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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."


Tale of 11 Toothbrushes, Purging and Motivation

My day started, but I was in a rut. Coffee failed to provide the spark I needed to be Mr. Motivation and crank out a “Good morning!” that didn’t sound like I was a death row inmate about to take the Green Mile, or a Cubs fan—whichever is worse. I tried taking a walk, but that didn’t do it either. OMG! It wasn’t even 7 a.m. and I was already having a bad day!

Breakfast was next. Then a shower. And as I reached for my toothbrush, I stopped, stunned and puzzled by what I saw: There were 11 toothbrushes in my bathroom. Eleven! I tried to think of 11 people who brushed their teeth at my house and couldn’t. Next, I tried to think of 11 people who brushed their teeth. Nope.

Without hesitation, I threw out all but mine. As they hit the wastebasket, a tiny rush of adrenaline went through my system. I actually felt a tiny little bit better seeing the clean shelf. God, I hate clutter!

After dressing for the day, I went downstairs to my office. Approaching my workspace, I had the same thoughts I’d had whilst considering the excessive inventory of toothbrushes: I HATE CLUTTER!

So, since there was a sizable time gap between that moment and the day’s first coaching call, I decided to go postal on my desk and power purge the unwanted mess. After all, the enthusiasm to be creative just wasn’t there, so what else was there to do?

Now, I am not known for my adherence to the rules of neatness when it comes to my office. More than one person, upon seeing my surroundings, has called 9-1-1 to report a break in. So needless to say, this was quite an undertaking. But armed with a leaf blower and a waste basket big enough to hold Trenton, NJ, I took on the task of determining the color of my desktop.

With each disposal and with every item put back in its proper place, my attitude changed for the better. By the time I was done, I had a to-do list, a clean desk, and the mojo that had evaded me all morning. I was back, baby!

Over my fireplace hangs a sign. It’s the only thing I took from my house in Vermont before selling it. The sign reads, “Simplify” and perfectly encapsulates my 2012 mantra. Coincidently, that sign also correctly states the first step in achieving renewed motivation. All you need to do is throw out your “toothbrushes” and you are on your way.


I don’t know why, but organization leads to motivation. I discovered this odd fact a few years ago when I was at a low point in my job and life.

Over the years, I have given this advice many times and it has never failed me:
  • The first step to getting motivated when you are in a rut is to organize.

You, too, will discover that this simple advice yields a to-do list of action items, a lot less dust and papers on your desk, and 1,000cc of motivation.

Bill offers free sales training through his weekly sales tips and archived “Short Attention Span” Webinars. Go to for more information. Bill can be reached at or by calling 781-934-7036.


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