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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."

 

It’s Supposed to be Hard

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First, some background on me so that you know something about the guy on the other end of this Blog...

Background: I was born to sell. That’s what I was told my entire life by countless people. I sold life insurance for Northwestern Mutual Life and instantly hated it. My first sales job out of college was to sell for UARCO Business Forms. Great company. Great opportunity. I lasted four years before setting out on my own at age 25 after determining that the burning feeling in my stomach was entrepreneurial and not indigestion.

Connecting the business and personal dots between then and now looks like this: forms distributor (success!); marriage (failure); father (success x 3!); print broker, sales trainer, writer, entrepreneur, coach, speaker (success x 6). Okay, you are caught up. Oh, wait, there is one more thing you need to know: Wiseass (success!). There. NOW you are caught up.

The Sales Challenge: It’s supposed to be hard…

Now that’s we’ve been introduced, let me tell you about my Sales philosophy in the anecdotal fashion that you will come to understand is my all-time favorite communication method...

I love movies. Always have. To this day, I speak in movie one-liners—“I love the smell of Napalm in the morning*…” and “Are you talking to ME?**” and “Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?***”—you know, the important stuff in life...

I favor the old black-and-whites and some of the new stuff (the more original, the better), but not all. My all-time favorite actor is Jimmy Stewart and my all-time favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” These days, I am a big Tom Hanks fan. He is the Jimmy Stewart of our time and other than “Joe vs. The Volcano” he cranks out great movies.

One of those movies was “A League of Their Own” with Geena Davis. Do you recall it? At the end of the movie, Geena Davis’ character, who is the star of the all woman’s softball team, decides to quit due to the fact that her husband has returned from the war. While the rest of the team is walking onto the bus, Davis is glumly walking towards her car. Tom Hanks, the surly manager of the team, confronts her and asks where she is going. Davis replies, “I quit. It just got too hard.” Hanks delivers three lines that serve as the perfect commentary to the challenge of Sales these days. He says, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The ‘Hard’ is what makes it great.”

The ‘Hard’ is what makes it great. God, I LOVE that line.

Why do people climb a mountain? Why do people run marathons and participate in triathlons? Why does any kind of self-improvement happen? Do people do these things because it is easy? No. They do it because of the challenge. They do it because its hard. It supposed to be hard.

Sales in the '80s, '90s and even into ThatDecadeThatWouldNotBeNamed (The Oughts? The Double 0’s? The 2000s?) was easy. It was like Jedd Clampett shooting for oil. But then, depression set in**** and the going got tough. There are those who think the end is near and that it’s almost over for our industry. I disagree. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?*****

Hey, if you’ve had enough and you are going to try something else, that’s cool. I hear WalMart is hiring. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are, be the best at it.”

But if you are going to stick around and fight the good fight; if you want it bad enough; if you are willing to put in the effort, battle the negative, and overcome the daily thoughts of “What was I thinking?” then this Blog is for you.

Sales is hard. Life is hard. Success is hard.

But it’s the hard that makes it great!

Let’s take the challenge together.

PS-I’m going to help you with the movie references this time, but after that you are on your own:

*Apocalypse Now
**Taxi Driver
***Monty Python and the Holy Grail
****Stripes
*****Animal House

