Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Summer Sales Meetings

It's that time of year again: Time for textbook salespeople all over the nation to gather in one place to hear a week's worth of presentations on six months' worth of new books by day and then party all night.

At least that's how I understand it, as a sales spouse. My husband Jason took off yesterday for a week in Orlando to learn all about the new books for Addison Wesley, Longman, Allyn & Bacon, and Prentice Hall. The truth is, it's excruciating: They start as early as 7:30am and sit in the same room until 6pm, listening to marketing people recount what's new about the new textbook editions. For example, they might spend four hours hearing about economics textbooks. Bleah!

But after hours, they take advantage of the fun things at their meeting destination--mainly restaurants, but some hardy souls always end up closing down the disco. Usually there are special events as well. Several years ago I accompanied Jason to the Baltimore sales meeting, during which they took us for a harbor cruise on the Duck, and then to a dockside restaurant where you get to shatter crabs with little wooden hammers.

But my second-hand perspective ends this year. Our new parent company, EMC/Paradigm, has its own summer sales meeting in its home city of Minneapolis/St. Paul in two weeks. I will be going mainly as an observer to learn about their products. They will also be learning about ours, but are primarily interested in our textbooks and workbooks. I may be called upon to back up the marketing VP's presentation at some point, but I don't anticipate having to do any presentations of my own. As a recovering introvert, that's a relief!

So I'll report more on my trek to the Twin Cities in a few weeks. I'm relieved that our meetings don't overlap with those of Jason's company. We get to tag-team taking care of our three-year-old daughter instead of having to beg a grandma to take her for a week!

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