in the sales space.

The group agreed most salespeople, if asked what their mission is, would say it is to “sell.” Beveridge suggested this thinking is limited and “internally” focused as opposed to the needed customer focus. He said the top salespeople in the world have a mission that goes beyond “to sell.” He added their mission is in line with: “Identifying and satisfying the customers’ needs — profitably. Do that and you also will sell a lot of product and services.”

Beveridge then referenced a business that sells feed to farmers across the country. Its mission, “We won’t ask for your business, unless we can help improve your business,” has been the foundation for industry-leading organic growth and positioning of its sales team as trusted advisors,” Beveridge said.

Beveridge also listed three different types of salespeople by using a number system. He said a 1:10 salesperson has no concern for the customer and only cares about the company they work for. A 1:1 salesperson has no concern for anybody but themselves and a 10:1 salesperson has a very high concern for the customer and little concern for the company.

“Top-performing sales organizations tend to trend to 10:10 salespeople — equally high concern for the customer and the company,” he noted.

This year’s Spring Forum was sponsored by NIBCO, At the annual group dinner, attendees heard from NIBCO President Steve Malm (see Editor Mike Miazga’s column on Page 6 for more on Malm’s talk). The next day NIBCO took attendees on a tour of its Blytheville, Ark., ISO 9001-certified valve manufacturing plant.

As has become custom, the ASA YE Division raised more funds for the Operation Rise & Conquer initiative that focuses on raising awareness and financial support to help empower and inspire wounded soldiers and veterans to regain confidence and trust in themselves and others. ASA YE Staff Liaison Bill Erfort said this year’s YE event raised nearly $5,000 for ORC. Since ASA helped start the ORC drive with other PHCP-PVFstakeholders, more than $250,000 has been raised.

Next year’s YE Spring Forum heads to Cleveland May 22-24 and is sponsored by Oatey Supply Chain Services.

This article was originally titled “A 10:10 vision” in the July 2016 print edition of Supply House Times.