When I travel for business, out seeing stores or customers, I always scout out a place to fish or shoot birds or just explore. It takes a little planning on the front side and all worth it in the end. Leigh Perkins, the owner of Orvis, wrote a book called “A Sporting Life”, that talked about his life and some lessons in business he painfully learned while owning Orvis. The most intriguing aspect of his story to me were his sales trips in the station wagon, traveling around seeing customer and manufactures. He kept that station wagon ready for anything and everything and if he had the chance to hunt or fish, he would.
I have tried to take this advice most of my working career. Back in my Morgan Stanley days I packed my rod and waders to NYC for a meeting. Once we had a break for the day I took the train to Roscoe, NY to fish the Beaver Kill River. I blended right in with my pack and fly rod tube, while taking the ferry back over from Hoboken, NJ. On another trip to the Broadmore in Colorado Springs, I took off after lunch to fish the South Fork of the Platte River. I don’t think the fund managers missed me at all and I was glad I wasn’t there to answer another redundant question.
So, to this day, I find relief in these small outings and it gives me something to look forward to. I have made many new friends and it strengthens the bond of old ones out in the water or in the woods. Some take there golf clubs and make an afternoon of it. There is beauty in that, but to me my soul finds comfort in casting up stream. I have to give Mr. Perkins the credit for showing me how to make a sales trip fulfilling. Thanks Leigh.
Oh wait .... I 'm supposed to close the sale too? Wm.