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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."


Print Services or Promo Products - Which Are Harder to Sell?

I am flummoxed. I am frustrated, too. Last week, I quit blogging for Printing Impressions’ sister publication, Promo Marketing. This fine publication speaks to those who sell promotional products. I had been sharing some thoughts on how to grow sales in general, as well as why selling print was a good option for them.


Granted, that magazine’s readership is less than half of this one’s. But when it comes to conversation, the silence was deafening and I don’t understand why.

Blogging, in general, can often feel like you are shouting into the abyss. You’re not always certain that someone is reading you, based on the frequent lack of Comments posted in reply. But this little venture was particularly quiet and it’s got me thinking:

Is it harder for a promotional products salesperson to sell print or vice versa?

Either way, at the center of the sale is the relationship with the customer. You’d think that once you’ve sold yourself and have built a rapport with someone that you should be able to sell them anything. That’s how it works on paper anyway.

So why then is it so difficult for a promotional products sales person to sell print? Companies that sell to the trade, such as, offer some excellent online educational resources to draw upon. Free!

And while I’m on the subject, if you sell print, why in the world are you NOT selling promotional products? You, too, have the relationship already built and I believe you are the vastly superior salesperson compared with what would be your new competition. How tough is it to ask your contacts what else they buy or whom at their company might by the tchotchkes (a word that I’ve come to learn promotional products people hate)?

Well, a significant part of my 2012 business plan has failed, so I need to go and retool. Give that question from three paragraphs ago some thought and let me know what you think. In the meantime, you print salespeople should go over to the Promo Marketing site and see just how easy it is to increase your sales by expanding your product offerings.

Bill’s “Sales Challenge” program starts up again this week. Go to for more information or call Bill at 781–934–7036.

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