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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."


Every Interaction is a Selling Situation

The best book on sales, hands down, has nothing to do with sales. It was written in the 1930s by Dale Carnagie, and every successful sales rep I know has not only read it once, they’ve read it multiple times. It is called, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

When I was 14, my mother handed me a copy in response to my complaints that I could not relate to my parents’ friends. Naturally, I used it to meet girls and was, um, the top salesman in my high school class. Moving on...

“You can get what you want when you figure out what the other guy wants and help him to get it.” That right there is the premise of the book. It’s not about you. No one cares about printing but you, Printing Impressions and Gutenberg (but not Project Gutenberg!).

Printing keeps you up at night, not your customers and prospects. If you can figure out what causes them to toss and turn and solve that problem, you will earn print business. Get it?

But wait, there’s more!

Mr. Caragie’s mantra works elsewhere, too. Where? Well, just about everywhere!

Sales/management relationships.—An overbearing boss is not letting a sales rep sell. The sales rep needs to see this as a selling situation and figure out what the boss wants (in this case, the knowledge that the rep is doing the job) in order to get what he wants (for the boss to back off). Result: Rep starts sending unsolicited e-mail updates. Satisfied boss moves on to something else, and rep can now focus on sales.

Dealing with a customer-service agent.—Let’s say you want to return something that is beyond the return date. Sure, you could argue about what a good and loyal customer you are. But seeing this as a selling opportunity, you see that what the agent wants is respect, honesty and a reasonable request. Taking that approach has a better outcome.

Family.—A teenager complains that she is not being treated fairly and an argument is brewing. Wait, there’s a teenager involved? OK, bad example.

Negotiating with a builder.—You want to pay a fair price for a job. The builder wants the work. BUT, he also wants your referrals. Knowing that (and working it into the conversation), your chances of getting great work on top of a great price skyrocket!

It’s not about you.
In almost any situation, remembering these four words and then rethinking the situation through someone else’s perspective—while keeping in mind what his/her wants are—will help you to close the deal. Unless it’s a teenager, and then all bets are off.

Bill Farquharson, father of two teenagers, has posted several 10-minute, print-sales-specific webinars at
for viewing at any time.

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