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We're just wild about Harry
By Harvey Mackay
At Mackay Envelope Corporation, we are celebrating our 40th year in
business in 1999. One of the reasons we've made it this long is our
phenomenal sales force, as you've doubtless heard me boast before.
They are all A+ students. But one is the professor emeritus of
Harry Goldfarb decided at the tender age of 25 to flog envelopes.
More than 50 years later, he's still at it. And are we ever lucky
he's still on our team. I'd hate to have him working for the
When I bought this near-bankrupt company way back when, Harry came
with the furniture. I've long since gotten rid of the furniture.
Harry is not disposable. He's 77 going on 21, and retirement is not
in his vocabulary. Harry will tell you, if you don't use it, you'll
So what is it that separates him from the pack? He's a hungry
fighter. A competitor. A guy who believes second is last. And yet,
in his own quiet, inimitable style, he is a class act all the way
with his family, customers and company peers. In short, everybody
loves Harry. If Harry meets 100 people, I guarantee it, 100 people
will like him. He has instant credibility.
Harry is so unassuming he will be shocked to see this column about
him in print. He's the only one at our shop who doesn't know this
piece is being written about him.
The amazing thing is these exact words could have been written about
Harry five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, even 25 years ago.
Well . . . you get the picture.
Harry hasn't changed 1/10th of 1 percent during his 50-year selling
career. Not in the eyes of his peers or his customers.
How does he do it?
Sincerity, dogged persistence, fanatical attention to detail . . .
sense of humor and a lot of giggles. He knows thine enemy (our
competitors) and is completely knowledgeable about the envelope
business. He is truly the dean of the Minneapolis/St. Paul envelope
community. You may take an order away from him, but you'll never
pick off one of his accounts. Why? Because he will never, never,
never give up.
Remember, when Harry started in this racket it only cost 2 cents to
mail a letter. Envelopes looked pretty much like they do now. He had
no competition from fax machines or e-mail. People actually wrote
Sure, Harry remembers the good old days, but he doesn't live in the
past. He does provide good old-fashioned service. And he's found
that as times and technology change, service is still the glue that
makes the deal stick.
That's the indomitable Harry spirit I know. And it's lacking in too
many people today choosing sales as a career.
Harry's secret weapon? He'll be there. I guarantee you one day, one
week, one month, one year, our competitors will screw up. Screw up
big time. In the envelope business, job after job has to be right.
When occasional catastrophes happen -- to the other guys, of course
-- that's where Harry fits in. Competitors' customers know they can
call Harry at Mackay Envelope Corporation and he'll take care of it.
He'll come through every time. And Harry knows he can beat 90
percent of the competition just by showing up.
I phoned one of Harry's accounts and asked her, "Why have you stayed
with Harry all these decades? I know it's at least 35-plus years."
She didn't miss a beat.
"That's easy. Harry's a prince and over the years he's hauled
envelopes in his car up to our office . . . actually bought
envelopes from your competitor when you were out of stock to satisfy
us . . . opened your factory on a Saturday to get out a dated
mailing and never has made a pit stop on us at our office without
his million-dollar megawatt smile."
We're just wild about Harry.
If anyone out there thinks they are a Harry, ring us up. Our mission
statement is: To be in business forever.
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