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The CEOs attending these conferences are also "taught" how to identify, recruit and hire hybrid salespeople. At best, these super salespeople represent about five percent of all available print communications sales professionals. Then, if the CEO is smart enough to identify a winner, she/he must find a way to extricate the salesperson from his or her present employer. These five-percenters are golden handcuffed to their companies. It takes a stick of dynamite and lot of cash to attract them.
My colleague, Dick Gorelick, complains about supposed sales trainers who do nothing more than admonish their students to "sit up straight" and "avoid chewing gum" on sales calls. Gorelick is right. We have some charlatans who appear suddenly with great fanfare, conduct a few workshops, collect their fees, sell their books and tapes, and then disappear. Many of these gurus never actually made a sales call and certainly never sold any printing. But, they have great (strategically modified) resumés. Beware of flashy sales trainers who look great in their suits and speak with a mellifluous baritone.
Several printing industry sales trainers have come and gone. Including me. Back in the 1980s, I was often hired to train print salespeople at seminars and also one-on-one during team sales calls. I made hundreds of team sales calls on print buyers from New York to Los Angeles. Markets ranged from general commercial to books, to packaging, to direct mail and to labels.
The seminars were the hardest, though, because they required so much preparation. I trained groups ranging from six participants to several hundred. It was hard work, and I always worried that I was not good enough. So, I quit doing it to concentrate on investment banking.
You can't expect a salesperson to change just from attending a two-hour workshop or a two-day seminar. Sales development must be an ongoing effort. That's the beauty of Mañana University. Each month, right here in the pages of Printing Impressions, you'll find new lessons and assignments aimed at educating you, changing your sales behavior and, thanks to your Mañana Man, entertaining you.