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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 Make Five Calls a Day

It’s been frustrating lately. My job, that is. When I told my best friend that I have not been making the number of calls I had hoped to make she replied, “Didn’t you once tell me, ‘Anyone can make five calls a day’?”

Nuts. Yup, that was me alright.

“Well... ?” she added with that, “Put your money where your Consultant mouth is” look that best friends get sometimes.

Okay, so here is my plan:

  1. Make two calls before 9 a.m. each day—This will take some discipline, but if I can commit to it and follow through, 40 percent of my task will be complete before that second cup of coffee hits my brain. This will necessitate that I contact people in my own (eastern) time zone, but that is the only drawback. Even if I did nothing more than this, I’d be worlds ahead. Think about it: Two calls a day times five days a week times four weeks a month. That’s, um, 40 sales calls a month and it’s only 9 a.m.!
  2. Make two more calls before noon—There is typically a break in the action every day before lunch. Nothing I do lasts three straight hours. Even if my morning consists of nothing but coaching calls, there is always a rest built in between them. I can use that time to make two more calls. There is another 40 calls a month before the sun hits its zenith.
  3. Get in just one more call before 5 p.m.—Five hours to make just one phone call? That’s like walking into an empty restaurant and asking if the matré de can squeeze you in.

And there is my five. On paper, it looks rather easy. The trick is to front load the day and not assume that you’ll get to it in the afternoon. Another good idea is to assign time goals. It might even be a good idea to set alarms as reminders or put them right into your daily calendar. Finally, my thought is to keep going past five calls so to build up a reserve. For example if I hit my Monday goal, perhaps I can get in two more before shutting down. That’s two less I need to do later in the week. Given how some days just blow up, it will be comforting to know that I have a cushion.

Now, you might look at this a scoff, “Bill, you have the advantage of not leaving the office. It is much harder when half of your day or more is spent behind the wheel,” and you’d be absolutely right. Maybe your number isn’t five. Perhaps it’s just two or three. Or maybe you invest in one of the mobile phones that I hear so much about with a nice, clear digital signal and get your calls in while sitting in your car prior to or just after a sales call. Whatever. The idea is to make prospecting a priority, create a plan, engage that plan and stick with it.

Five calls a day. Five days a week. Four weeks a month. Total=100 new business calls a month. Oh, and by the way, if you can do five, you can do six. Just sayin’.

Can you hear me now?

Bill Farquharson is a vice president at NAPL. His training programs can drive the sales of print reps and selling owners. Check out his Sales Resources page and contact him at (781)934-7036 or


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