Stop Disruptive Distractions —DeWese
HAPPY NEW Year! I am predicting, without equivocation, that 2010 will be a much better year than 2008 and 2009. You can take that to the bank, or the grocery store. Where else, but in the pages of Printing Impressions, can you get that kind of rock-solid guidance?
This is a column about the ugly, evil and dreaded affliction known as distraction. As your beloved Mañana Man, I have pioneered the research and practice of losing my way and taking disruptive and bewildering side roads to nowhere.
I want to dissuade you from distractions for 2010, so you can concentrate on staying out there and selling whatever your customers and prospects need. I want to do this, for I am your print sales mentor; I am your loving coach; I am your guiding light in the tunnel of new prospects and customer satisfaction.
Without me you would be lost in a forest of sleazebag competitors. I steer you away from the swamps with their greedy, grasping vines and venomous snakes.
If I am absent, you are stranded on an island that is far from the shipping lanes. You could be living with monkeys and eating coconuts.
But, I remain a simple and modest man who is weak and guilty of the feeblest transgressions. My transgressions pale by comparison to the bold adventures of famous men who have garnered so much publicity lately.
The trouble with these newsworthy transgressions is that they distract. They are deterrents to the work of the offenders, and they severely disrupt the family life of the people doing the offending.
Governor Mark Sanford, of South Carolina, disappeared for a few days and returned to reveal a trip to Argentina where he visited a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Somehow, this announcement led to 37 ethics charges and the threat of impeachment. Some of the ethics charges have been dropped, but talk about being distracted? The Gov has his hands full.
Think you could make sales calls with this hanging over your head and troubling your customers?
Remember President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? He was just trying to run the country when that scandal erupted. Or, how 'bout New York Governor Elliot Spitzer and the revelation of his Call Girl Cabinet? This little detour resulted in the Governor's resignation, and now I'm not sure what he's doing.
Could you write up job specs with this kind of news swirling around you?
From New York, drive through the Lincoln Tunnel into New Jersey, where Governor Jim McGreevy resigned after revealing that he was gay and had an affair with a male staffer. This also led to his divorce. He is now teaching and planning to become an Episcopal priest.
Could your customers ignore this kind of distraction? Wow!
The distractions run on. Remember Kobe Bryant and his tryst with a hotel employee? Or, former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich, who survived scandals and may overcome those distractions by running for President in 2012.
Nevada Senator John Ensign admitted to an extramarital affair in June of 2009. An angry husband is demanding money to compensate his grief. And what about Senator Larry Craig and the airport bathroom incident?
And, just when I think all this stuff is dying down, Tiger Woods hits a tree driving his Escalade out of his driveway. The car accident ultimately leads to his admission that he was guilty of "transgressions." The result: Tiger cancelled playing in his own golf tournament, several women came forth to reveal affaire feminine (Marvelle, that is fancy French talk for dating women while you are married), cancelling all tournament appearances for the next two months and Oprah Winfrey reaching out to presumably give him counseling. What happened to Doctor Phil? Isn't counseling supposed to be his job?
Easier Said Than Done
So these distractions have severely impaired the work of one of the greatest golfers, as well as his marriage.
Distractions are the biggest impediments to sales success. Or conversely, they are the biggest causes of sales failure. I ask, no, I demand that you purge yourselves of your distractions for 2010. I promise that you will add three to six hours to every sales day if you will:
• Stop leaving the building to smoke cigarettes.
• Avoid taking two-hour lunches.
• Cease conversations with co-workers about the NFL, March Madness, baseball, your boss(es), politics, rumors about other co-workers and last night's episode of "The Office."
• Stop long-winded complaint sessions about the pressroom and the bindery.
• Discontinue surfing the Internet for shopping, gaming, or for following and updating your fantasy sports teams.
• Terminate playing all computer-based games when you should be selling. That's right. No more solitaire, poker, backgammon, etc.
• Skip reading the local newspaper, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the National Enquirer or People magazine.
• Give up the daily crossword puzzle. And, forget about following your horoscope.
So far you have added about three hours to your selling day by giving up any of the activities above that apply.
• Did I mention sleeping on the job? Are you among those who have perfected the ability to sleep unnoticed at your desk? It's easy if you have an office and can close the door. Just open a drawer in your desk, prop up your feet, let calls go into your voice mail and doze off. I've known salespeople who could sleep from 10 a.m. until lunch and then from 2 p.m. until quitting time. Stop it!
• End reading all non-work-related books and magazines during the 10 to 12 hours you should be selling. It's obviously OK to read Printing Impressions. It's also OK to read research about your clients and prospects. But no novels, no porn and no Mechanics Illustrated.
• Give up all club-related activities during sales time, unless, of course, your clubs have some print buyer members.
• No more Internet gambling or reading recipes on Epicurious.com. You will just end up fat and broke.
I know my demands are severe, but we are in a horrible economic slump that is killing a lot of printing companies. A recovery and the salvation of your company requires your complete focus and attention to the development of customers.
• Forget about hanging out in bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, the Italian American Club or the American Legion Hall. You should be researching prospects, and you can't do that if your brain is swimming in Jim Beam.
• Don't be wasting time and money in the casinos, either. You can visit the gaming palaces when you've sold 150 percent of your annual budget.
• This next one is a tough one. By now you should be convinced to break off any extramarital affairs if you're married. If you are single, limit yourself to a phone call and confine your relationships to non-selling time.
OK, you're angry about this column and how I'm asking you all to become monks and nuns. It's just your old Mañana Man asking to eliminate some of these distractions, so you have more time to get out there and sell something! PI
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something" and "The Mañana Man, Books II and III," available at www.piworld.com/bookstore. He is chairman of Compass Capital Partners and also authors the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 150 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry's preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at HDeWese@CompassCapLtd.com.