When I was young I never thought to myself…”gee, when I grow up I want to be a sales person.”

My sales career happened because I stumbled upon a fascinating industry, Graphic Arts, and more specifically ~ printing. Initially I was hired as a Sales-Service Secretary (for a printing facility), promoted to Customer Service for a very successful salesman, and then, I made the ultimate leap to sales.

Why? Because I was fairly certain that I could do the work. During my years of support roles, I watched other sales people and knew that I had the combination of work ethic and industry knowledge to do what needed to be done. What I didn’t know at the time is that it would take a bit of luck. That one person who would make a difference.

I’ve written before about that one person, from Morgan to Cyndi, that single person, who without their involvement, a story might end very differently.

If you ask any business owner or sales person, more than likely they will admit there was a person, who without them, they wouldn’t have been successful. It’s not as rare as you think to find the person who will make the difference, you just have to try.


Kia’s Question…

How do you negotiate with your printing suppliers?

Kia was looking for funny stories but ended up with a rather frustrated group of printers and print producers. Her take on the conversation was meant to be satirical, but satire can be offensive to some people. Satire is risky in that, if it makes you uncomfortable, there might be a smidgen of truth to the story.

I’m careful in printstories to try to relate stories that don’t offend. During my 30 years of printing there are many conversations that I’d rather not repeat. Sometimes the misinformation a novice brings to the table does make you want to smack your head against the wall. But that is actually an opportunity if you’re up for the challenge. And, there it is, sometimes as sales people we are not. We sometimes get tired of the people who are in positions where you think their knowledge base would allow them to at least spec a job. Lately, I’ve worked with designers who can’t even tell me how many pages are in their catalog. Or, a print buyer who comes to look at a job on press and states, “when will you people learn to print in RGB?”

As a seasoned rep, I ask questions to determine the production knowledge level of the person I’m working with. Long ago, I gave up believing in the title of the person. I just can’t trust those words. I need to know going into a negotiation how much of my time and effort is required to work on a project with this person and the level of difficulty in the job itself.

The art of negotiating? It is, at its best, when the buyer and the seller respect each other and have empathy for each person’s position. Management is putting pressure on the buyer to bring in the best price. The seller is trying to make a fair living and a fair profit to stay in business. The problems in negotiating occur when respect or empathy are missing…on either side of that table.

It’s Free

Nothing is free, except the mud, mosquitos and the breeze…if you’re in Belize. Sorry, I digressed very quickly today.

We’ve heard over and over again that so much on the internet is free, so the argument goes…but is it?

The other day I bought concert tickets on-line. There were four options to receive your tickets. You could pick them up at the concert at will call, expedite them overnight, standard USPS mail and the option of email. Two of these options were free; can you guess which two?

Of course the expedited method isn’t free, but of course the will call would be free. If you guessed the email was free you would be wrong. The emailed ticket was $2.00 and the USPS? Free.

As a client told me a few months ago. Stick a stamp on it, .45 cents…what a deal.


John and I have marveled lately at the size of the cacti blooming on the side of our house. It’s a west-facing strip of dirt that gets a ton of direct sun, not much attention from us, and the additional heat off the brick of the house. But, the cacti are obviously very happy and thrive in that environment.

It makes me think about how we too, as people, are happiest and thrive in the places, jobs and relationships where our natural-born temperaments belong.