So here I am, sitting in traffic, wedged among people talking on their respective car phones, and I look to my left and there are two women in a Toyota, and both of them are on car phones, and to my right is a Mazda van filled with impeccably dressed Japanese executives and their heads are bobbing in conversation, not with one another but with cellular partners, and I'm beginning to feel like a character in an outtake from a bad Steve Martin movie, when I think back to my dinner the night before with a fellow former New Yorker, and we're saying how we both love to do business in Southern California -- not so much because people out here are so nice (which they are) but because they love selling. Not glad-handing, not hustling, but good old-fashioned belly-to-belly (or cellular-to-cellular) selling. Their attitude is, If you've got a product you believe in, why wouldn't you want to sell it? Well, in the Northeast, executives can think of lots of reasons you wouldn't want to sell: Selling is unseemly. Selling is undignified. Selling is something you delegate to people who can handle rejection. In the Northeast real executives don't sell -- they market. To which we say, When was the last time you heard of a company marketing its way out of a slump?
Aug 1, 1991