Getting to Know The Mañana Man --DeWese
This is the PRINT 01 edition of Printing Impressions. Extra copies of Printing Impressions will be distributed at the Chicago show to thousands of people who walk through the McCormick Place exhibition halls. Some of these attendees may not be regular readers of the magazine or this column. So, I decided the best thing is to write a column that summarizes everything I've said over the past 17 years in my 187 monthly columns.
Besides, I have just completed the negotiation of my new 20-year contract with Attila the Editor. It did not go well. The contract requires that I write at least three serious columns each year. This means the other columns can be entertaining and riotously funny.
That's not so bad. The bad parts of the contract involve washing his car, shining his shoes and sharpening his pencils. I know that if I could win a Pulitzer Prize that I could hook on with Esquire, Time or Playboy and escape Attila's sweat shop. Well, anyway, this will be one of my serious columns for the year.
My real life work as an investment banker and advisor to printing companies puts me in touch with hundreds of printing company owners and presidents. These leaders confide in me and I have the opportunity to see their companies in action. I am especially attentive to their remarks about their salespeople and what they say about their producers and their underachievers.
Here's what I have learned.
The most successful print salespeople are loyal to their employers.
They perceive themselves as team members rather than as independent brokers for the services of the company. The loyalty is rooted in pride in both their co-workers in the pressroom, bindery and all departments, as well as the bricks, mortar and equipment. This pride translates into a powerful belief in the salesperson's company, and you can hear it when the salesperson talks about his company to customers and prospects.
The most successful salespeople are driven to provide customer satisfaction.
They have equipped themselves to provide lightning-fast response to their customers' inquiries and needs. They are happy and willing to hang around for middle-of-the-night press okays. They return phone calls in minutes rather than hours and work within the company to get fast quotes and on-time deliveries.
Top producers always have strong self-esteem. They are far from being egocentric and, instead, are outwardly focused good listeners and "quiet" personalities.
Successful salespeople have a powerful profit consciousness. Not just their own profit, but they also understand the need for their company's profits. Their philosophy goes like this—my customer profits from our relationship and service, my company profits from the customer relationship, and I profit when the customer and the company both profit.
Finally, successful salespeople are superb prospectors for new business. It is true that some salespeople are inherently better prospectors than others. Some sales consultants refer to themselves as "hunters". Salespeople good at maintaining accounts are called "gatherers".
I challenge this categorization.
I believe that all salespeople can train and discipline themselves to prospect for and get new business. The salespeople who are naturally good at prospecting will still be superstars, but the gatherers can at least make themselves active and successful prospectors.
I have represented selling shareholders of many printing companies who sold their companies because the companies weren't growing with new accounts and achieving a level of profit that could finance the new equipment and technology necessary to compete. Successful salespeople don't have to understand corporate finance, but they do believe that profitable companies are healthy companies.
Okay, Attila. This was a serious column. I'll be over on Thursday to wash your car and shine your shoes. Thank goodness you only have one pair of leather shoes. I'm not touching those sneakers or silly sandals you wear.
And when Thursday rolls around, you new and old readers better be out there selling something.
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something!, published by Nonpareil Books. He is a principal 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 specializes in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales, marketing, planning and management services to printing companies.
Enter the Mañana Man Sales Contest (Part 2)
Enter your company in the Second Great American Print Sales Prospecting Contest and win these great prizes.
1. Harris "Mañana Man" DeWese will fly to the winning company cities where he will wash the cars of the winning company salespeople in the company parking lot. The CEO and the sales manager at each winning company must assist the Mañana Man.
2. Harris DeWese will host the winning salespeople at a dinner where he will present individual engraved trophies and championship T-shirts.
3. The winning team will receive an official Mañana Man sombrero to display in the sales department.
4. The winning teams will be featured, with group pictures, in this magazine.
Okay, here are the rules.
1. Winners will be determined based on the number of new accounts obtained over a one-year ending October 31, 2002. To qualify, a new account must order at least three jobs during the contest period.
2. There are four categories of contestants. Category I will be companies with calendar 2001 revenues less than $5 million. Category II will be companies with revenues between $5 million and $10 million. Category III will be companies with revenues between $10 and $20 million. Finally, Category IV will be companies with revenues in excess of $20 million. These categories are limited to one plant location.
3. Winners will be determined by the total number of "new accounts," as defined above, opened during the 12-month contest period. A "new account" is a customer that is not doing business with your printing company. You get one point for each new account. You will receive two points for every "resurrected new account," which is an account that has not purchased printing within two years of the contest start date of November 1, 2001. Finally, you will receive three points for every "lost account" that you resurrect as a new account. A lost account is one that fired your company because of poor quality or service. Obviously, we are relying on the integrity of your sales manager, owner or CEO to tabulate correctly qualifying "new accounts" and the appropriate number of points for each account.
4. Your company "reporter" will fax your monthly results to Harris DeWese at (610) 293-0211 so he can report on the contest results in this column.
5. Your CEO or sales manager should write Harris DeWese and say, "Mañana Man, we are in." Give us your company name, address, city, state, phone number and an estimate of your 2001 sales. Mail your entry letters to Harris DeWese at Compass Capital Partners, 259 Radnor-Chester Road, Radnor, PA 19087, or e-mail to email@example.com, or fax to (610) 293-0211.