Close Mouth, Open Ears and Sell Something

On February 9, I invited you blog readers to get a head start on my National Scavenger Hunt for Graphic Arts Company Growth (easily remembered with the acronym (“NSHGACG”).

All readers had to do was e-mail me and ask for my March column manuscript. That column contains the rules for the Scavenger Hunt.

Mark Smith, who is Printing Impressions’ Supreme Blogger Boss (“PISBB”), posted my blog in the daily Printing Impressions newsletter on the Internet around 4 p.m. and the e-mails requesting the manuscript began arriving at 4:03 p.m. It’s now 12:32 a.m., and I have just finished answering all the requests.

One of the responses came from a famous person, Charles Edwards, who is one of the world’s greatest color experts. He is a printer of the highest order. Charles has consulted on countless important color projects for many Rembrandt color catalogs. Charles wanted to add a question to a list of buyer questions in my blog. His response went like this: “Harris, Love your column. In case you missed a vital question, here it is. ‘Are you color blind? And have you ever been tested?’”

I had forgotten that question, Charles, and I know how many times that question went unasked in your head as you were doing color OKs with folks who lacked your skilled eyes. Charles is an artist who knows his dots.

—Harris

***This ongoing blog series is derived from a book Harris DeWese wrote several years ago—“A Year of Selling Profitably.” The book was written for printers to use as a guide in training their sales teams through a series of two-hour sessions over 48 weeks.***

In this blog, you will practice your listening and questioning skills. Some of the exercises may appear mechanical, but I have found that this is the best way to drive home good listening habits. I urge you to follow the guide and make the sessions rigorous.

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.

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Comments
  • http://BillAlpert Bill Alpert

    A lot of this is just research. That’s pretty easy, but some of this stuff involves getting information from a person of influence with the prospect’s company.

    Since I’m no sales ace, some additional questions come to mind for the author:

    1: How to get in front of someone who can answer such a comprehensive list of questions, and

    2: How to get that person to answer even half of what’s on the list. Unless of course you have the prospect under gunpoint.

  • http://JeffreySpear Jeffrey Spear

    Harris, you don’t loose your touch.

    It is not just about sales, but about “good” sales. Sales that meet or exceed targeted margin goals.

    The key to margin growth is complete customer knowledge, which has a personal and corporate element. When a Salesman has internalized both then superior customer service can be defined for that customer leading to margin enhancement.

    Enjoying your blog