Get Lost on Memory Lane –DeWese
WOW! When I have finished this June column, I will have written 296 1,250-word columns for Printing Impressions since I wrote the first one, which appeared in the November 1984 edition. That amounts to 370,000 words—give or take some where I went a little crazy and wrote maybe 1,500 words, and some where I ran out of juice and only composed around 800 words. Most of the time, however, I wrote 1,200 to 1,300 words.
I have never had a reader write in and say, "Mañana Man, you old rhetoric breath, you're boring me!" Surely someone has been put to sleep reading these columns. If that happened, it was something written by the Mañana Man, not me. If anybody is boring, it's the Latin Lover, not Harris DeWese. I'm the one who is substantive and educational. The Mañana Man is the one who is superficial and self-absorbed.
I was curious about the topics addressed in these 296 columns about selling in the printing industry. I'm going to revisit those topics here to see if I have covered everything. This will also serve as a good test of my 68-year-old memory. Just a reminder that I will turn 69 on June 30, so there could be even more memory erosion.
It will probably be easier if I examine the topics in broad categories, like sales behavior. Another big category will be selling skills.
I'll start with sales behavior. There is the psychology of selling. There are two parties in a sales interven- tion, the buyer and the seller. And, de- pending on the psychologist you follow, there could be more than 20 behavioral patterns for each party. It places a heavy burden on the salesperson who must adapt to the buyer behavior that she/he encounters.
Fundamentally, if you are an overbearing, self-centered talker, then you are making a huge mistake. If you talk over, interrupt or upstage your customer, you are making a huge mistake. If you are pretentious, you will fail as a salesperson. If you one-up customers, you are asking for the door.
One-upsmanship is a weak personality trait of someone begging for approval. We've all encountered people who can't wait for someone to finish their story about having dinner with a senator, so they can relate their own story about sharing breakfast with a cabinet member. You can see the anxiety as the one-upper taps his finger or rhythmically kicks his leg to hurry the buyer along so he can tell his story. It's lame, and it contributes nothing to a salesperson's objectives to gain a customer and make a sale.
He would be so much better served if he just sat quietly and intently listening to the client and showing interest. During the past 30 years, I have made hundreds of team sales calls and conducted hundreds of sales seminars. Those occasions enabled me to meet dozens of print sales superstars, both female and male. Each of them was modest and quiet. They were great listeners and even better questioners. There was nothing phony about them. Customers love those traits is sales people.
The next big category is selling skills. This pot contains time and territory management, sales planning, questioning techniques, listening skills, closing skills, sales presentation skills and sales writing skills.
There is another category that encompasses technical knowledge, company orientation (loyalty to your employer) and industry orientation (yep, loyalty to the printing industry). Weakness in any of these three areas can be the kiss of death.
I have written hundreds of words about each of these skills. Beginning in the August issue I will revisit each of the topics in-depth, one per month.
The very thought of all that work tires me so, while you get out there and sell something, I'm going to take a long nap. Oh, I am also still getting Scavenger Hunt entrants, and it's apparent that some of you are enjoying big-time success. It's still not too late to enter.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 email@example.com.