Archive for category Opinion

8 Reasons To Fire Your Principal

dan-2Sometimes a rep has to do what a rep has do to.

Okay, so now it’s your turn. We have talked enough about making sure that you as a rep make yourself invaluable to your principal. We have gone on ad nausea about the various ways that reps disappoint the companies they represent. So now we are going to switch gears and put that proverbial shoe on the proverbial other foot and talk about when it’s time for you to check out; when it’s time for you to tell your principal that enough is enough and bade him a very pleasant adios amigo.

Sometimes you can pick these things up when you are going through the interview “getting to know you” phase of the relationship. If this is the case. If at any time in the initial stages of the relationship you even come within smelling distance of any of these problems, then get out, do not sign on the line that is dotted, just go away before anything becomes formal.

But as sometimes happens everything is great at the beginning of the relationship but begins to sour along the way don’t be afraid to call it a day.

Here are seven indications that the relationship with your principal is going bad and that you should get out before it gets rotten.

  1. No communications: When the principal, despite your best efforts stops communicating with you it’s time to start wondering what’s going on. This is especially true if at one time you had a great relationship with her. Try to find out what’s going on. Be suspicious, there must have been some sort of change at the company. Try to find out if you did something to offend the principal or if there is just something you don’t know about and should.
  2. Poor service: this is the worst of all things a principal can do to hurt you. When you start seeing Quality issues, late deliveries and worst of all a sort of malaise sets in where the principal really doesn’t seem to care that you are out there dodging bullets while he is back in his shop doing nothing about it, it’s time to start thinking about buying your exit ticket because often especially if the principal will not even listen to you when you try to tell her that things are going to hell in a handbasket, it’s time to exit stage left. Look you are supposed to be spending your time selling not apologizing. Do not hang around with a vendor who is not performing, it’s not worth your time an effort and it’s certainly not worth risking your good name, your reputation by hanging around with a loser.
  3. Losing customers: related to item two, when you start losing customers get out. If you are a multi-line rep, you cannot afford to lose a customer when you are selling other technologies of the same product to those customers. Get out and get out fast.
  4. Know when to fold them: This is a tricky one. Often reps are held hostage because they brought in a big account and are now in danger of losing a commission stream if they leave too soon. There isn’t much you can do about this. When you find yourself in this situation you obviously don’t have the latitude to leave right away if you ever want to see those commissions so all you can do is lay low, do the best you can and quietly make arrangements to leave. If this is a multi-year contract, then try to make the best of a bad thing. This is the one time you can try to reason with the principal. Try to help him get better. Point out to him that he stands to lose the big account you brought in if he doesn’t fix his company. If he listens to you and starts trying to make things better fine. If not, then start finding another company wo can take over your large account because eventually that poor performance is going to affect that account as well and you will lose it. Protect your reputation at all costs. This is not a good time to go down with the ship.
  5. You are being phased out: you can tell when this is happening, you’ll feel a sudden chill in the air. Your contact at the principal will no longer be that nice. You start hearing a lot of “what have you done for me lately”. If these things start to occur and you know you have been doing a good job then start looking for a rat to match with that smell because here is what is happening; either the principal has a new accountant who is pointing out that you are making “too much money”, or they have figured out that one of the customers you brought in is growing like crazy and they want you out of the picture before they start paying you a “small fortune”. Whether you like it or not you are going to be let go contract terminated a victim of your own success. First, remember this scenario when signing a contract because this is why you need to find for a longer termination clause. The second thing you can do is go to the owner of the company and negotiate a fair termination that will give you some kind of parting gift or if all else fails call your lawyer. Sorry there is no good and satisfying end to this situation, this is why you need to choose your principals carefully…very carefully
  6. You’re in shackles: the principal thinks that his company can do everything, every technology, every service every kind of printed circuit boards that money can buy (and he cannot) so that he will not let you have any other lines. Do not ever sign a contract that dictates that you cannot have any other lines of similar but non-competing products, you have to have the latitude to have other non-competing lines that offer different technologies services. Or if you already are in an agreement with a company and they invest in a new technology and now they want you to dump your other line in the same technology, don’t do it. That’s why you have a contract. You should stick to your guns and say you already have someone building that new technology and you are not going to change.
  7. Non-Payment: when the commission checks stop coming be careful. Call the company immediately and find out what is going on. If you get a reasonable answer from the people you have had a long-time relationship with then maybe you can cut them some slack for s little while. But if you get the sense that the ship is sinking then get out, cut your loses you are now officially working for nothing and you cannot afford to do that. Remember you are an unsecured creditor and if that companies goes under you will get next to nothing if anything at all.
  8. And yes, one more always under promise and over deliver; most of these issues can be resolved if you have maintained a close relationship with your principals. Try to keep close to the owner. Make sure you have a great working relationship at all times. One more bit of advice you might consider adding a single clause to the contract that demands that before any termination by either part occurs both parties must meet face to face and have a discussion about the issues on the table. I had a contact like this once and it really worked. We sat down, had a talk, and resolved our differences.

