Lesson #2A: You’ll make more money when you stick to your strike zone. As noted, the owner’s logic was semi-flawed. Yes, a large job at low margins can make a large contribution to overhead, but it only contributes to profit if you’re well above break-even. As it happened, this job would have turned a good month into a great month, but that’s not automatic! Remember, it’s not top-line volume that really determines your breakeven point; it’s gross profit dollars.
Lesson #3: This may have been the most important lesson for this particular salesperson. If you’ll permit me as baseball analogy, she went from double A to the major leagues pretty much overnight, and she wasn’t equipped to compete at that level. But she got a good look at what it’s like up there. Now she knows how far she has to go, and she also knows that she wants to get there. I’ve been very impressed with her “new” attitude and approach to her job.
It’s been said that you can win the battle but lose the war. Fortunately, the reverse is also true. The key, I think, is what you learn in battle. The ultimate winner is the one who learns the most—from every individual victory and defeat.
Dave Fellman is the president of David Fellman & Associates, Cary, NC; a sales and marketing consulting firm serving numerous segments of the graphic arts industry. Contact Dave by phone at 800-325-9634 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.davefellman.com.