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DeWese--Time for Some Self-analysis

March 1999

I don't know about you, but the Gallup people have never, never, never called me for my thoughts on any national issue.

I have never been polled by anybody. Not "CNN," Time, Newsweek, USA Today—nary any national media pollster or political party pollster has called me.

Hey, I'm in the phone book. I've even got an e-mail address.

I file and pay my taxes every year. I'm a registered Republican voter. I've got credit cards, and all the catalogers have my name and address. I'm not hidin'! The pollsters can damnsure find me!

No one has asked me to rate the president's performance or that of my residential garbage service. However, I am asked, from time to time, to rate the performance of a printing company president. Frequently, Wall Street analysts call me to get my opinion on the performance of some of the publicly traded printing companies. Sometimes I'm asked to rate the performance of printing salespeople. But, I've never been asked to rate the performance of any president, much less the guy who is presently in office.

So, I wonder, when Gallup does their polls, who do they call?

I've got a few things to say. I've got a nephew who's an officer on an atomic submarine. He tells me that the taxes I paid in 1998 were enough to pay for four of their special, high-tech torpedoes. Not four multimillion-dollar atomic missiles; I'm only talkin' torpedoes. But, I insist that four torpedoes entitle me to a little input into at least one teensy-weensy poll.

Speaking of surveys, I wonder how many of you have asked your customers and prospects for their opinions on your relationship lately? Have you asked them how you, the salesperson, can do better? What can your company do to improve? What do they like about your competitors? You can do this formally through a mailing or you can do it face-to-face.

When you are face-to-face, you might ask, "Mary, do me favor. I'm curious. How do I stack up against the other salespeople who call on you? How can I improve?" Then ask, "While we're on the subject of improvement, how can my company improve?"

Now, you may get some darn good suggestions for improvement. Like your customer might say, "Bill, it would help if you would take the earring out of your nose and try to hide those tattoos with, maybe, a long sleeved dress shirt instead of that sleeveless T-shirt. And please stop parking your Harley in the handicapped space. Oh, and your company could be more timely with my press OKs. I really don't have time to sit in your lobby for three hours while the pressroom does makeready and comes up to color."


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