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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."


Old School's Friendly Skies

Years ago (I’m guessing it was mid 80’s), there was a brilliantly simple television ad put out by United Airlines. I looked for it on YouTube but couldn’t find it. Sorry.

A group of salespeople—probably 30 in all—lingered in a conference room, waiting for the boss and wondering what was going on.

Enter the boss.

“We just got fired by one of our oldest clients,” he states as he enters the room. “He said he didn’t know us anymore.”

If I could’ve found the actual ad, this next part would’ve been the exact script, but since I couldn’t, my recollection of what I think he said will have to suffice:

“We make phone calls. We send faxes. If the name of efficiency, we use technology where we used to do things face-to-face. We’ve lost the personal touch.”

He continued...“But that’s going to change.”

And with that, plane tickets are handed out.

“We are going to go visit every single customer that we have.”

“But, Tom,” someone comments, “that’s over 120 cities.”

“I know,” the boss calmly replies, “but it’s important.”

As a voiceover actor says a few words about United Airlines’ extensive flying network, the camera shows someone handing the boss a ticket as well.

“Where you going, Tom?” the boss is asked.

“To go visit that client we lost,” he replies.

Remember, this was 25 years ago. There was no mention of e-mails, voicemails, or texting, because none of that existed. This fictitional character’s words hold even more truth today.

There is no substitute for the benefits of a personal visit. We might not get as much face time with our customers, but Facetime (videoconferencing, for you poor non-Apple types) is not an acceptable alternative.

Get out there on a regular basis and visit your customers before you lose them to someone who is.

Fade to black.

Check out Bill Farquharson’s free sales tips and weekly Short Attention Span Webinars at or call Bill at (781) 934-7036.

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