Get the Name Right --DeWese
There is some considerable confusion over the pronunciation of Mañana Man. The "Man" part is easy. It's the "Mañana" that befuddles many of you readers. Many people rhyme their pronunciation with "banana," the long yellow fruit grown in the tropics that we peel before we eat. That pronunciation is incorrect.
I will help correct your pronunciation with a phonetic explanation. Follow along with this exercise.
First, say "mawn" and pronounce it with a Jamaican accent so it comes out as in "Hey Mon, let's have some rum when we've beaten our sales objectives by 20 percent." Got it? First syllable is "Mawn."
Next syllable. It's "yah." As in, "Yah vold! I got the $200,000 Humongous Industries annual report job!"
So far we've got "Mawn yah."
Final syllable. It's "Nah." As in, "Nah, I can't go to the Irish Pub, I've got to stay here and write up these orders."
And we wind up with "Mawn yah na."
Name That Tune
Now, let's practice to the tune of the Harry Belafonte song, "Matilda." We're going to trade Mañana for Matilda and we're going to commingle lyrics from "Banana Boat Song." Ready? Pretend there's a steel band and you're on warm white sands. The transparent emerald surf swirls its foam around your toes.
"I work all day
"An' I sell de print.
"An' I want to sell more.
"Highly deadly mean competitor,
"He cut the price an' I wanna go home.
"Mañana Man is the one I read
"He's da best
"An' I follow his lead.
"I made the sale,
"Competitor man he go broke.
"Mañana Man you da one,
"Inspire me to greater t'ings.
"Come Meester Tally Man
"Tally me commission,
"An' it's time to go sell.
"De O, Mi se de, Me se de O'
Now that we've cleared up the pronunciation thing, let's work on the definition of "Mañana."
Mañana means "tomorrow." In my case it means more than just tomorrow. It means tomorrow's tomorrow or "whenever" or I'll get around to it "whenever."
I came by this pseudonym, unfortunately for me, because I was the salesman who invented Sales Procrastination in 1972. It was fortunate for you because hundreds of books on selling have been written and thousands of seminars have been created and conducted to help salespeople avoid participating in my career damaging, deadly invention.
In February of 1972 I was selling in Miami. I had sold a ton of stuff to the owners of Jefferson Stores, a big chain of discount stores. I was feeling good. So I took the afternoon off at the track, drinking rum and coke. Word got around that I had invented the concept of salespeople taking half a day off. See, I shoulda worked that afternoon—Sales Procrastination.
In 1976 I was in either Memphis or Tallahassee; who cares? I had made a huge $600,000 sale, was feeling super good and decided to take the entire next day off. I slept in until 11 a.m., had a big breakfast, then went to a Jai Alai matinee and the dog track at night. Of course, word traveled fast throughout Salesdom U.S.A. and next thing I know, thousands of salespeople are sneaking around and taking off entire days.
God only knows how much damage I did to the American economy? I shouldn't have skipped that day, but that old snake, Sales Procrastination, bit me.
Next, I perfected making sales calls totally unprepared and sometimes hang dog hungover. My arrogance always told me, "DeWese, you're gonna make the sale." So why bother to do any research on the prospect? Why waste time thinking about what I was going to ask or say? Just wing it. My theory was that spontaneous anything is always the best. Well, you guessed it. My prideful mindset swept the country, infecting tens of thousands of salespeople and damn if it didn't lead to the recession of 1980.
The Department of Commerce began to investigate the recession at the request of the White House. Jimmy Carter was in office at the time and, when he heard it was me that caused the recession, he uttered those famous words, "This devil must be some kind of Mañana Man! He's got to be stopped." Of course, I was audited numerous times, my citizenship was questioned and I had to attend procrastination abuse sessions with numerous congressmen and various members of President Carter's cabinet.
All subsequent administrations, from Ronald Reagan through to George W. Bush, monitor my behavior closely and this is the reason I am forced, against my will, to write this column.
I've taken a lot of abuse for my teensy human frailties. Some people in the printing industry have taken to calling me "Godfather." They played the theme from "The Godfather" at the recent NAPL Top Management Conference whenever I went to the podium.
At home, on the other hand, my spouse, The Dragon Lady, refers to me as The Godfather's incompetent brother, Fredo. This is the thanks I get for nearly 42 years of servitude to Attila the Shrew.
A "Bad" Role Model
So, my friends, you see, this moniker I burdensomely carry, "Mañana Man, is a symbol for you. I symbolize what you must strive to avoid—lethargy, lack of response and lack of preparation. It's symbolic, for excellence is its opposite. I should be a constant reminder for what not to be.
There is one more symbol to remind you to work smart and hard. You know what I'm about to say. "Now, get out there and sell something!"
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something available through NAPL or PIA. He is chairman and CEO at Compass Capital Partners and is an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed more than 100 printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the printing industry. He specializes in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales, marketing, planning and management services to printing companies. DeWese can be reached via e-mail at DeWeseH@ComCapLtd.com.