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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."


How to Get a Vendor to Do Anything You Ask

Long-time blog readers have seen this statement before: A good vendor is as important as a good customer. A client of mine spoke those words to me almost 25 years ago. I remember being thunderstruck and going around the corner to write it down. On the next reprint of my business cards, I made certain that that phrase appeared at the bottom. It made quite an impression on those who noticed and some outstanding conversations ensued.

A good vendor is a company that you can call on to bail you out or help make you shine in the eyes of your customer. We all like to think we can just pick up the phone and ask for favors from our vendors, and while that may be true some of the time, it can be true all the time if you do one of two things:

1) Always pay invoices promptly.

Don’t you just hate receivables? I do. In my opinion, the best way to say “Thank you!” for a job well done is to put a check in the mail immediately. I do it from my vendors and I appreciate it when it’s done for me. 

What kind of impression does it make on you when a customer who asked you for a rush job then takes you out 60, 75, or 90 days for payment? How likely are you to jump through hoops for that client in the future?

Your vendors think the exact same thing of you. You, too, will have a need for a rush job: bindery work, prepress or some special paper that you need immediately. It is simply good business to pay your bills in a reasonable amount of time. Or sooner. It will not go unnoticed.

2) Don’t ask for something unless you need it.

Do you remember when the word “Rush” meant to expedite an order? Now it appears on so many job tickets that is virtually meaningless. You must have customers who request a rush job every time. Yawn.

Don’t be that guy. Be the customer that calls the vendor requesting a faster-than-normal turnaround time when you need a faster than normal turnaround time. Play that card too often and you will be known as the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Looking back on these two suggestions, you can see a common thread: Courtesy. It’s not complicated, but then, the best things seldom are. A good vendor truly is as important as a good customer. They can make us or break us in a tight situation, so we should do everything that we can to demonstrate the respect that we would want shown to us by our customers.

Oh, and sending a written thank you note wouldn’t hurt either!

Bills sales tips, blog, and Short Attention Span Webinars can be found, all free, at

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