Like everything else if you maintain a good working relationship with your principals, if you stay in touch with them, if your talk frequently these kinds of situations are much less likely to occur. Its only common sense.


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Sales People: Get With Social Media

dan21Sorry, but you cannot keep ignoring marketing or even social media

Remember when we thought it was funny for one of our fellow sales people to say something like,” no I don’t know how to “twit” or “tweet” or “twitter”, or whatever these kids are doing these days.” Or something like, “What is the point of this Linkedin thing anyway? What is that MyPage for business people?” And “I don’t have time for stuff like that, that’s just for the kids. That’s a fad anyway, it will be just a memory next year at this time, I’m not going to waste my time with that.” And then, we would all laugh, agree with the speaker, and order another beer. Remember those days? Well guess what? That kind of prideful ignorance is no longer cool, and if you want to succeed as a sales person today, and in the future, you’d better catch on to these “newfangled notions”. You’d better figure out exactly what Linkedin is, especially Linkedin, and learn how to effectively use it.

More people than ever, like say millions and millions of people, are using Linkedin for all facets of their business, from developing leads, to finding key people, to connecting with the right people, those they need to be doing business with. Linkedin has become the single most powerful sales tool available today on the market today.

And Twitter, that’s right it’s called Twitter, and what you do is Tweet, is almost as powerful. Go ahead and try it, send out something like” # (your company name) is the best metal backed fabricator in the industry” and watch what happens. Actually, probably not much, since you just learned how to say Twitter. But go to your IT guy or someone younger than you, which is just about anyone else in the company, I’m sure, someone who has been Tweeting long enough to have developed a strong following and have them Tweet that same thing, and you’ll see what can happen with the right Tweet to the right audience.

Which leads me to another, not unrelated, subject which is content development and distribution. The best companies are doing it, the smart companies are doing it. And now it’s up to you to get on the content bandwagon. You must start writing articles, columns, blogs, technical bulletins, even books and Micro-books about your company, especially its’ expertise. You should be doing everything you can to get your name out into the market, and the best way to do that is to write some informative valuable, content highlighting what your company does best.

By the way, you do not have the luxury of saying you and the rest of your management team are not writers, Nope, that will not fly. You must find a way to get your company on a regular content producing course and that content out to your marketplace. Find a way to do this. Hire a writer to help you with content-carrying media. Develop a regular content-producing schedule for your company. It’s not that difficult and here’s why…the neat thing about content is that you can re-purpose it for all your needs.

Let’s say your company has been fabricating large memory cards for many years, chances are this make you and your company experts on memory card technology. Now, develop a monthly column where each month you will write a new column of a different fact of the memory card business. Here are some examples of column subjects: What to look for in a Memory card fabricatorTen fundamentals that each memory card designer needs to know. Or, The future of memory card technology. You get the idea; and then publish these columns every single month in a trade magazine such as this one, and you will soon be considered an expert in this field.

Now, here’s the good part; you take each one of these columns and post it on Linkedin thus widening the circulation. To make sure that as many people as possible see it, write three related tweets each time a new column comes out driving more people to read the column. Condense the column into shorter blogs and distribute those with your Word Press blog. And if you get even more ambitious put out a newsletter every month featuring your column and other information about your company, always positioning your company as the expert in large memory cards. Before you know it that single monthly column has become a message carrier carrying your company’s message to hundreds if not thousands of interested potential customers.

