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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."


Dream Big. No, Bigger Than That!

There is a meeting that all sales reps dread.

It’s the one where somewhat delusional sales managers pull out their Ouija Boards and come up with new sales goals for the coming year. A good sales year is typically “rewarded” with a manager thinking that another 10 to 20 precent growth is possible, and the sales rep leaves the meeting with an eye twitch and various muscle spasms.

A great sales year creates the risk of the manager thinking something REALLY crazy—something like doubling your business—is possible.

Twenty percent year-to-year growth is one thing, but what if you were asked to double your sales in 2013?

[Insert laughter here.]

I posed this question to a coaching client recently. She has seen spectacular sales growth amongst her sales team over the last year and the group now routinely sells double what was sold this time last year. Can you imagine?

But wait. Is there more?

Since it costs nothing to dream, I asked her to dream big and tell me how she would increase her sales big time. She started giving me the typical, “We’ll just keep doing what we are doing, but just do more of it” answer. I stopped her and said that I wanted the dream to be ridiculously big and ponder what it would take to double her sales again in 12 months. Can you imagine?


More silence.

Testing…Testing…Is this thing on?

What followed was an interesting conversation, albeit one that started slowly. We tackled the question from every angle. Since what she was doing now wasn’t broken, we first decided not to break it and simply add more sales team members. Good answer, but not a great answer. If we are going to double her sales again, it will take a great answer and not just a good one.

So, we took the opposite approach: We broke it.

“It” being the current business model.

We thought about stripping apart the way her team sold now and reshaping it from the ground up. We threw out conventional wisdom and a traditional approach, and reinvented the sales wheel.
  • What if we...?
  • Or could we...?
  • Do you think it is an option to...?
  • This might sound nuts, but...

Suddenly, the floodgates opened and ideas started gushing faster than we could write them down. Some were far-fetched. Others weren’t even in the same zip code as far-fetched. But who cares? Again, it costs nothing to dream.

Thinking big—ridiculously big—has an interesting upside: If you aim too high and fall short, you have still accomplished something extraordinary. Worst case scenario for my client is what? The company will only grow 50 percent next year? Yeah, that would suck.

All it takes to dream big is a pad of paper and a pen and a quiet place to think. No cell phones or emails are allowed. What it takes to dream big is to forget what it took to get you here and think about what it will take to get you there. What it takes to dream big is a big imagination, crazy ideas, and the elimination of the belief that you can’t do it or that the goal is unachievable.

After all, it is far better to set the bar too high and miss it than it is to set the bar too low and make it.

Can you imagine?

Bill has resources that range from free (archived “Sales Tips” and “Short Attention Span Webinars”) to economical (“The Sales Challenge” and the new “Tuesday eWorkshops”). Go to for more information, or contact Bill at 781-934-7036 or

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