Listening Lands the Sale
(Blog #19 in the ongoing series derived from a book Harris DeWese wrote several years ago—“A Year of Selling Profitably.”)
I’m not one to wave my flag, but this time I’m gonna do it anyway.
I don’t write my column in Printing Impressions magazine or these blogs from some made up stuff I read by sales consultants. I didn’t listen to any tapes or watch any videos.
I actually sold printing. Everything from huge web catalog jobs and sheetfed work in all sizes and run lengths to roll/cut-and-stack labels, 1″ miniature folded inserts and outserts and a lot of offset lithography that I have forgotten. I never sold any gravure. I was involved in the sale of a couple of gravure companies, but I never sold any gravure printing.
Millions and millions worth of printing. By my crude calculations, well over $150 million.
I sold a few more than 150 printing companies whose aggregate sales totaled a little more than $5 billion. I’m an old guy, and it took a lot of years and good helpers to sell that many companies.
Finally, the hardest sales were always consulting projects because I had nothing on the shelf where I could just reach up and say, “Here, this will solve the problem.” I had to sell the job and then deliver what I sold. If I wanted to be paid, I had to deliver it successfully so my client was satisfied.
I couldn’t have sold all that if had be a talking-head blowhard. This blog so far is tad “blowhard,” and I hate that. I did this bragging to make a point, which is I listened my way into those sales. And they were hard sales.
My clients taught me how to sell. They taught me how to listen and then ask the next question.