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Sean McCool - Posted on May 13, 2010
Bill, Good stuff. And I bet you thought I couldn't handle the truth! I agree, sales in person or in print is hard work. But if ever want more than a set of steak knives, that's what it takes. Later, McCool
Mark Walter - Posted on May 10, 2010
Bill, great blog! I wish my constituents were as supportive when responding to articles in the papers. Sales was the best training ground for politics. The basics of identifying problems and earning the order never go out of style. "You think you can win on talent alone? Gentleman, you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone" Herb Brooks
Bruce - Posted on May 10, 2010
The Germans - really?
Jim T - Posted on May 07, 2010
I missed the Bill blog for these last 7 months or so. Good to find you again!!!
Sam Pulice - Posted on May 07, 2010
This is so strange because in my production meeting this morning, I used another reference from this movie. When Davis returns to the team to play catcher in the big game, Tom Hanks (coach) triss not to show emotion, but as he turns back into the camera he says,"We're gonna win!" That is the excitement amongst the two people doing sales for our printing company right now!
Mary Beth Smith - Posted on May 06, 2010
Bill, I can't wait for your next installment! Any chance you can work in something from "Mars Attacks"? Great job! :) mb
Artie Moskowitz - Posted on May 06, 2010
Ha..."I love the smell of Napalm in the morning" too. I grew up in the flight path to JFK airport and the smell reminds me of home lol. I even listen to Flight of the Valykrie on the way home from a great appointment! Wow, you're lucky to have been born to sell. I was born to "not sell" and I have spent 26 years "not selling" printing, "not selling" copiers and now "not selling" printing AND copiers lol. I worked hard to learn a craft... which is how I view selling, as well as printing. I'm sure when I read your blog, you will remind me of those long days knocking on doors in 1983, 1984, 1985... 2008, 2009, 2010. Yes the basics DO work. Lots of new stuff works too. Glad to join in on your blog. Looking forward to learning, even after 26 years! - Artie "Ink in my blood" Moskowitz
Kelly - Posted on May 06, 2010
I think you just didn't GET Joe Vs. The Volcano - do me a favor and give it another try - it is WAY better than Turner and Hooch! And yes - sales is hard, and that IS what makes it great - but your systematic approach can take some of that hard sting out of it, and get you the payoff that makes it all worth it!
Tom Marin - Posted on May 06, 2010
Hey Bill! Great intro! You had me at "Apocalyypse Now!" Keep up the great work! --Tom Marin
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Sean McCool - Posted on May 13, 2010
Bill, Good stuff. And I bet you thought I couldn't handle the truth! I agree, sales in person or in print is hard work. But if ever want more than a set of steak knives, that's what it takes. Later, McCool
Mark Walter - Posted on May 10, 2010
Bill, great blog! I wish my constituents were as supportive when responding to articles in the papers. Sales was the best training ground for politics. The basics of identifying problems and earning the order never go out of style. "You think you can win on talent alone? Gentleman, you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone" Herb Brooks
Bruce - Posted on May 10, 2010
The Germans - really?
Jim T - Posted on May 07, 2010
I missed the Bill blog for these last 7 months or so. Good to find you again!!!
Sam Pulice - Posted on May 07, 2010
This is so strange because in my production meeting this morning, I used another reference from this movie. When Davis returns to the team to play catcher in the big game, Tom Hanks (coach) triss not to show emotion, but as he turns back into the camera he says,"We're gonna win!" That is the excitement amongst the two people doing sales for our printing company right now!
Mary Beth Smith - Posted on May 06, 2010
Bill, I can't wait for your next installment! Any chance you can work in something from "Mars Attacks"? Great job! :) mb
Artie Moskowitz - Posted on May 06, 2010
Ha..."I love the smell of Napalm in the morning" too. I grew up in the flight path to JFK airport and the smell reminds me of home lol. I even listen to Flight of the Valykrie on the way home from a great appointment! Wow, you're lucky to have been born to sell. I was born to "not sell" and I have spent 26 years "not selling" printing, "not selling" copiers and now "not selling" printing AND copiers lol. I worked hard to learn a craft... which is how I view selling, as well as printing. I'm sure when I read your blog, you will remind me of those long days knocking on doors in 1983, 1984, 1985... 2008, 2009, 2010. Yes the basics DO work. Lots of new stuff works too. Glad to join in on your blog. Looking forward to learning, even after 26 years! - Artie "Ink in my blood" Moskowitz
Kelly - Posted on May 06, 2010
I think you just didn't GET Joe Vs. The Volcano - do me a favor and give it another try - it is WAY better than Turner and Hooch! And yes - sales is hard, and that IS what makes it great - but your systematic approach can take some of that hard sting out of it, and get you the payoff that makes it all worth it!
Tom Marin - Posted on May 06, 2010
Hey Bill! Great intro! You had me at "Apocalyypse Now!" Keep up the great work! --Tom Marin