And that’s not all…wait there’s more, your SEO people will then take all this content and blast it all over the internet making sure you get the coveted high Google ranking, showing up on the first page on any Google search looking for large memory boards.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “What the heck is SEO? Well I think we’ve had enough for one day. We’ll talk about that next week. Stay tuned. It’s only common sense

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Stories From The PCB Sales Frontlines

Dan - booksDid you ever live through something that was so insane, and so stupid that you couldn’t believe it was happening right before your very eyes? I have, and many times. But I’m no different from anyone who has sold PCBs, or anyone who’s spent years in our industry, for that matter.

Then, late at night when PCB sales teams get together with just enough brews to lubricate their tongues, they begin to tell their stories, these tales of terror they experienced over their years on the circuit board trails. So, let’s reach into the vault and pull out a few of these gems.

Are you ready? Remember, these are all true stories.

I once worked with a company whose management did not believe in shipping on time. They made an almost justifiable argument that the customers did not really care of if they got their boards today or tomorrow. They claimed that on-time delivery was well over-rated and that they got along just fine without the bother of being on time. One of the managers was even emboldened to say, “Look, no one is calling us about it, so the customers must be OK, right?” That company went from $9 million in revenue to $4 million to $ 2 million and then, poof! Just like that, they were gone. They were right about one thing: no one was calling them anymore.

Then there was the company that decided to “re-engineer” their entire organization. Certainly an admirable endeavor, that. The only problem was that they shut down their entire operation and spent their days with all of their key people in a conference room, debating about where to put the semicolon in the mission statement. Meanwhile, the phones rang and rang, their customers could not get their boards quoted, built, or delivered. They went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and then straight to Chapter 7 and died and very quick and sudden death. But I think they might have got that mission statement done, though.

Then there is the board shop owner whose motto was, “We’re not worse than anyone else.” I am not kidding.

Then there was the director of engineering who grew tired of hearing the sales team complain about the company’s poor quality and delivery. He stood up and yelled, “Why don’t you guys just shut up and go sell boards that we can build here?”

To which some smart ass director of sales (who shall remain nameless) responded, “Oh, like overpriced, poor quality boards that are always late?”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Oh, and let’s not forget that company president who was having a hard time booking enough business, so he decided he needed to have a lay-off. He let his entire sales team go. Actually, more than one company can lay claim to this story

Or, did you hear the one about the company that hated its customers so much that they got together every day to have a bitching session about them? They even went so far as holding an election to vote for the absolute worst customer. Have you heard that one?

Just one more, I promise. This is getting to be sadistic, I know. There was a company that insisted that those four-layer boards they were quoting were really $1,200 each, even though the last time they built them the price had been $80, because the new system was spewing a new price of $1,200 each!

Yes, I promise you these are all true stories. Some of them I have heard from other people, while others I have lived through myself. Ah, the good old days.

But there is a glimmer of hope: Not one of these stories is more recent than 15 years ago. Most of them occurred in the late ‘90s. I am happy to report that times have changed, and we are all getting a little bit better. Most board shops of today are better-run than the ones cited in these horror stories, and most board shops try to be the best they can be at all times. Most board shops try to provide their customers with everything they need to be successful. They try to service their customers to the best of their ability…at all times.

But then again, when I say most board shops today, I mean the fewer than 200 that are left in the US. Over 1,000 US board shops have gone out of business. Could the aforementioned bad actors bear some responsibility for that turn of events? Hmmm…I wonder.

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7 Ways To Make Your Principals Brag About You

dan-3If you’re a rep the best way to be successful is to have your principals love you. Sad as it may seem I almost never hear principals bragging about having a great rep. In fact, instead, I hear horror story after horror story about how reps aren’t doing anything, they are not bringing in the right stuff, they are hard to find when they are being signed and even harder to find after they are signed. Most of the calls I get from companies looking for reps are by people who are completely dissatisfied with their current reps. Of course, there is another side to this story and We all know that very well, but let’s agree to leave that for another day. For now, let’s focus on what you can do as a rep to become a great rep, a rep your principals love, one that they will be happy to brag about.

Actually, this is an opportunity where if you are ambitious and serious about being a great rep, an outstanding rep, you can really shine. These seven tips I am about to give you are quite straightforward and things you should be doing for yourself anyway. So if you’re doing these things already great, if not, get started today.

