If you’re looking for a normal sales article – one that has a distinct meaning and point – this isn’t it. I’ve just returned from a trip to Spain that combined a great training session at DocuWorld Europe with a vacation to Barcelona. What follows is a random collection of thoughts that might be helpful to anyone thinking of traveling overseas.
First and foremost – 95% of sales is universal throughout the world. Any cultural differences lie in the margins – that 5%. And, from my conversations, even that 5% can be very flexible. I had 40 people representing 15 different home countries in my session, and the amount of overall agreement on selling was amazing. Yes, the session was in English, if you’re wondering.
One of the most gratifying occurrences for any trainer is to discuss a technique with a new person, and have someone in the back of the room say, “Hey, you taught us that last year. I tried it, and it WORKS.” This happened about four times in the session I did (most of the session was new material). To have my techniques work worldwide is a great validation.
And on that note, I have to say a huge “Thank you” to everyone connected with DocuWorld, especially the people who attended my training session. This was my second year at DocuWorld, and over half of my class was made up of repeat attendees from last year. I was overwhelmed at the reception I got, and with the friendships that I’ve made. It was a great experience and I’m already looking forward to next year.
Now on to travel – Mallorca is a truly beautiful place. The old city of Palma is a great sightseeing location. There are rural areas surrounding, and the coastline is dotted with resort areas and ports (our resort was in a port town). It’s a great setting for such a convention.
Barcelona may have more art museums per square mile than any other city in the world. In Barcelona, you’re literally immersed in history from the Roman Empire forward. The Museum of Natural History actually allows you to walk through a dig of the original Roman city that was Barcelona’s predecessor. It’s almost overwhelming.
From the moment we landed in Barcelona, we were warned about pickpockets. Pickpocketing is the most common crime for tourists to encounter, but honestly, it’s not that difficult to avoid. I kept my wallet in my front pocket instead of the rear, and had my hands in my pockets much of the time I was walking, and never had a problem. I do think that I had two close brushes. Once I felt a bump from the rear and turned to see a man scurrying away in the opposite direction. Two nights later, we were walking on a small pedestrian street and a person who looked like he had bad intentions walked by us, turned, and followed us for about half a block. He quickly figured out that I wasn’t an easy mark. Pickpockets aren’t strong-arm robbers; if you don’t make an easy target of yourself you won’t have a problem.
If you’re going to be staying in the middle of the big cities, think hard before you rent a car. Barcelona in particular has an excellent public transportation system, and parking is difficult to say the least. We rented on Mallorca and to go to the World Superbike race in Aragon, but went without in Barcelona and didn’t miss it.
The food is a definite difference from the States. Spanish food is fairly bland; if you’re looking for spicy food you probably won’t find it here. There’s the occasional Asian or Indian restaurant, but most restaurants have a wide offering of tapas, sandwiches, and pasta. A few have steaks (Spanish steaks are very thinly cut). What’s odd is that there is little difference between the restaurants – most Spanish restaurants have similar offerings. My prediction is that, even if you go there planning to ‘go native,’ eventually you’ll end up eating at Burger King, McDonalds, or the like at least once. We had Whoppers once and our last dinner was at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Overall, I can highly recommend Spain as a travel destination. The people are friendly and welcoming, for the most part, and it’s a fairly easy destination for English speakers.