Printing Sales Manifesto —DeWese
A MOB OF about 15 printing company owners swept in, unimpeded, whilst I was taking a short nap. I had worked 21 hours (my typical work day) without eating or sleeping, and was only dozing for a few hours. They moved with swift execution. Obviously, they were well-prepared.
They looked professional in their matching black stocking caps, camouflage fatigues and glistening new combat boots. They had corporate sponsorship and wore patches advertising their benefactor’s logo.
Horribly, my spouse, Attila the Nun, was an accomplice to this vicious conspiracy. She was in on the planning and, in fact, served as a lookout who stood the door while the merciless villains bound and gagged me. She had been given her own matching camou shorts and turtleneck with her own black stocking cap. I learned later that her outfit was purchased from the Victoria’s Secret catalog.
The final indignity was the damn strait jacket. That was my wife’s idea. She thought the strait jacket would throw off the neighbors. She said, “They’ll never notice. They think he should have been hauled off to the funny farm years ago.”
I was crushed, broken-hearted and unwanted. It was almost as if she wanted me gone, gone, gone.
The kidnappers loaded me in the back of one of those fancy stretch busses. It was loaded with chilled beer, imported red and white wine, and premium liquors. I could smell barbecue. There were two scantily dressed hostesses to serve the drinks, and I was relieved that my bride of 45 years was not on the bus.
The leader of this well-dressed bunch of graphic arts executives worked his way back to me. He saw that my arms were turning purple and, without speaking, removed the strait jacket and loosened my bindings. He stared at me, snickering for several minutes.
I made some weak lamentations about the indignity of being kidnapped, but the gang leader just ignored me.
Soon, a commando walked back to me, in the full bench last row, and opened the tray-top table at the rear of one of the seats in front of me. He placed a laptop on the table and turned it on. It whirred through the new Vista startup. I had been hoping for a little entertainment. I was hoping for a movie.
Soon another print communications insurgent handed a large sealed envelope to the leader, who ripped it open and proclaimed: “Mañana Man, we have captured you to force you to write one of your columns to be titled, ‘The Owners’ Manifesto’ to print sales professionals.”
He continued, “We have surveyed our owner sisters and brothers, and collected the messages they wish could be given to all of their salespeople in your strongest terms. These demands will be provided personally to all of our salespeople, not only in your column, but also given to the salespeople in their plants’ monthly newsletters. They will read and reread the Manifesto until they either ‘get it’ or decide they need to sell beer at the ballpark, or we decide they can become a cost center in some other industry, like television advertising sales.”
The boss man finished by telling me, “The survey results are in these pages. Write a demand for each issue. When you are finished—and if we are satisfied—we’ll release you. We are going to party in the front of the limo, while you write.” He pointed to the laptop and shouted, “Now, start writing!”
The following is what I wrote.
Manifesto to Printing Sales Professionals
• I will immediately write my suspect/prospect/customer list (database) and present it to management. I will update the list, as I qualify the suspects and as I convert the prospects to customers.
• I will never trash a qualified prospect.
• I will find the proper timing and means of communication to followup with prospects, until I am successful by obtaining a first job.
• I will communicate daily with first job customers in person or by phone, while the initial job is being produced.
• I will invest a minimum of 10 hours per week contacting suspects and prospects. (This may vary up or down, depending on my number of existing accounts and their purchasing levels.)
• I will find the ways to contact existing accounts a minimum of twice each week.
• I will learn the principles of indirect questioning (questioning that requires more response than just a “yes” or “no”).
• I will learn to listen to my suspects, prospects and clients attentively as an active listener.
• I will never bribe, lie to, break a promise or patronize a buyer.
• I will never lie, cheat or steal from my employer.
• I will never compromise myself on the orders of anyone in my company.
• I will never spread bad news about a competitor. I have no time for rumors, as interesting as they may be.
• I will learn to ask for the order preferably in person, or by phone, during the buyer’s decision-making time frame.
• I will learn how to close by asking for the order. This knowledge will include all forms of closing and trial closing questions.
• I will never call on any buyer at any time under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• I will never develop an intimate or inappropriate relationship with a buyer.
• I will seek feedback on my presentation skills and my grooming, and act accordingly.
• I will keep problems within my company and seek to correct problems in a positive fashion, without rancor and with impersonal recommendations for improvement.
• I will demonstrate total loyalty to my employer. If that is not possible, I will seek employment elsewhere.
• I will develop intimate knowledge of the products and services that I am charged with selling.
• I will report to my managers and co-workers the trends and evolving needs of print buyers, as I hear them.
• I will study and learn the nature and directions of my buyers’ companies and their industries.
• I will read and reread the Mañana Man column in PRINTING IMPRESSIONS each month.
You will read this document frequently and prepare yourselves to spontaneously recite it from memory as, for example, you did in seventh grade for the “Gettysburg Address.” You may be stopped on the street by a stranger and be asked to recite the Manifesto. Failure can result in your immediate dismissal.
But wait. The owner-kidnappers are passed out up front. The limo driver needs fuel and has agreed to free me when he stops. Oh, there’s one more practice.
• I will tell myself each and every morning to get out there and sell something!
He’s stopping. I must escape. I will be stranded at the bus station with no money, no cell phone and no credit cards. Send money for a bus ticket and breakfast. Signed, Harris DeWese, c/o Trailways Bus Station, Galax, VA.PI
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something, 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 HDeWese@CompassCapLtd.com.