Sources of Inspiration —DeWese
IT’S ELECTION Day evening. I’m sitting here trying to get inspired to write my 244th column and my 24th Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Holiday column.
There. I’ve gotten the political correctness thing behind me. But my depression lingers. I’m not depressed by the election outcome. We all knew long before now what the results would be.
I’m depressed at being inundated for months by all the phone calls, the multitude of negative television commercials, the handful of positive TV commercials and all of the road signs stretching around highways of America.
I want all that stuff banned and the political money in future elections redirected to the printing industry. Yep, all of you get all the political advertising.
Pushing for More Printing
I’m going to draft some legislation and send it to this partially new Congress. The most important part of the bill will be the requirement that all candidates must publish their platforms on a minimum of 16 pages 8.5x11˝, coated stock in at least four-color process and they must pay for the jobs up front with certified funds.
The TV stations will suffer. The telephone solicitors are mostly volunteer, but there are some sophisticated automated phone dialer programs that will suffer. Since campaign signs are printed, they can still put out road signs for two weeks prior to the election, but they must retrieve them all as soon as the polls close. This will be handled by the losers; the winners are busy partying and too drunk to drive around retrieving road signs.
Great idea, eh?
I figure this will put about $5 billion more in our pockets. Oh, maybe it’s $6 billion since the candidates will be forced to let us send out their printed mailings in polybags so the recipients can see who is sending the beautifully printed candidate platform. In fact, the candidates may also require different versions for different voter segments.
For the hardcore, beer drinking NFL and NASCAR fans, your book would feature beautiful models and very little text. For the religious segment, your book would feature magnificent photography of lovely cathedrals and little village chapels with some scripture for text. If you’re an academic type, you get lots of text, but also plenty of colorful charts and graphs.
Well, you get the picture. More money in our pockets from the elections that take place almost every year. You will have the old Mañana Man to thank. I just keep doing it, don’t I? Giving and giving and giving to the printing industry.
All of this talk about beautiful printing and mail handling reminds me of a friend of mine. I have lunch with him occasionally because we live in the same town. Each time I invite him to lunch he brings me some interesting and helpful printed document that relates to my business. It always seems that he handpicked the document just for me. I look at the document as he scans the menu and, thrilled that he thought of me, I say, “For me?”
His actions are telling me, “I value you, Harris. I want to help you.” And, of course, I am honored—how extraordinarily thoughtful.
But he’s not finished. And, by the way, he’s not selling me on anything. About two days later I get a perfectly formatted, perfect letter—no misspellings, no grammatical faux paus—perfectly typed on expensive stationery! He always sends this thank-you letter whether he paid or I paid for lunch.
“Wow,” I say to myself, feeling awful that I didn’t take him anything and that I forgot to send a thank-you letter, which I had reminded myself to do after the last lunch.
My friend is one busy man. He is gone from home five days a week almost every week visiting his printing company clients and working with their salespeople to help them become better salespeople.
I don’t know how he pulls this off because he can’t type. His hands are crippled from playing Division I college football many years ago. This man is Dick Gorelick, the master of marketing, print sales and sales relationships.
He reminds of another person in our industry who travels the U.S. making team calls with his many salespeople. He is a paraplegic who’s confined to a wheel chair. But don’t even think about helping him unfold his wheel chair as he exits a cab in Manhattan. He happens to be the owner and CEO of what may be the most successful printing company in America. His name is Jim Walcott, president of Welden Williams & Lick in Fort Smith, AR.
Both of these men are quite modest and will probably raise hell with me for writing about them.
But, hey, I needed some fodder for this column. I’ll go anywhere and do most anything to get a column topic or a good story to tell. You try writing 244 of these columns.
Power of the Pen
Now what did we learn today, class? Writing great sales letters to customers and prospects almost never happens—and, if you do it and do it well, you will stand out from the crowd of your worthless competitors.
We also learned that if you deliver some printed document of value to your client or prospect, you honor their intelligence. This comes in handy, since your low-life competitor probably just insulted their intelligence.
Thank you, Dick Gorelick!
And, now, what can we learn from Jim Walcott? He teaches us that no matter if it’s raining, if you don’t feel good, if you just want to hang around the plant and wait for the phone to ring (as if that ever happens), no matter what, Jim Walcott reminds us to the importance of spending the majority of our time out in the field personally interacting with clients and prospects.
Thank you, Jim Walcott!
You two gentleman have given my readers wonderful holiday gifts.
I hope you readers enjoy some bountiful Christmases, Hannukahs, Kwanzaas and Holidays! As soon as they’re over, though, please remember to get out there and sell something! 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 and CEO at 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 more than 100 printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the printing industry. He specializes in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales, marketing, planning and management services to printing companies. He can be reached via e-mail at DeWeseH@ComCapLtd.com.