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‘Quality’ Sales Calls Pay Off —DeWese

January 2011

Whew, whewee and wheweeee! I am just slap wore out.

This column-writing is real hard work. It's the end of 2010, this is my first column for the New Year, and I already feel like I've been rode hard and put up wet.

This is column number 291 for a total of 363,750 words. I think that's more words than is contained in James Joyce's "Ulysses." I was right. I went to Wikipedia and found that "Ulysses" contained "approximately" 265,000 words. My Printing Impressions columns have totaled about 100,000 more words than "Ulysses."

They didn't have Microsoft Word "word count" in February of 1922 when "Ulysses" was published in Paris by Sylvia Beach. Sylvia did not count the words, and she was smart enough to get a printing estimate based on the printer's estimate of word count. The printing company owner was smitten by Beach, and agreed to count the words rather than the pages.

Avoid Distractions

Sylvia leaned over his desk to reveal her ample cleavage. The printer, one J. Malcolm Hathaway, was unable to concentrate and lost count many times. He soon only pretended to count the words and decided to delegate the counting to his nephew, Reggie Mountbatten, the firm's typographer.

When Sylvia learned that the word count was delegated to Reggie, she found it necessary to visit him frequently, making sure to brandish her generous décolleté—ostensibly to inspect his work but, in fact, to curry his friendship.

Boy did she succeed. Reggie reported to bookkeeping a total word count of 125,000, which was less than half the actual number. The first print run was 1,000 copies. The company accountant calculated that the job lost £3,000.

This column is about sales lessons, so the first lesson is to avoid distractions when taking specs or when quoting a job.

The next lesson is the importance of quality and quantity. That breaks down to the need for quality sales calls, coupled with the need for a lot of sales calls. I'll define a "quality sales call." It's a face-to-face meeting with a qualified print buyer where a conversation occurs.

Actually, nowadays, the sales call could be by telephone or e-mail. Or, with the texting revolution that is occurring among 12- to 30-year-olds, the call could increasingly be exchanges of text messages. I actually shuddered when I wrote that texting will become a growing means of sales communication.

 

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