  1. Accountability: Always be accountable to your principals as well as to yourself. Plan and measure everything you do. Plan, create milestones and get things done. Do what you say and say what you do. If you promise someone something, then do it. In the end that’s all accountability is.
  2. Reporting: Yes, reporting. I know that some of you chose to be reps to get away from all of that “bureaucracy”, but good solid reporting is important when you are in a business partnership as you are with your principals. And good reporting is also important when you have your own business as well. Your principals have resigned themselves to the fact that reps don’t write reports; so just think how outstanding they’ll think you are if you do in fact write reports. These don’t have to be fancy just simple updates of what is going on with your customers and what you are doing about it. The principals just want to know that you’re out there doing something for them so why not prove it by giving them a written report every couple of weeks?
  3. Communications: It’s all about communication, staying in touch with both you customers and most importantly your principals. As stated above give them a written report. Set up a call with them at least twice and month and then invite them out to your territory to visit your customers and see what is going on for themselves. And don’t forget the Godfather’s number one rule when it comes to communications, “deliver good news quickly; deliver bad news even Immediatly”.
  4. Meetings: I know we all hate meetings but you should have them. If the principal doesn’t set up regular meetings, then you do it. Have at least one formally scheduled phone meeting with each of your principals a month, or even more frequently. Plan on having a face to face annual meeting with the companies you represent. And if they are smart enough to hold an annual sales meeting then make sure you are there.
  5. Ride alongs: Invite your principals into your territory at least twice a year if not more. They need to come in and talk to their customers directly. You need to have time to meet with them on a face to face basis as well. Make sure these territory visits are well planned and full of important meetings. Arrange meal meetings where the customer and his vendor (your principal) get to break bread and know one another better. Make the time you spend with your principals as productive as possible. Plan so there are no cancellations; and create a back-up plan in case there are. And for heaven’s sake don’t get lost on the way to visit a customer with your principal in the car that will do nothing but raise all kinds of doubts in her mind as to how often you actually visit your/their customers.
  6. Prospecting and lead generation. Yes, sorry you have to do that. It’s all part of the game if you want to be in sales you have to always be selling. One of the complaints I hear about reps is that they get one or two big accounts and they stop selling; the stop hunting and start farming. If you want to grow your business you should grow your account base and the only way to do that is through prospecting and lead generation. Develop a good lead generation plan. Use your marketing to “warm up” those cold calls. Make a list of viable target accounts and then develop a plan to go after them. Send them e-mails with follow up phone calls. Perfect your sales pitch. Fill your sales funnel and then work your way to that first quote and then to that first order and take it from there. The more active you are when it comes to lead generation the more delighted your principals will be. And by the way your business will grow exponentially as well.
  7. Forecasting: I know I can hear you groaning all the way from here but spry you do have to forecast it is part of the deal if you’re in sales and it is also part of the deal if you are in sales. It’s not that difficult. List your current customers, figure out what they did the past couple of years and what you think they are going to do next year. Do the same with your target accounts. Figure out how much of your type of business they do in a year and then predict how much you can win. Put this data into a time-lined month to month excel sheet and you have your forecast not only for the year but for each month at well. Personally, I don’t know how anyone can own a rep firm and be in sales and not have a forecast. By the way my, your principals will not only love you…they will adore you if you give them a forecast for the coming year.

And one more, always under promise and over deliver do some marketing for your principals. Apply your marketing ideas to their business as well. Help them to get their names out, their capabilities known in your territory as well. I promise you no matter who your principals are they have never had a rep do something like this for them and yes you’ll have them bragging about you. It’s only common sense

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Remember Who Is Really Doing The Work

dan-6Those of us who have spent our lives in sales, sometimes forget who really matters. As we pursue those elusive orders or solve problems, meet challenges, and soothe angry customers, it is easy for us to forget those who are really doing the work. The ones who are back at the shop, sweating it out so that all of us on the team can make a living.

While we’re at lunch complaining that the air conditioning in this restaurant is always set too cold, we should think about the folks working in the plating department where it is over 100 degrees on this pleasant July day. While we’re playing customer golf later, they’ll be plating hundreds of panels and sweating their you-no-what’s off all day for a pay that is a fraction of ours. Always being extremely careful because if they miss something there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!

While we sit impatiently waiting for that buyer who is always late, we should think about those Quality inspectors visually checking hundreds of square inches of board surface for hours on end, atop metal stools in back-breaking positions, squinting through scopes making sure that the products you’re selling will be perfect. Always being extremely careful because if they miss something there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!

