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Common Sales Ailments — DeWese

June 2006
THIS IS column Number 239, which brings the total words I’ve written to 310,700 during nearly 22 years. If I’m not mistaken, that’s more words than “War and Peace.” According to my roster of readers (a sophisticated, digitized database), there are seven people who have read all of those columns. Unfortunately, they are confined to the “home” for life and I’m unable to speak with them.

All regular readers of DeWese on Sales know June is the month of my birth and that typically my June column shamelessly celebrates my life. Over the years, I have shared a multitude of my life successes with Printing Impressions subscribers and, although I don’t always hear from them, I know my heroics have had a profound and positive effect on my readers.

How one human can be so imbued with goodness is hard to comprehend. Even I don’t understand it.

A Renaissance Man

A few years ago I wrote some books for print salespeople, which were available through, NAPL and PIA. One of the books, titled “Now, Get Out There and Sell Something!” was a blockbuster best-seller, at least in the printing industry. It was a compilation of 55 of my most favorite columns. The book was such a monumental success that I’ve decided to publish two more books. Why not? I have almost 200 past columns from which to choose.

One book will be titled, “I Want a Pullet Surprise!” It will be a riotously funny and highly educational compilation of 50 to 60 columns.

The second book will be called “Mañana Man’s Anatomy.” It will likely win a No-Bell Prize because it is more scientific. See, the Pullet Surprise is awarded for good literature. The No-Bell Prize is for scientific achievements; for example, honoring the guy who invented the Q-Tip and the lady who discovered a Vaseline deposit in her back yard and started bottling it.

Both prizes have secret selection committees and the winners get big cash prizes.

No one has ever won both prizes in the same year. I will be the first.

“Mañana Man’s Anatomy” is the print salesperson’s version of “Gray’s Anatomy” for physicians. “Gray’s Anatomy” is all about the human anatomy and has pictures of various body parts! It’s now in its 39th printing. Wow! That’s the kind of popularity I’m seeking.

There is also a TV show called Grey’s Anatomy. I have never seen it, but maybe it’s as good as the book. Perhaps somebody will make a TV series out of my book.

“Mañana Man’s Anatomy” is the result of my research on print salespeople to learn what causes their

failures. Many of these failures are now employed elsewhere but, just maybe, my book will help the remaining potential failures. I have identified many diseases that afflict salespeople and found that most of them are mental.

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find in the “Mañana Man’s Anatomy.” I have given all these diseases scientific names to impress the Nobel selection committee.

The first disease, Mañana Procrastinitis Noworka (MPN), is the most prevalent. MPN is easily diagnosed by observing the salesperson’s car sitting in the company parking lot every day, ALL DAY LONG! Frequently the vehicle arrives well after 9 a.m. and departs well before 5 p.m. Company payroll records will indicate that the salesperson has never earned commissions in excess of his beloved draw.

Not-so Busy Work

This salesperson can be seen at his desk making lists, creating new file folders, surreptitiously working crossword puzzles and, even more furtively, reading cheap paperback novels.

A careful analysis of this MPN salesperson’s past will reveal that he has never possessed ambition or any semblance of a work ethic. Selling printing is just too hard for a MPN. He should either be shot or given a job as a border guard protecting the border between North and South Dakota.

The next disease that I have isolated in my laboratory is called Rosea Redassa Letharga. RRL is closely related to MPN, but is particularly characterized by a virulent rash on the buttocks, as well as the enlargement and expansion of said buttocks. This results in men having pear-shaped bodies and frequent scratching of the aforementioned body parts. Women, who rarely contract RRL, merely buy one of those thigh machines and see a dermatologist. This disease, however, is much more frequent among print salesmen who sit on their rash all day; it is hardly ever found among print saleswomen because they have a much stronger worth ethic.

Yet another affliction is called Redunditis Verbosum et Booritis. These are salespeople who can’t sell their way out of a wet paper bag because they are crashing boors. Customers and prospects become nauseous in their presence. This disease causes the salesperson to believe that he is charming, funny and irresistible. He is often observed with poorly fitted clothing, ear hair, nose hair and dandruff, and suffers from body odor. The disease, however, clouds the patient’s mind, thus he is oblivious to the gagging nausea among his customers.

You may have noticed that this column is about print salesmen and their receptiveness to these diseases. Women are less vulnerable due to the fact that they tend to be more professional. I am hoping for more women owners, CEOs and print salespeople. To that end, I founded—along with Joan Davidson, president of The Sheraton Press and chairman of the NAPL—The Joan Davidson Scholarship Fund to encourage and support the higher education of women wishing a career in the printing industry. E-mail me for details at Now, either move your car to the Starbucks parking lot or Get Out There And Sell Something!

—Harris DeWese

About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something, available through NAPL or PIA/GATF. He is chairman and CEO at Compass Capital Partners and is an author of the annual “Compass Report,” the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed more than 100 printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the printing industry. He specializes in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales, marketing, planning and management services to printing companies. He can be reached via

e-mail at


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