Helping World’s Worst Sales Rep –DeWese
This is my first column written in the New Year. Since I haven't had a chance to talk with you, I'm hopin' your holidays were healthy and happy, and that none of you found yourselves incarcerated. Instead, I hope your brains were consumed with ideas about growing sales in 2012. Our industry desperately needs a surge.
Unfortunately, one of my readers, Marvelle Stump, spent several days in the Hot Coffee, Mississippi, pokey. Luckily he was assigned cell number three, the one with a toilet and one bunk. Marvelle received a five-day sentence for public drunkenness and walking under the influence down the middle of Hot Coffee's main street on New Year's Eve. He would have only gotten three days if he had stayed on the sidewalk.
Marvelle Stump is my recalcitrant protégé and the World's Worst Print Salesperson. I've been trying to train Marvelle for more than 20 years. It was a deathbed promise that I made to Marvelle's late mother, Eunice Mae Stump. She had pleaded, "Mañana Man, promise me you will take care of Marvelle. He's a little feeble brained. Teach him how to do somethin'."
She was a good woman who was dying, so how could I refuse her request? I promised I'd keep him under my wing and out of trouble. That promise proved to be virtually impossible, since I have gotten him nine jobs that I can even recall, and bailed him out of more scrapes than I can remember.
Five days of quiet privacy—and no booze—gave Marvelle lots of time to think and watch the Sheriff's television. The TV was tuned to either MSNBC or FOX News around the clock, and Marvelle soon became an expert on the GOP race for the presidential nomination. He learned there were more candidates than just the six who were getting all the publicity.
He called excitedly to tell me, "Mañana, there are 26 other candidates for the presidential nomination. I'm going to their next state primary to sell them brochures, bumper stickers, yard signs and t-shirts. I'm beggin' you to meet me there and help me sell printing to these politicians. I'm takin' some of my brothers from my motorcycle club to help me close the sales. Please, Mañana; remember your promise to my dear mama."
I panicked and began clicking the phone receiver: "Marvelle, are you there? You're breaking up. Hello. Hello!"
Finally, I just hung up. I needed time to think. I remembered the tears sliding down Eunice Mae's cheek. I remembered her squeezing my hand when she asked for the promise.
Then, I envisioned Marvelle on his Harley with a pack of his buddies roaring down the Interstate. I thought about the state troopers patrolling the highway. The combination of state troopers and the Mississippi Mud Cats Motorcycle Club was stitches, broken bones and lengthy jail terms.
After all, Marvelle had shown some CREATIVITY.
He was, for once, showing me some INITIATIVE.
And, his pitch was PERSUASIVE.
This was the first time that he had combined more than two sales characteristics to attack any project. I didn't want to throw cold water on his idea. Sure, the idea was far-fetched. Sure, it had no chance for success. But maybe, if I went to the next primary, we could actually pick up a few orders and I could keep the bikers out of jail.
I called Marvelle back. "Okay, I'm coming. Where and when shall I meet you?" This is the beginning of a serialization of "My Trip to Sell Printing to the GOP." So, tune in next month.
Meanwhile, I want you all to use a little creativity, and show some initiative and a lot of persuasiveness while you 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." DeWese has completed more than 150 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry's preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.