Or when we’re stuck in traffic with nothing to do but turn up the radio and listen to the ball game for hours on end, furious about something we can do nothing about, remember those people in the drill department watching and monitoring as those drills pound out thousands even hundreds of thousands of holes making sure they are all perfectly round and in dimension and making sure they are all there, because if even one is missing, there will be hell to pay, and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!

Or when you’re trying to relax at home around your pool in the late afternoon, you should remember those who have just come onto second shift, getting briefed to make sure they work on all of the right stuff for the next eight hours, before handing the work off to the graveyard shift that comes in at eleven, ready for the hand off to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that boards will be delivered on time and you won’t receive any grief when you meet with the customer the next day. Because if you do, there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!

Or when you’re catching up with your Facebook friends late in the evening and a message comes up letting you know that your largest customer’s hot boards are going to be delivered at five tomorrow morning a few hours ahead of schedule. You should remember the people that made that happen. All those nameless, faceless, people who we never take the time to acknowledge, or even get to know, until something goes wrong. Because if it does, there will be hell to pay and we as the customer interface will be there to make sure that hell is in fact, paid!

Or when you’re calling your boss to complain that once again that quote to your customer, the one they sent in almost four hours ago, is almost a half hour late; telling him that you cannot possible succeed out here in the field if this is the kind of support you’re going to get from inside sales, regardless of how many complicated quotes they are trying to get done that day, for not only for other customers but the rest of the sales team’s customers as well. Remember the time you tried to do a quote to find out “just how hard this could be?” and gave up after fifteen minutes, because it was too boring and much too complicated. Remember that?

And then, when you’re booking that huge order, the one that is going to put you over the top. The one that is going to earn you that five-thousand-dollar bonus. Before, you decide to celebrate by singing “I Did It My Way” into your soap on a rope in front of your bathroom mirror, try to remember that no, you did not do it your way. That it took many people working in the shadows of the shop, in cold and in heat in all conditions both at home and at work to get that order. You were just the one privileged enough to be carrying the bag for your company. That company that has done everything they could to guarantee your success. The entire company won that order and that’s what you should be celebrating as you bask in the glory of victory. Because without those people back at the shop working tirelessly hour after hour, day after day, we in sales would have nothing to sell. Everything we do in sales is dependent on those people working so unglamorously back at the shop. Never ever forget that. It’s only common sense

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Six Things That Will Guarantee A Great 2018

dan-5Okay here we are again. The beginning of a brand-spanking shiny new year. 2018! Who would have thought we would make it this long?  But we did, and the North American PCB business is still alive and kicking. But, as we turn the page on another new year we should consider what we want to do with this new year.  Are we going to do what we have always done and expect different results? You know the answer to that old saying, don’t you? This is what I think, I think, that if we all do things a little bit differently this year, if we all make a resolution to look at our business model a little differently this time, if we all change our attitude just a little bit, things will change for the better. Yes indeed, we can make a difference and we can have a better maybe even a great 2018.

Here are six things we can do to make sure that this year will be a great one.

  1. Stop being so desperate, so scared that our business is dying. Because it’s not. The pros tell us that we could see a $70 Billion-dollar market this year. Think about that, $70 Billion! And then think of the relatively small fraction of that business you need to make 2018 your best year ever.
  2. Tear down those walls. In the end we are all in the sales business. We sell PCBs, all kinds of PCBs. You are already paying for that sales force, you might as well leverage it as far as you can. Offer you customers everything from value-added offshore to domestic ITAR, to flex and rigid-flex. If you don’t build it yourself find a partner who does.
  3. Make you sales effort intentional. In simple terms this means treat sales like you mean it. Give it the respect and attention it deserves. Sales is the most important department in your company. It is the only one reaching out to the market with the goal of growing your business. Anything else you do from buying new equipment, to growing into new technologies, is all dependent on how good and successful your sales effort is. Too many of you have been treating sales, and everything it encompasses like a necessary evil; and as far as that goes you’re only half right, it is necessary, extremely necessary to  your company’s future.
  4. Get your name out in the marketplace. People need to know who you are if they are going to find you and buy from you. Your competitors are marketing thier companies using everything from traditional advertising, to social media, to SEO (sales engine optimization), this is no time for shrinking violets. This is a time to get out there and tell people about your company and what you can do for them.
  5. Hire new blood. We have all been horrified at the lack of youth in our industry here in North America, let’ stop being horrified and do something about it. In the past few months I have come across a number of aggressive, well-educated, young people who are passionate about our industry and want to join us. They are out there, and they are ready to get involved, learn everything they can about both bare board fabrication and contract manufacturing and get to work. Once again, I’ll use that word “intentional”, let’s intentionally seek out, hire, and train the youngsters. We are not going to live forever, and the way things are going our American PCB industry is going to die off with us, if we don’t do something about it.
  6. Forget the “good old day” they are all a figment of your imagination. I was there, and I can tell you they weren’t that good. You just remember them with those rose-colored glasses we use to view the past. So, forget about them, and for heaven’s sakes stop, please stop waiting for them to come back because first of all they won’t, and second of all you wouldn’t like it one bit if they did.

