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March 2009

Now, I’m sure Harris DeWese gets lots of letters from appreciative salespeople. Let me state right here that I’m not in sales; I’m the owner, press operator and all of prepress. I’ve been reading De-Wese’s column since I was the only employee at another small print shop here in Jackson Hole, WY. 

Coupon packets have always been a spring tradition because it’s between tourist seasons. The local radio station has always sold them in the spring and, no matter what shop I’ve worked at, I’ve been dragged into printing them. We thought that we might as well sell them in the spring now, too! With DeWese’s advice, I’m evolving into a novice sales woman, and my background in Political Science hasn’t hurt either. In fact, it’s finally useful. I know how to distribute propaganda.

Anyway, Old West Press is a two-woman shop composed of myself, the owner, and Gracie, the boss and apprentice. She’s older than me and drove everyone nuts in retirement, so she entered our industry at the youthful age of 67. She’s here to keep me on the straight and narrow.

So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! If anyone wants to see or use our idea, and they’re not in Wyoming or Eastern Idaho, tell ’em to go for it. If they want our bailout art, I will send it to them—not that it’s great, but we’ve had fun with it. I also have lots of experience doing the actual printing and collation on a coupon set. When they work, they’re great because your own advertising gets a free ride. 

I do have one or two comments on how salespeople can be intimidated by doing actual sales. It was hard for me when I first put on my best Levi’s and went out to do cold calls. (This means “well dressed” here in these parts. Denim isn’t just clothing; it’s a way of life.) I changed the way I thought about things. I wasn’t selling; I was fishing.

Before I became a business owner, I spent a good deal of my time standing on a river bank in a cloud of mosquitoes at dusk, losing flies just to catch a fish or two. Suddenly, making cold calls doesn’t sound quite so intimidating any more. In fact, sales has nothing on fly fishing when it comes to futility.

Second, I learned the hard way just the other day that proper clothing is very important when you are going out to pound the pavement, or icy slush in our case. Wear the right boots, or cold calls can become COLD calls. Looking nice is overrated. This is Wyoming. Getting dirty and wearing Levi’s and pack boots are the norm.

I’ve never written to a celebrity like Harris DeWese before. Thanks for his always entertaining and educating columns, too.

Now I’m gonna get out there and sell something!

Dawn McKibbin
Old West Press
Jackson Hole, WY

We encourage reader feedback. Write to Mark Michelson, editor-in-chief, Printing Impressions, 1500 Spring Garden St., 12th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19130; e-mail letters are shortened/edited due to length.


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