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He Just Doesn't Get It --DeWese

November 2002
You remember that the Feds released my print buyer and banker hostages. They found my secret camp when a snitch revealed our whereabouts. It was probably that weasel laundry truck driver.

I was holding the hostages until the printing industry raised prices by 25 percent. So much for that plan. I'll have to try something else.

I'm still being held by the Feds at a brand new Executive Detention Center. It was built for all the Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia Cable executives who will soon be my cell, er, suite mates. This place is the ultimate white-collar prison. The Feds have a management contract with the Ritz Carlton for this facility.

I can't watch 600-channel cable TV or read in the library all day. I'm the only inmate, so I can't even play cards. I do stroll through the gardens and loll in the hot bubbling spa. This is my think time.

What do I think about?

I think about all the things that are happening that I just don't get. That's the topic of this column—things I just don't get.

Lacking Aggression

For example, there are tens of thousands of print salespeople who rarely, if ever, attempt to prospect for new accounts. I meet some salespeople who can't even name their top prospects. This makes prospecting easy for their more aggressive competitors. Surely the prospecting laggards understand their incomes will grow. They must know that new accounts protect them if they lose any of their existing accounts.

I don't get it.

Here's another one. There are thousands of printing company owners and CEOs who either ignore their sales departments' failure to prospect or do nothing to help them prospect for new business. Then they whine about sales declining. Surely they understand that growing sales with new business will enable them to improve the balance sheet and finance the future.

I sure don't get it.

When I began writing this column 18 years ago, 20 percent of the print salespeople made 80 percent of the sales. Today, 20 percent of the salespeople make 80 percent of the sales. Nothing has changed! It seems like we would have made some progress in 18 years.

I just don't get it.

It seems that printing industry management would have learned how to manage salespeople so that maybe the ratio would have changed to 60 percent/40 percent. The truth is that the 80 percent/20 percent superstars are largely self-motivated, self-trained and natural talents. We either need more natural talents or we need better sales management. I think that many owners/CEOs are afraid to try.

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