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DeWese--Surprising Facts in an Industry Study

September 2000
This column will celebrate the outstanding performance of America's print salespeople or at least most of America's 100,000-plus print salespeople. About 20 percent of the 100,000 are mediocre underachievers who, while possessing some sales ability, never seem to realize their potential. Another 15 percent are woeful laggards who, like the infamous Marvelle Stump, never earn their draws—but never fail to cash their payroll checks.

In one sense, the under-performing 35 percent are good for the achievers, because their failure to sell creates extra sales and commissions for the achievers. The slackers also serve a useful purpose by making the contributors look even better.

I decided to dedicate this column to the sales winners as a result of some new industry information that we have developed. It turns out that the printing industry is performing very well at this time. I didn't realize how well until I read the research.

This special research came about one day when my partner, Gabe Nagy, and I were commiserating about the printing industry in the lunch room of our company, Compass Capital Partners. Gabe and I have precious little time to commiserate, but we were having lunch and it was a good time to talk. Gabe, as I recall, was eating one of those wrapped veggie sandwiches and I had a light repast consisting of a foot-long meatball and provolone sandwich, a large bowl of minestrone, two bags of potato chips and a piece of chocolate pie.

As we talked, the subject of the tragically low stock prices of publicly traded printing companies came up, and I observed that the Wall Street analysts and the institutional investors, like mutual funds and insurance companies, don't really understand or know much about the printing industry. Gabe is a Princeton University graduate and a Harvard Law School attorney who specializes in company valuations. So when it comes to Wall Street and the stock market, Gabe knows his stuff.

I was wiping some Marinara sauce off my shirt as Gabe agreed with me that, "the stocks of most of the public printing companies are undervalued because, in part at least, the merits and achievements of the industry are hidden under a bushel basket."

Well, right then and there, Gabe and I decided to invest some of our excess cash in a research project to see just how well the printing industry is performing. The results of our project are in, and the findings will be published and circulated to all the 60-plus Wall Street analysts who follow our industry. I, however, am going to leak some of the results right here in this column because they make print salespeople look very good. And, as you know, I believe in acknowledging good performance.
 

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