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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."


5 Positive Assumptions Every Sales Rep Must Make

Hopefully, you are feeling better after reading my last blog entry—“5 Unfortunate Assumptions Every Sales Rep Must Make.” If not, you will after taking in the following information.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, that means injecting a little optimism into your sales life. You’ve always thought assumptions to be bad and most times, they are. However, there are some sales assumptions that can actually serve you well.

Here are five positive assumptions that you can take to the sales bank:

Unreturned voice mails have value.—Make a list of the most frustrating parts of sales and Satan’s invention—voice mail—is sure to be at or near the top. Though most of us detest voice mail and consider it a black hole and a sales challenge (pun intended), you can gain a lot by leaving professional messages.

Instead of thinking that your words are falling into the abyss, why not make the assumption that you are auditioning for the job of print vendor? Every word, every inflection, every nuance is being scrutinized. Now, instead of leaving a bland voice mail message or worse, just hanging up, you see voice mail as a chance to demonstrate your selling skills as well as your persistency. Better preparation yields not only a better sales call, it results in a better voice mail.

Yes, that is my best price.—When a client asks the question, “Is that your best price?” why do we reply, “Let me see if I can do better?” If I were a print buyer, I’d ask that question all the time just to hear the reaction.

I did an exercise once where 80 percent of the respondents caved when asked that question. You need to go to the negotiating table with the assumption that you are presenting your lowest price. But then again, why are you selling on price? Why aren’t you selling solutions?

Something fantastic is going to happen today.—We eternal optimists don’t understand the rest of you. Why would you get out of bed if you didn’t believe this assumption?

I grew up in Boston and spent 44 years, 7 days, 1 hour and 37 minutes saying, “Just wait until next year!” before the Red Sox finally reversed the curse. My friends, I know a little bit about optimism and patience and believing that something fantastic is going to happen this season. Make this assumption every day and watch what happens. Remember, you heard it here first.

If I sell hard this month, it will grow my sales three months from now.—There is very little you can do to affect your sales this month. It is what it is. Oh, and next month? Already in the books. Done.

You are working on your sales three to six months down the road. String together three months’ worth of hard prospecting and combine it with the above “Something fantastic...” assumption and you will have something to look forward to: Sales!

You can always, always, always improve your sales efficiency.—No matter how well you are handling your time management, you could always do better. There is always fat on that bone. This assumption is a curse every bit as much as it is a blessing.

Just because you could work harder does not mean you should. As much as it is important to “not just sit there, do something!” it is also important to “not just do something, sit there!” All I know is that everyone gets the same number of hours in a week. If you are being outsold by a competitor or even by someone in your office, a part of the reason why comes from the fact that the other rep is more efficient with his/her sales time. Assume, therefore, that it’s true.

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