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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."


See Kati Fly. Fly, Kati, Fly!

I love people who love what they do. I love watching Dustin Pedroia play second base. I love that scene in “Field of Dreams” in which Ray Liotta’s character says, “I’d have done it for nuthin!” Those who are blessed with passion and a love for their jobs make everything better and infect those around them. It’s a cocktail whose recipe is free to anyone who wants it. Free!

Ever walked into an Apple Store? There is something special going on there; something you need to know about if you work for a living and, especially, if your signature goes on the front of the check. It’s as if those people have been dipped in something that coats them with optimism and happiness.

I know one of them. Her name is Kati, and I’ve seen firsthand what happens when a girl who does not share her father’s self-confidence marinates in an environment of enthusiasm, passion and praise. You see, Kati is my oldest daughter and she can fly.

Yes, my daughter can fly. I’ve seen it, and since I am in sales and therefore never lie, you can trust me on this one. Kathryn Jane Farquharson, age 21, has taken wing and her feet have left the ground. You can see her at a Macy’s Day Parade near you. Or, you can drive to Braintree, MA, and see it for yourself.

Kati works for Apple. Though just a technician (or Family Room Specialist, as Apple calls them) at the Genius Bar of a retail store south of Boston, I know of no one anywhere who loves her job more than Kati. No one! Anywhere!

Every working day for the past 2-1/2 years of underpaid employment, I’ve received a text or a phone call in which she raves about what happened that day and tells me how much she loves what she does. I’m not exaggerating!

A little over a week ago, Kati’s boss pulled her aside as she was preparing to leave work. It seems my daughter has the highest “net promoter” score not only in her store, but in the entire region, meaning she got lots of positive feedback for her customer training. He praised her for the passion she brings to her job each day. He praised her for her positive attitude. He praised her for the effect her passion has on those around her. And with each positive comment, Kati filled up like a helium balloon until she floated around the store.

Wait a minute. Did you catch that word I used a while ago: underpaid? I won’t tell you how much she makes, but believe me, Apple isn’t sharing its record profits with these front-line workers. So, how can someone who barely scrapes by wake up every morning with a “can’t wait to get to work” feeling on her mind? Aren’t we supposed to be chasing the almighty dollar?

Well, sure, Kati is living in a material world and, believe me, she is a material girl. But there is more to it than that, and Apple has figured it out. The company has figured out another form of payment, summed up in another word used in this blog: Praise.

Praise is free. It’s free to give and it’s freeing to receive. Make it genuine and effusive and plentiful, and you can create an Apple-like environment.
  • Did a pressman stay late for you? Praise!
  • Did the bindery go above and beyond? Praise!
  • Did the delivery guy battle a snowstorm to deliver your job? Praise!
  • Did a new rep sell her first order? Praise!

Write a note. Send an email. Shake a hand. Kiss a baby. The effect that your praise will have might not be permanent and will definitely need renewing, but if you want the witnessed behavior to continue, you’d best heed my advice.

Praise is to Kati what a phone booth is to Clark Kent. I think of it every time I look at the gift she gave me for my MacBook Air. Who can you make fly?

Superman Apple case

Need some help with your sales or just a lift to your spirit? Check out the free tips and “Short Attention Span” Webinars Bill has to offer at

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