Tips for the 21st Century —DeWese
Obviously, NAPL wanted me to talk about how technology and customers were requiring change in the ways we sell. But, I thought, “This is 2007, seven years into the 21st century and nothing has changed so far. We didn’t get it right in the 20th century, and we still make the same darn mistakes! We haven’t improved one iota.”
Saying “yes” is always the easy part. Performing, on the other hand, is so hard. I guess that’s why I walked away from that blackjack table. Those two sentences, come to think of it, are profound.
As a father of four, I have always whispered to myself, “Having these kids was so easy. Now, raising them is just way too hard.”
I’ll repeat myself one more time:
Saying “yes” is always the easy part. Performing is so hard.
There’s no preparation for “yes.” Performance won’t happen without preparation.
So I began to think about all of the things graphics communications companies and salespeople must do to perform at a high level of success. I made a stream-of- consciousness list of sales characteristics of the previous century. It’s in no particular order.
• Salespeople with account concentration. There were many salespeople who have one big egg in their tiny little basket. In other words, they have one $800,000 account and six little accounts that aggregate at $100,000. Lose the big boy and you lose the farm. This is still quite common in the industry.
• Salespeople with no major accounts. There are many salespeople who have no significant accounts. They dabble with a bunch of promising customers and are constantly playing a bidding game, never really developing any relationships.
• Salespeople who have plateaued. This was a big problem in the previous century and it’s still here. Actually, there are many salespeople and companies who either can’t or won’t expend the effort to grow.