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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."


A Seminar-Stopping Question on VDP

It happened during a presentation that fellow PI World blogger Kelly Mallozzi and I were giving. The subject was, “How to get your sales team to sell digital and VDP.” and it was going pretty darned well. Kelly and I were yin-ing and yang-ing well, as ever. Nary the head of a dozing participant had hit a desk. We were cruising.

Kelly was talking about stimulating interest for digital and VDP with clients and prospects when a hand went up. Near the back was a self-proclaimed “oldest man in the room.” With the calm of a 50-year print veteran (or maybe he was just beaten down...hard to tell), he asked a seminar-stopping question:

“Why is this so hard?”

Excuse me?

“Here’s the thing. We’ve had digital on the floor for a while now and have tried unsuccessfully to generate any lasting business. What are we doing wrong?”

In case you’ve never been a Presenter in a seminar, let me clue you in to something: There are some questions that you answer quickly, others that open up rich new areas of conversation, and even some that you don’t know how to answer so you say, “Let’s talk off line.” That say you don’t have to admit you have no idea.

This one was unique as it cut to the heart of the seminar. Unfortunately, we were already running late and we needed a lot more information to answer the question. Here, then, are the questions I would have liked to have had the time to ask in order to do the necessary forensic work and give this gentleman the answer he sought:
  • What have you tried so far to generate interest?
  • On a scale of 1-10, what is the interest level of your sales team?
  • Have you tried focusing on any verticals?
  • From 1-10, how would you rate your company’s technical skills?
  • What is your digital marketing plan?
  • As company president, have you tried reaching out to any prospects or clients yourself?

As this is a one-sided conversation, I don’t have the answers to my queries and thus the subject dies here. I urge all other frustrated digital/VDP providers to go back over each question and come up with your own answers.

Without sales passion, you’d better be ready to sell the benefits yourself. Without technical superiority, you’d better be ready to deal with bad, complicated files. Without a digital marketing plan, you might want to start thinking about how to unload the digital equipment. Those three things are the requirements for digital success.

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