Wisdom. No MBA Required -- DeWese
I INVENTED the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and announced the idea right here in Printing Impressions in 2001. You can look it up. None of you went for my idea. Madoff must have read that column and stole my idea, just like he stole all that money from his fund’s investors. Now, Bernie is saying he invented the idea in the late 1990s, and he’s getting all the credit and the hard time.
But first he ruled the world of finance with several multimillion-dollar homes, two yachts, an airplane, lots of jewelry and other great stuff as he plowed his way through more than $50 billion of other people’s money.
Now Bernie has ruined the idea for anyone else who needs an easy buck. Everyone will smell ponzi. I guess I will have to revert to a Nigerian e-mail scam.
I can’t get credit for any of the great things that I do. Attila the Nun, my spouse of nearly 47 years, pours ice water on my ego whenever she thinks my head is growing bigger.
This reminds me of Will Rogers, who said, “There are two theories to arguing with a woman...neither works.” He should have said the same is true of customers. Clients are to be honored, respected and heard, not ignored, debated or dishonored.
Will Rogers and Mark Twain dispensed more wisdom than you can get from a Harvard degree. In fact, Harvard, Yale, Stanford and the University of Chicago MBA programs would do a great service to their students by adding courses titled “Management Behavior – Twain and Rogers 501 and 502.”
If the bank and automaker CEOs had taken these courses, then their arrogance and greed would not have happened.
I’m gonna look for some more Rogers and Twain wisdom.
Here’s some great sales advice from Will Rogers: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” This, of course, relates to two vitally important sales maxims that I still see violated. The first is to ask for the order and then shut up. It works every time. If you speak before the customer responds, you are almost always doomed.
Next, Will Rogers reminds us that successful salespeople speak 20 percent of the time, allowing the customer or prospect the remaining 80 percent. Salespeople should recap every call they make (phone or face-to-face) by assessing their sales performance and the 80/20 time equation. You have to be brutally honest for this practice to help you grow. Most of us deceive ourselves.
Now, let’s hear from Mark Twain, who pronounced, “Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” This means you could spend just one hour prospecting for new business. Or, you could research lost accounts and spend one hour trying to resurrect these customers. The real challenge is to call former clients who left your company due to some monumental complaint. Or, spend one hour
calling customers who haven’t printed with you for the past six months.
The average print communications salesperson in the United States prospects fewer than eight hours each month. This accounts for the fact that 20 percent of the salespeople tally 80 percent of the sales.
Mark Twain had another bolt of genius and said, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” This attitude is an illness that pervades the sales offices of America’s printing companies.
They are the salespeople who waste 75 percent of the day complaining about the company, their customers, plant personnel, their spouse, their bills, the weather, etc. Massive energy is consumed by sales reps who dedicate themselves to whining instead of selling. Whining is not productive. It never results in any improvement in the plant performance, customer performance or the weather.
Here are a few more examples of Will Rogers’ wisdom:
“Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.” And, your Mañana Man says: never pester a customer or a prospect with inane, uninspired voice messages or e-mails. You are supposed to be a salesperson, so employ some creativity with your customer communications in both content and methodology. For starters, ask customers and prospects how often they want you to communicate.
Here’s another one. “Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.” For that matter, never kick a cow chip on a rainy day or a winter day. You could break a foot or bust your sternum. The sales message here is to avoid calling Friday afternoons during the summer. Or, don’t call on Friday’s before holidays. Don’t call on the day before your client goes on vacation or on their first day back.
By the way, you should always know when they are taking vacations. If they have a job in the house, it is OK to call with a status report and to ask for special instructions in their absence.
“Always drink upstream from the herd.” This applies to your unworthy, sleazeball competitors. You must differentiate yourself with superior technical knowledge, superior responsiveness, superior listening skills, superior knowledge of your customers’ companies, etc.
“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” If you are suffering from a sales slump, then change your entire Modus Operandi. For the benefit of Marvelle Stump, the world’s worst print salesperson down in Hot Coffee, MS, Modus Operandi means “how you do your job” or “how you prospect and how you sell.” Marvelle, this will be very hard for you because it involves change. Ask some of your buddies at the Rebel Yell Tavern what you should do different. I know they have some ideas.
Here are three more Will Rogersisms. I’m running out of space, so I’m going to challenge all of you readers to e-mail, fax or mail me a letter (that’s a piece of paper with writing on it) in care of this publication, and tell me how any one of these quotes relates to sales. The best five ideas will be published with your picture in the August issue of the magazine. I’ll try to persuade Attila the Editor to give something good to the five winners.
Here are three more quotes to choose from.
“There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.”
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
“If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.”
Next month, I’ll present the Mañana Man’s Stimulus Package. It won’t include any bailout money, since I’m tapped out. But it will include a lot of “Stimulating” programs that you can use to improve your business and personal prosperity.
Meanwhile, stimulate your sales and “Get Out There and Sell Something.”
Oh, I almost forgot. I do have a money-making scheme. Remember how I criticized blogs in my April column. Well, now I have one, so visit me at www.hubpages.com/author/Manana+Man/hot/. It’s intended to be a productive respite for lonely and tired salespeople. If I have a lot of visitors, they may pay me a couple of bucks. 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 141 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry’s preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at HDeWese@CompassCapLtd.com.