Failure to Plan Is Plan for Failure

(Blog #12 in the ongoing series 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.)

One night long, long ago in a land that was far, far away, a failed print salesperson and I sat in a bar analyzing his pathetic status in life. Booze can lead to some brutal truths and this night was no exception.

Augie was almost crying when he slurred, “If I’d only had a plan. I never had a plan. I just muddled through to mediocrity and now I’ve stumbled all the way to outright failure.”

“Now the boss has sent you to fire me! What will I tell my wife and kids? Can you help me find another job?”

“You gotta help me O you mighty Mañana Man!” (I hate it when people call me mighty Mañana Man. “Exalted” or “omnipotent” will be good enough.)

Now, Augie was sobbing. He just bawled on and on, bemoaning his lack of success.

I had made many team calls with this guy and he seemed to have it all, or at least ostensibly most of it.

He was handsome, charming, articulate, glib and spontaneously funny. Now he was number 15 on a sales team of 15 and his sales were 65 percent under his quota for the year. Last year, he was also number 15 and was 48 percent under quota.

People liked him. Old women wanted to adopt him. Young women wanted him. And, remarkably, men of all ages liked the guy despite his “Mr. Perfect” attractiveness to women. He could talk NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. He could hunt and bring home game. He could fish and catch his limit.

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.

Related Content