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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 Read the Wall Street Journal

A sales manager does a double take as he walks by his rep’s cubicle. The rep is leaning back in his chair, feet up on the desk and reading the Wall Street Journal.

It is 8:30 in the morning, the start of prime selling time.

Leaning against the faux wall and trying to control his anger, the manager sarcastically asks, “And what are YOU doing?” To which the rep replies without moving, “Selling.”

He’s right. If a part of selling is identifying prospects, then a daily read of the WSJ is critical. Every day, its pages are filled with ideas and opportunities for companies to call on and industries to seek out.

Say what you want about Rupert Murdoch, the guy hit a home run with what he’s done with this newspaper since purchasing it a few years ago. It is now informative, well-rounded and actually fun to read. Heck, it even talks about sports (Jason Gay is my new favorite writer).

How does prospecting via the Wall Street Journal work? Here is a sampling of the articles I’ve read recently and their impact on a print sales rep:

“Banks Now Able to Sell Life Insurance”—Are there two more boring subjects than banking and life insurance? I’m having trouble even blogging about it without falling asleep. And yet, here is the opportunity that should wake you up: How could a print sales rep help a bank sell more services to its existing customers? Hmm...
  • there’s a mailing angle,
  • a variable data printing opportunity, and
  • maybe even some POP signage that could be done.

•  “Small Liberal Arts Colleges Suffer in Competitive Environment”—Would you rather pay $45,000 for little Johnny to graduate from Whatsamatta U and then tell you he wants to wander Europe and find himself, or pay less than half of that amount for the same outcome?

The opportunity: Help a smaller school to differentiate itself and target the kind of students that are a perfect fit (hint: start with finding parents who get the Bullwinkle reference).

•  “Happy New Year: The Busiest Season for Cosmetic Surgery”—Want to find an opportunity where you are not competing on price? Try this sales call:

“I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that this is your busy season. I’d like to help you to extend that success to become year round. Can we meet to discuss some ideas for expanding your client list?”

Given the fact that each customer is likely to spend quite a bit on money both now and in the future, cosmetic surgeons are equally likely to agree to spending extra to create attractive mailings and literature.

Start by putting a crow bar in your wallet and pulling out $119.08. That’s the cost of a one-year subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Next, get a cup of coffee, sit in your office and put your feet up. That part is essential. With a pad of paper and a pair of scissors handy, you are ready to begin your selling day. Enjoy!

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