Three Critical Elements to Selling

(Blog #20 in the ongoing series derived from a book Harris DeWese wrote several years ago—“A Year of Selling Profitably.”)

This is blog number 21 or maybe it’s number 20. Could be 19. Gosh, I’m pathetic and almost 69.

I bragged a lot in my previous column about good listening skills. I’ll brag a little more.

One of my customers, back in the Dark Ages, insisted that I play center field and hit in the number three spot on his company’s softball team for the city-wide tournament. Back then, I could flat play some softball. I could run like a gazelle and looked real good in my uniform.

In the crucial championship game, we were trailing by two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs.

I’m up.

I triple off the wall in straight away center.

Bases clear!

We walk off with the win and a trophy about four feet tall.

I sold that customer even more printing and never had to price the work.

The losing team protested that I was a “ringer.” Of course, they never bought any printing from me. They had been the biggest customer for one of my lame arch enemy competitors and then, wouldn’t you know, they went belly up. Yep. Belly up—Chapter 7—and my competitor never got paid.

My customer was able to absorb the bankrupt company and we picked up most of its sales.

Another episode from the annals of history and lore in the printing industry. OK, no more bragging.

I did want to pass on some serious stuff relating to any sales intervention. It’s the Socratic approach to selling. There are three elements to old Socco’s selling. Pick up your pens and wake up. This will be on the test.

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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