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Advantage Sport & Fitness (ASF) has found a formula for success in selling commercial fitness equipment on the East Coast. Now in its 25th year of operation, ASF is looking to post the biggest numbers in company history in 2012, surpassing sales set in 2011.
How does a company, started in the basement of president John Murray in 1987, maintain its competitive edge? Simple. By recruiting the right people.
During his 15-year tenure coaching the Ithaca College wrestling program (1980-81 to 1994-95), Murray led the Bombers to three Division III NCAA team championships, with twelve Top-15 finishes. Murray saw 27 wrestlers earn 50 All-American honors with five winning individual titles. By the time Murray retired from coaching in 1995, he had become the winningest coach in the program’s 65-year history, while receiving the NCAA Division III “Coach of the Year” award in 1984, 1989, and 1994.
Knowing what it would take to accomplish the same success with his start-up business as he did with his college wrestling teams, Murray has recruited a formidable commercial sales team by targeting former collegiate standouts, starting with 1996 Ohio State national champion and two-time All-American, Mitch Clark.
Murray quickly found that success in wrestling would often translate to success in sales, and he has since added many of his top sales performers by hiring former collegiate wrestlers.
Currently, Murray’s sales team includes Clark, Cornell wrestlers Matt Bogumil and All-American Josh Arnone, Edinboro’s three-time All-American and former Hofstra head coach Tom Shifflet, and former Hofstra two-time Academic All-American Dennis Papadatos. Now, with new goals in sight, Murray has added another former Cornell All-American, Steve Anceravage.
Anceravage, head assistant coach for North Carolina State since 2009, was a two-time All-American, four-time All-Ivy League, and four-time NCAA qualifier for the Big Red. Steve also grabbed a fifth-place finish at 174 pounds at the 2009 NCAA Championships with the Big Red. He capped off his career with a 35-3 record his senior year, boosting his overall collegiate mark to 119-28. Anceravage will be joining the Carolina Sport & Fitness (CSF) sales team, a branch of ASF that was the result of a 2010 company expansion into North Carolina, South Carolina and southern Virginia.
So what is it about former wrestlers which helps them perform so well into the world of sales?
Murray explains, “Wrestling is a sport where you take responsibility for your own performance. It is on you whether you fail or succeed on the mat, and the same can be said for sales.”
According to Clark, it is the competitive pressure of performing that has engaged him as a member of Team Advantage, “I love my job and working for this company. I enjoyed coaching, but nothing beats stepping on the mat yourself.”
Murray continues, explaining more similarities between the two worlds: “Selling is like a never-ending tournament, you don’t get to take any points into the next match, only the experience you gained from the previous one.”
A thought which rings true for anyone in the sport.
Murray is continuing his search to add the right people to join Team Advantage, as he looks to fill open sales positions for both the ASF and CSF sales teams. ASF is looking for a school rep in Western Pennsylvania, while CSF is looking for a school rep to cover the western half of North Carolina, South Carolina and southern Virginia.
If you are interested in joining Team Advantage, send a cover letter and resume to John Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org .