And yes, one more as always under promise and over deliver. And you’re not going to believe this one. Have some fun. That’s right have a good time for once. Let’ stop being so darned serious about our business. Let’s look at the bright side of things and realize that we have a lot of good thing going for us right now. The industry is growing, the technology is rising, our customers are getting smarter and more appreciative of what we are doing for them, and over all things are getting better for those of us in both bare boards and contract manufacturing. So, lose the gloomy attitude and get to work and “intentionally” do what you have to do, and it will be a great year. Have a good and prosperous 2018. It’s only common sense.

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I Can’t Prove It, But I Know That It’s True

Dan - another pathHow many times have you felt something in your gut that you know it’s true but there is no good way to prove it? You just have a sense, a feeling, an intuition, that what you are thinking is right but there is just no way to prove it. So, with that in mind here are some things that I have learned over my too many years in this business, that I cannot prove… but I just know they’re true:

  1. When you meet a sales team for the first time, the person who talks the most is usually the worst sales person on the team. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true
  2. The sales person who swears that sales forecasts don’t work, is the sales person who does not want to be held accountable in any way. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true
  3. The inside sales person with the best and most charming personality is not always the best inside sales person. I can’t prove it, but I know it’s true.
  4. A shop owner who tells me that his sales reps are all no good, is always a terrible sales manager who doesn’t spend enough time with his reps. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true
  5. A General Manager who says that the increase in sales was all about performance and had nothing to do with the sales team, will also tell me that it’s the sales team’s fault when sales are down. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true
  6. A designer who refuses to listen to a customer’s advice about his design, is the designer who would benefit the most from that advice. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  7. When a customer tells you, he wants you to be his partner, it usually means it’s going to cost you money without any guarantees of more business. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  8. When a board shop owner says he is going out of business, he has been out of business for five months but hasn’t admitted it to himself yet.
  9. When you’re invited to a conference run by customers who are going to show you how to win more business, it usually means they are going to tell you to do everything they want you to do without any regard to your company’s well-being. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  10. When a buyer tells you that you and your competitors are all the same, so he is comfortable buying on price…he is not only lying, but lazy to boot. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  11. When a sales person asks you if you want her to sell of fill out her weekly report, I know she is not a good sales person. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  12. When an owner tells you that business was “way-up”, he is probably lying. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  13. When an owner tells you that business is “way-down” this year she is probably lying. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  14. When someone wants to sell their shop at a reasonable price. It never is…a reasonable price. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  15. When a customer tells you, he has all the board shops he needs…he doesn’t. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  16. When a buyer tells you, he doesn’t know how many dollars of boards he buys every year. He is not telling the truth. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  17. When at the end of the year a customer decided to return two thousand boards for “Quality issues”, it’s really because of inventory issues. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  18. When a candidate for a sales job tells you, he made two hundred thousand dollars last year. What he really means is that he would have made two hundred thousand dollars…if the company had not screwed him and that’s why he’s looking for a new gig. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  19. When a company terminates a rep firm because “they used to be good but aren’t any more”, it really means that the rep is making too much money on the accounts they already brought in. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  20. When someone tells you that PCBs are obsolete and won’t be needed any longer, it usually means that their pcb business has failed and they don’t won’t face the facts that it’s their fault. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.

And now a few things that I just am true as we head into the new year:

  • 2018 will be a much better year that 2017. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.
  • The shops that commit to serving their customers will succeed in 2018. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true
  • The companies that invest in marketing and sales will succeed in 2018. I can’t prove it, but I know that it’s true.

And finally, I hope that all of you have a great holiday season and a safe and prosperous new year. It’s only common sense.

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