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Bill Farquharson

The Sales Challenge

By Bill Farquharson

About Bill

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."


10 Terrific Time Truths

When did life get so busy? Why must we Google “free time” in order to recall what it means? And why am on my email at 10.p.m. feeling like a son of anarchy when I should be in a chair watching Sons of Anarchy?

Time management
plays a role in the answer to each of these questions. It is a huge subject, but can be the difference between a sales rep selling $200,000 in printing services or $2 million. Yet time management is cruel and ironic: The more successful you are, the less time you have to become more successful. And there is no finish line. You will never catch up. You will die with a to-do list.

But don’t be bitter. There is help. Here are 10 things truths that will make a difference in your sales efficiency:

1. Time management is a moving target.—Whatever help you get from this blog or any time management program, course or book is temporary. The multiple factors that make up the variables of your life—workload, personal commitments, health, etc—change with each passing day. Your ability to monitor, prioritize, plan and execute a time-management plan must change with it. Reassess on an ongoing basis and adjust accordingly.

2. More successful people work less hours.—Is that crazy or what? Timothy Ferriss wrote a whole book on the subject: “The 4-Hour Workweek.” The secret isn’t really a secret at all. It’s a discipline. Remember, you are not your parents. “9 to 5” is an old (and bad) movie with Dolly Parton and no longer a mandate nor a template. You are in sales for a reason and freedom is a big part of that. Change your thinking.

3. Preparation is 75 percent of the solution.—If you start your workday without a plan, you are already behind. Never end today without having tomorrow planned and you will be ahead of the game.

4. Execution is the other 25 percent.—Learn how to prioritize on-the-fly. Do the important things first. Scratch that. Do the things that you don’t like to do first. Procrastination affects us all. One strategy is to make sure that you get to the less-attractive action items early in the day.

5. There’s busy and then there’s productive.—Everyone thinks thinks they are busy and many people are, but few of us are actually productive.

6. The goal is to see the day, week and month ahead.—Always be thinking about what’s coming next. Where are you in the selling cycle? What does next week look like as a whole? Where are you in the calendar year? These and other questions must be asked on a regular basis in order to maximize your sales efficiency.

7. Motivation is married to time management.
—Well, if not married, then they’re kissin’ cousins. The next time your motivation level dips, get organized; start with your physical surroundings (office space, desk, car, etc.) as a way of getting going again.

8. “No” is a word, too.—As salespeople, we are pleasers and doers and we have a natural inclination to say, “Yes!” to any and all requests, both external and internal. But it is not mandatory. You can say, “No!”—to a customer, your boss or a coworker just as easily as saying, “yes.” And every once in a while, it’s appropriate to do so.

9. A break every 25 minutes can help.
—There is an interesting time management technique called the “Pomodoro” method. Google it. It calls for large tasks to be broken down into 30 minute intervals, 25 of which is devoted work and five of which is rest time. I found it while researching the “Tuesday eWorkshops” that Kelly Mallozzi and I put together. When I tried it, I found it to be quite effective, though unorthodox.

10. You need to create an end to the day.
—Many, many moons ago in a mythical time called “pre-Internet,” a sales rep used to drive home and leave work behind. He/she mowed the lawn during daylight hours and ate dinner at, well, dinnertime.

Today, smartphones keep the office in our pocket at all times and 88 percent of us sleep with a cellphone next to our bed. The truth is, you are not nearly as important as you think you are. Not only that, but your family called and they’d like you back...and present to them, if you don’t mind.

There is an old truth that no one says on their deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time in the office.” Hang up. Go home. Shut down.

Time management is one of my favorite subjects. It fascinates me how everyone is busy, but not everyone is productive. I am constantly trying to get the most out of my day. Perhaps it’s just that I’m getting older and I’m running out of this precious commodity called time. Oh, how I wish I could have those hours back that I spent mindlessly watching “Batman” and “The Wild, Wild West.”

The good news is that each new day affords us a new opportunity to be productive. All it takes is a little planning, a little execution and a whole lot of discipline.

I’ll talk to you next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

If you are interested in improving your time management, check out Bill’s “Tuesday eWorkshop” program at or call Bill @781-934-7036.

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