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Harris DeWese

The Mañana Man Online

By Harris DeWese

About Harris

Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.


Imagine the Good News —DeWese

BREAKFAST IS a ritualistic celebration for me. It must consist of complementary foods—eggs and bacon, eggs and sausage. It should include some grits or fried potatoes. And fruit; I prefer mixed berries or melon, but not mixed melon—just honeydew or just cantaloupe. There must be orange juice and strong, dark roast coffee. I usually make two pieces of toast and butter with thick slices of country white bread.

The food is almost always perfect because I cook for myself. I am one of America’s great egg cooks. I’m talkin’ about fried over, sunny side up, scrambled, poached, soft boiled and omelettes of all persuasions.

I sit at the end of my kitchen island with the food assembled before me. Three years ago, I would rush through the food to reach the climax—a cigarette. I quit smoking nearly three years ago and, although I still have the nicotine cravings, I eat slowly now because there is no smoke reward at the end of the meal.

I neglected to mention the newspaper. It’s part of the ritual and it must be to the left of my plate, stacked neatly from the front section right through to the classified. I get two papers, so there is plenty of reading to do.

It was a Sunday morning and raining. I had prepared breakfast and was ready to eat, when I remembered the newspapers. I dash-ed, er, make that walked fast, outside to find one paper soaked and disintegrating and the other paper missing or undelivered.

It felt like a punch in the gut. For a few seconds, I couldn’t get my breath. My entire morning was ruined without the paper. Almost as bad as the time I ran out of grits.

I took my place at the counter, closed my eyes and tried to gather myself.

I’m one level-headed, sure-footed dude, but I began daydreaming that I had a newspaper, and I could visualize the headlines and text.

Making (Up) Headlines

The lead headline read, “U.S. Printing Industry Investigated for Profiteering.” America’s 30,000 printing companies are enjoying obscene record profits, and the U.S. Attorney General’s office wants to know why. One U.S. Assistant Prosecutor explained to the Inquirer, “We were told the oil industry was the only industry that could post record profits. Now, with oil at $13 per barrel and a gallon of regular gasoline at 68 cents, the oil industry is bleeding red.”

In a related story, the headline read, “63 Arab Sheikhs Declare Bankruptcy.” Sheikh Omore Tumuch told this reporter, “We are selling our collections of Rolls, Bentleys, Mercedes and Lambor-ghinis to American printers. We need the money for groceries.”

I glanced down to the lower right hand corner of Page One, where I read, “President Buffet (that’s Warren, not Jimmy) Announces Healthcare Insurance for Every Citizen.”

It seems government officials had located Prentiss Lucas “Luke” Scruggs in an abandoned building in Dogpatch, WV. Mr. Scruggs was given his “Total Care” health insurance card and a flu shot.

A story in the middle of Page One was headed, “Bin Laden Captured by Boy Scouts.” Osama Bin Laden was captured in his cave by 17 members of the Linville, OH, Troop 614, who had travelled to Afganistan and were working on their merit badges for tracking skills. Printing salesman and troop chaperone, Toby Jordan, said, “The boys helped me sell beautiful printed calendars to raise money for the trip.” Troop leader, Neville Richards, reported, “It was easy. We knew he could not bathe, and we simply followed his scent. He gave us no resistance and seemed relieved that he was finally going to get a bath.”

Wow! Good news! We finally caught the killer.

I moved on to Page Two and read, “U.S. Congressmen ‘Fess Up’ to Their Lies and Unanimously Vote for Term Limits.” Two hundred-seventeen senators and representatives revealed their election campaign lies and joined a unanimous vote for one-term, five-year limits. Another 187 senators and representatives seek psychiatric counseling to remedy a variety of psychoses, phobias and fetishes.

Just below that story I read, “513,879 Handguns Turned in to U.S. Police.” Miami Police Chief John Timoney, speaking for law enforcement throughout the United States, exulted, “We think we got ’em all! It’s going to take several years to melt down these weapons.”

I went to the Health and Leisure section where I read, “Center for Disease Control Announces Cures for Cancer, AIDS, Diabetes and the Gout.”

Dream On (and Upward)

The Sports Section was next, and I read about my alma mater, Emory University. “Emory Trounces USC 63-0 to Top NCAA Division Race for the National Championship.” The Emory Scholars remained undefeated and in first place after only five years of Division I football. Coach Warren Jefferson said, “I am proud of our 100 percent walk-on team, but even more proud of our team grade point average at 3.79. Two of our five-year-eligible quarterbacks are first-year med school students.”

Finally, in the Business Section, I see, “Former Mississippi Salesman Named CEO at RR Donnelley.” The world’s largest printing company has named a new CEO, Marvelle Stump of Hot Coffee, MS. Mr. Stump said, “I come up the hard way as an unsuccessful printing salesperson. Then a magazine writer, the Mañana Man, gotta holt o’ me and turned my life around with his wisdom and advice! My mama and them is so proud of me!”

I mopped up the last bit of grits with my bread and put the paper down. The news left me with a big smile because I just gave my readers their gift for 2007—some good news.

Now remember these sales attributes, as you begin the new year.

• Honesty.

• Sense of humor.

• Self-confidence.

• Dependability.

• Listening skills.

• Likable and memorable.

• Superior oral and written communications skills.

• In-depth technical know-how.

• A student of closing skills and the will to ask for the order whenever a buying signal is heard.

• Practiced at presentation skills whether it’s one-on-one or addressing a dozen people.

• Healthy competitiveness.

• Knowledge: “He or she who controls the information, controls.”

Now, incorporate these sales attributes into your game plan. And, get out there and sell something! PI

—Harris DeWese

About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something, which is available through NAPL or PIA/GATF. He is chairman/CEO of Compass Capital Partners and is an author of the annual “Compass Report,” the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 141 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry’s preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at

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