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DeWese--No Holding Back On Sales Slackers

October 2000
Last month I wrote that about 35 percent of all printing salespeople are laggards—underachieving slackers and no-account dawdlers who feed at the trough of their employers. Most of these folks arrive late, leave early, sell only on price, make no new account calls and blame their failures on the plant. At the risk of getting sued,

I'm going to name some names in this column. I'm going to give you the facts on two members of my all-time Rogues Gallery of Print Saleslackers in the hope that it may convince them to resign or it may help some other borderline malingerers to get on track and actually sell some profitable printing.

By the way, I'm in a bad mood so I'm not going to pull any punches as I tell you about these losers.

"Stormin" Norman Acherwald—Norman gave himself the nickname "Stormin" one night in his favorite, and only, haunt, The No Name Bar. The "No Name" bar literally has no name—just a sign out front that says "Bar." The bar is exactly one half block from Norman's apartment in Broomall, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Norman arrives at the bar most days around 5:30 p.m. and scoffs down a couple of meatball sandwiches with his first two or three beers.

The regulars at the bar like to brag about their life achievements, so Norman came up with a story about his high school and college football career. Norm is about 5'11˝, weighs 283 pounds and claims he was an All-State nose tackle at Valley High School in Columbus, OH. He's told the story many times. He was "recruited by many major colleges and accepted a scholarship to Ohio State where he blew out his knee during his freshman year." Norman created the blown knee idea just in case anybody ever checked the Ohio State records. He occasionally remembers to limp into the bar to dramatize his injury.

Actually, the only thing Norm ever blew was his nose. The truth is that Norman suffered from asthma in high school and was team assistant trainer in charge of taping ankles. He managed to keep the job until the coach fired him for failing to bring any tape to a road game and six starters sprained their ankles in the first quarter. After graduating from high school, Norman attended a community college for one semester.

Norm tells his bar mates that he got the nickname Stormin' because he set a national high school record for making 158 unassisted tackles in one season. He adds, "The name stuck while I was fighting in Desert Storm where I single-handedly captured 200 Iranians. Some nights it's 300 Iraqis. None of the regulars at the bar can remember what happened the night before, and are a little blurry on current events, so no one ever challenges Norman when the story changes.

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