I posted a blog yesterday about Bertelsmann and the proposed layoff at Random House.
Today, Michael Cader's Publisher's Lunch contained a link to a bookseller's blog. That blog, by Robert Gray of Vermont, talked about one of the faceless, nameless sales reps that Random House has slated for termination. The rep, Bill Andrews, is, in Gray's words, "at the top of my list. He didn't just sell Random House, he represented it."
Gray goes on to describe examples of what he means. As I read his post, I was reminded of the best salesman I know.
My brother A is a salesman. Being with him is like being with no one else I know. He pays attention to the people around him and to every detail. He's interested in everyone he meets--from the waitress in the restaurant to the cop on the corner. And, because his interest is genuine and sincere, people respond to him.
Tipp O'Neill once said, "All politics is local." The same can be said of selling. All great salesmen make selling local; they bring it home to the people they meet every day. And they do it with so much grace, so much polish, that we feel grateful to have been sold whatever product we've just bought.
It seem incredibly foolish to me that Random House would lay off a man of Bill Andrews' talents. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I'm glad that Robert Gray could put a face on one of those nameless RH sales reps.
Here's a link to Gray's tribute to Andrews: http://www.fresheyesnow.com/. I cannot imagine a greater compliment to a man's professionalism.
We'll talk more about bookselling tomorrow.