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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.


Whistle While You Work —DeWese

MY LAME anxiety about the time remaining on my 65-year-old actuarial table got some welcome news this week. I had checked the U.S. government mortality tables for males age 65 and learned that I’ve got another 16.3 years. I’m gonna raise some kind of hell during that .3.

Then I had a big longevity breakthrough! First, researchers announced that people who laugh frequently live seven years more than folks who rarely manage a smile.


Good news for me! I’m a laughing fool. Constantly. In the car. In the tub. In the shower.

Mine is a rumbling, belly-shaking laugh that begins deep somewhere down around my pancreas and comes roaring up my spine in a series of convulsing bellyquakes.

I’ve got so much to laugh at—beginning with myself. My stupid behavior alone is enough to extend my life. I’ve never been one to take myself seriously.

Laughter has added seven years to my life, so I’m now lookin’ at living 88.3 years.

Next, the same researchers announced that singing adds 15 years to your life. I am a life-long singer. Basso-Baritone. Sort of a cross between Frank Sinatra and Tennessee Ernie Ford. Don’t remember Tennessee Ernie? Well how about, “You load 16 tons of No. 9 coal and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” That should refresh your memory.

My repertoire ranges from Gospel, to Country and Western, to ’50s and ’60s rock ’n roll, to Cole Porter, to Gershwin to opera. Sing, sing, sing, I’m a singing fool, and I’ve added another 15 years to my life taking me to a ripe old age of 103.3. This means you readers will get another 1,100-plus columns.

The next piece of research has proven that if you sell printing, and if you try hard and follow all the rules, you will add another 20 years to your life. So, in the interest of your longevity, I’ll review the print sales longevity guidelines. You can’t get this stuff anywhere else folks. This is PRINTING IMPRESSIONS, and we’ve got your back. We care about your health.

Mañana Man’s Guide for Longevity, Sales Growth

• Don’t abdicate your training to anyone else, not your owner, not your sales manager and not the Goliath Litho training department, if you work for a big company. Becoming a competent sales professional is your responsibility. Figure out how to get the training. You might start by calling the NAPL or your local PIA affiliate.

• Don’t abdicate your suspect, prospect, customer, client database to anyone else. Let’s review. Suspects are print buyers that appear to need what you sell. Prospects are suspects that you have qualified as needing and buying what you sell, except they are buying from a competitor. Customers buy from you, but you have to chase every job by competing against others. Clients are your friends. Friends are people you do things with. You can depend on your clients’ business because you have a partnership relationship. Your database should be automated, and its design and maintenance should be for your benefit and under your control.

Wait. Let’s stop a minute to add years to our lives. Pick a song you can sing, hum or whistle real good. I’m picking an old Elvis tune. Ignore me and sing your song; now a one, and a two: “Hold me close, hold me tight, make me thrill with delight. I want you, I need you, and I love you with all my hearrrrrt!” I feel great. I’m livin’ long, and I’m livin’ large.

• Next guideline. Get up! Get going and no sleepin’ on the job. Remember the words of Woody Allen when he said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” And I said, “Your car needs to be in a customer’s parking lot, not your employer’s parking lot.” Set work (sales) goals for yourself and try to beat them. Sales goals have to be quantifiable and measured. Decide how many prospect calls you are going to make in one week. Do the same for qualifying suspects.

If you are not working hard, you are not in love with your job. If you have to force yourself to go to work or make a sales call, then you are actually shortening your longevity. Making a sale, gaining a new account, cashing a big commission check—these are some of the most gratifying activities in life. Like laughing, singing and whistling, the thrill of selling will add more years to your life.

• Finally, you must know thyself. This is difficult. Successful salespeople have a strong likeability factor and immediate credibility. Buyers have to say in their own minds, “I’m willing to spend some time with this person.” Buyers can see you are not pretentious, officious or self-absorbed. They can see you are fastidiously honest. This kind of self-inspection is difficult because we all think we are OK. You know you think you are a regular guy or a regular gal.

A good test of your likeability is the old sales rule: Do you listen (in all conversations) more than you talk? Do you allow others to finish, or do you jump in and talk over others? Do you one-up others in conversations? Does anyone ever invite you to join them for lunch, dinner, a ball game, church, a voodoo ritual or golf? If you are not getting good answers to these questions, you better rethink your career and look for a monastery or convent. If people don’t want to be around you, you have a big-time sales barrier.

So, my guidelines for print sales success and a long life boil down to being accountable to yourself and getting your head screwed on straight.

Me? I’ve got some singing and laughing to do. I’ve also heard that whittling extends your life by a couple of years. I can whittle, whistle and laugh between songs.

But you? You’ve got to 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, 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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