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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."


Good News: Your Client Just Closed

It might be a stretch, but one of the best things to happen to a printing sales rep occurs when a long-standing client closes, is bought out, or moves out of town.

In the short run, it’s a real kick in the knees but if you are prepared for it, Lady Luck could not have better news for you to hear. Again, this is only good news if you are prepared for it to happen.

What if I told you that within 30 days a client which currently makes up, say, 30 percent of your business is about to skip town for cheaper real estate out west or down south?  What would you do? Well, if you are like most of us, you’d follow a simple two step plan:

Step One—Cry like a little girl
Step Two—Crawl into the fetal position for a day or two and then repeat step one

After that, though, you might see the silver lining to all of this and realize that there is a HUGE upside. Namely, you have the opportunity to end up with two, three, or even ten times as much business as a result.

Now how do you feel about the situation?

This exact situation occurred to me years ago when a company in Bedford, MA, called Fisons moved to Rochester, NY. Fisons was by far my largest client and I was crushed when the news came. I consoled myself by believing that we could still do business despite the distance. Yah. Right.

That fantasy lasted about a week. Next came the aforementioned crying along with teeth-gnashing of biblical proportion. But while sitting with the buyer, she mentioned that she’d landed a job at another company and wanted me to know that we’d still be working together. That company was on my prospect list and I’d had no luck getting in the door.

Until now.

Others, too, found jobs locally and the list of new clients I picked up grew like crazy: Lotus, Harvard Secondary School, Baxter Travenol, Technomed, and on and on.

It took me a while, but eventually I was doing four times as much work thanks to what originally looked like a disaster.

The key was that I was prepared.


By having fanned out within my account and having multiple sources of contacts. I knew practically everyone at the company and they knew me. When they left, I stayed in touch and voilà. I was in like the cat at night.

Companies close and move or are bought out without consulting the print sales rep. Sad, but true. Play your cards right and bad news can turn into gold.

Start preparing today for this very likely possibility.

Need help with sales? Bill Farquharson’s new training DVD, The Challenges of the Selling Owner is now on sale along with six other titles at

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