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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."


I Stole Your Customer. Thanks!

Hi there! We haven’t met, but I just wanted to say a quick thanks for giving me the chance to steal your account. You know the one: that large client that you have had for years; the one that’s been financing your extravagant lifestyle. Yeah, that one. It’s mine now. Neener-neener.

As you read this, you’ve probably just left your sales manager’s office where you called me every name in the book. I’d bet you told him I swooped in with my low prices and undercut you. Not true. I’d imagine you added the Oscar-worthy line, “There was nothing I could have done!” Wrong again, Skippy. Finally, you’ve blamed Obama or the economy or Rick Perry’s bad memory for the loss.

In truth, the villain is a guy you know well. You see him every morning in the mirror. Yeah, that’s right. You are responsible for losing this account. You blew it, and I feel badly for you. Wait. I’m over it!

Similar to what it took to get the account, losing the account didn’t happen overnight. It started one day when you hit cruise control and said to yourself, “These people love me!” That thought sends out a signal to guys like me. Oh, how I love complacency in a print sales rep.

What happens next is that you stop doing the things that got you the customer in the first place:
  • You stop bringing them new ideas.
  • You stop thanking them for the patronage.
  • You start taking them for granted.
  • You start assuming that they are yours to lose and that you are bullet proof.

That’s what a guy name Achilles thought just before he went over a wall and took a shot in the heel. His weakness was the same as yours—an assumption of invincibility. How’d that work out for him?

Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda. With the advantage of hindsight, you can now see the things that might have prevented this happy—I mean tragic—event.
  • You coulda been more attentive.
  • You shoulda kept earning their business.
  • That woulda been a good idea and one that might have lead to a different outcome.

But you didn’t, and I am the beneficiary of your ineptitude, jackwagon.

How rude of me. It’s been 364 words since I’ve thanked you: “Thanks again!”

I’ll let you in on a little secret and tell you how I pulled this off...I had been diligently calling your key contact and one day, she picked up. We chatted about this and that and then I dropped my favorite account pick-up line on her: “When is the last time your current print vendor brought you a new idea?”

The silence on the other end of the line told me everything I needed to know: Soon I would be pulling into that vendor’s reserved parking spot. Faster than you can say, “What have they done for you lately?” I had unseated the incumbent printer (that would be you, bonehead).

Look, I’ve got to roll. Just got my commission check from my first order with your, I mean my new customer. Must head down to the BMW dealership and pick up my new ride. Have I said thanks? Ha! Of course I have.

Oh, one more thing: If you need to rebuild your business now that you have a Grand-Canyon-size hole in your sales, you might want to call Bill Farquharson. He’s got this sales training program called “The Sales Challenge.” I hear you can grow your volume back by following his advice. Check it out at

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