The Real Genius Walks Through Your Front Door Every Day

Our industry is comprised of good, warm-hearted people. Many of us are gullible. We are trusting. We are willing to give newcomers a chance. This is especially true of magic-wand sales trainers.

They swoop in on a Persian carpet.

They burn white hot for a few months; sometimes they are popular for as much as a year.

Then, as suddenly as they emerged, they disappear.

We don’t question much about where them came from or ask for their credentials. We didn’t want to embarrass them.

We’ll believe them when they tell us about their undergraduate degrees from Princeton and graduate degrees from Harvard.

If they show up in an Armani or even a Burberry suit and speak to us in a warm, syrupy baritone, then they are in.

We’ve seen many sales trainers suddenly show up and tell us about their past successes.

I guess these interlopers have recognized our naiveté and are targeting our money.

A few years ago, I was mindful of these impostors. While attending an industry association conference, I sat in a hotel ballroom in California listening to the most recent superstar sales trainer.

I noticed several company owners dozing.

I didn’t see anyone taking notes.

So, as to go unnoticed, people were carefully leaving the room. I was sure they were hoping that their colleagues thought they were going to the restroom.

The speaker’s not-so-subtle pitch was, “Hire me to train your salespeople. I can start right away.” Oh, and, “By the way, buy my book on the way out.”

Many owners had complained to me that these “sales intruders” were of no benefit. They were not relevant. They knew nothing about printing. Some even became the laughing-stock of the sales department.

It occurred to me that the best training existed within our own companies, which inspired me to write a book—“A Year of Selling Profitably.” It was essentially 48 sessions, two per week, to be conducted by an employee within the company. Get it? No big outside expense. It was published by NAPL, and was recently reprinted and revised. I guess they sold a lot of the books.

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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  • http://JackCrowley Jack Crowley

    No doubt comments hit home, but, but, but there are always 2 sides to the story.

    On the management side, not enough time was spent in hiring the right person. Second, many companies do not provide direction to the salesman, nor do they provide a contact management system and perhaps the most important point is that they do not do any marketing. This means the sales force is doing the marketing and prospecting as well as the selling. Today, with all the tools available, the salesman should not be making cold calls.

    And, in my opinion, printing is not so unique…. general selling principles do apply.

    Jack Crowley