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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."


Printers and Other Nonprofits


Is it worth calling on a nonprofit? I go back and forth on this subject.

Nonprofits spend money but their frugal and often quirky ways tests the patience of their vendors.Years ago, I sold a job to the American Red Cross in Framingham, MA and then got a letter from their president asking me to return all profit made on the job as a gesture of goodwill. This after putting me through the ringer and sending my idea out to bid. A different gesture came to mind and I politely declined.

I think that experience soured me but I’m willing to open my closed mind and have another look, if only for 415 words:

The case for “No!”

  • They are, by definition, in the business of squeezing every dime of profit out of a purchase.
  • They get multiple bids on every job and are more price conscious than the average bear.
  • They have a reputation for being data-strong but data-unorganized. That is, they often have good mailing lists but those lists are not up to date and often inaccurate.

The case for “Yes!”

  • In every problem, there is an opportunity: There is money to be made by working with a nonprofit to help them straighten out that bad list.
  • Nonprofits are typically tied to other nonprofits. Do a good job with one and you have a networking opportunity.
  • Nonprofits are also unusually loyal. Despite their “three bid mentality,” nonprofits will stick with the company who can prove their worth and deliver results.
  • Another nice thing about nonprofits, as Kelly Mallozzi and I have noted in a recent Short Attention Span Webinar, is that nonprofits that have ties with local companies will give you access to those firms that you would not ordinarily receive. Company decisions on whom to support are made at the top. Get involved with a charity and you’ve got a good shot at reaching that C Level decision maker.

I’m not sure if four bullets in favor and three against will change my mind, so I’ll let you decide for yourself. They sure do use a lot of print. If you can put up with their idiosyncrasies, perhaps they are worth the pursuit.

Check out Bill’s sales training programs, as well as his free video sales tips and Short Attention Span Webinars at or call Bill at (781) 934-7036 for more information on how he can help you drive your sales.

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