Tragedy Brings Introspection -- DeWese
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Mañana Man, Harris DeWese, took his formidable hulk to a nutritionist on June 28, 2001. This trained professional somehow motivated El Porko to embark on a diet based on six small meals daily and no more than 1,700 calories. She also persuaded him to exercise one hour daily.
Harris has lost 50 pounds, and now will answer only to "Studmuffin." He is so full of himself that he stares at his new profile in every plate glass window he passes. Mesmerized by himself, he has walked into one light pole and three pedestrians. This resulted in a knot on his forehead and a good cussing by the innocent pedestrians. It is even worse that he has boundless energy and has stopped taking naps. We cannot control him and apologize in advance for the column that follows...
Well, I knew it. I knew that my Second Great American Print Sales Prospecting Contest would single-handedly turn around the sluggish sales in the printing industry.
Yep. The contest entries are pouring in by e-mail, fax, telephone calls and letters. Hundreds of print salespeople are knocking themselves out to get new business just to have me wash their cars and buy them dinner.
I've lost a lot of weight and I may decide to wear some bathing trunks while I wash the cars. The vision of me and my "12 pack" abs will probably motivate the female salespeople to work even harder. A couple of retired widow ladies up at the supermarket have started calling me "Studmuffin" and one other woman called me "Hunkemon." I can sure understand why when I—occasionally—glance at myself in the mirror.
The rules are printed on page 68 and it's not too late to enter.
I had written all the drivel above before going to PRINT 01 in Chicago. Attila the Editor had given me until September 12, 2001, to finish this column and I had figured, "Hey, I'm the Mañana Man. Why knock myself out finishing the column. I'll do it when I return from Chicago."
Then came September 11, 2001, and my column seems unimportant. I have to be in a mood to write these things and the day after the tragedy I was in the same angry, despondent and dark mood as the rest of the American citizens. I doubt that, by the time you read this, you'll be in a mood that is receptive to the inane banality often found in my column.
That horrible day has reminded me that lifetimes are too short. Many lives in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania were ended well before the victims had a chance to do all the loving, giving, working and achieving for which they were entitled. This has made me resolve, at age 59, to try even harder to be the best that I can be in doing what I do.
I have too much responsibility to my family, my clients, my country, my fellow citizens and myself to do otherwise. Being the best I can be will be hard because fundamentally I am a flawed human who, on occasion, is given to laziness and sloppiness. Thank goodness I've lost the weight and have more energy; now I have more stamina and I'm not so sleepy. That will help with the laziness. Sloppiness will take some work.
I feel guilty that it took a tragedy of unprecedented magnitude to get me to do some self-examination and resolve to do better. Maybe some of you print salespeople have reacted similarly.
Speaking of dates and of self-improvement—I went to a huge flea market on Labor Day. At one booth I found three tall stacks of printing trade journals from the 1940s and 1950s. I bought all of them. In fact, there were 85 of these antique magazines. I found an article in the March 1952 issue of Printing Magazine titled "What Makes a Star Salesman?" The author was not identified. I thought you might like to see that not much has changed in nearly 50 years. Here are some excerpts:
After a discussion of whether "salesmen" (forgive the author; women were not print salespeople in the 1950s) are born or made, the author wrote, "The printer, in the final analysis, pays the bill for careless selection and training of salesmen. He pays for it in lost contracts, in blunders on the part of inexperienced and careless salesmen, and in lost reputation when jobs do not arrive when promised or do not measure up."
More Advice From the Past
He continued, "He and the entire industry, as well, pays for it when, through lack of selling initiative, persuasiveness or wisdom, funds which would have been best used for printed or lithographed advertising pieces are routed to less effective media. For all these reasons it, therefore, will pay the printer in the long run to find and train his own sales force.
"In doing so, the printer should seek salesmen who:
* Have a selling personality.
* Have acquired, or can obtain, individual assurance. (I think he means self-esteem.)
* Have at least a junior college education.
* Have a love of fine printing and are ambitious to build better business with better printing.
* Are willing to learn the mechanical and technical details of the printing business, constantly keeping up with its improvements.
* Have initiative and perseverance.
* Have a burning desire to use their God-given talents for good."
Well, the last item is sort of where I came in. I have resolved and have a "burning desire" to better use the few talents I have. I hope all of you will do the same. I have been blessed in life and I really need to do better for the folks who depend on me.
If you would like a complete copy of the anonymous author's full article, then write me and I'll send it to you. If you are among the first 20 readers to write, I will send you one of the actual antique magazines.
Now, I've got to go give another pint of blood and I'm writing another check to the American Red Cross. A good first step to renewed performance is to simply get out there and sell 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 individually 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 period 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 of less than $5 million. Category II will be companies with revenues between $5 and $10 million. Category III will be companies with revenues between $10 and $20 million. Finally, Category IV will be companies with sales 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.