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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."


The 24 Hour Time Management Test

Being a sales trainer is a lot like being a psychiatrist. Once people find out what you do, they suddenly feel the urge to spill their guts and tell you all of their problems and challenges. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m just saying...

Case in point: I was on a plane to Toronto last week. Sitting next to me was a nice-enough woman and we got talking about the usual stuff: What do you do for work? Where are you from? Wouldn’t Derek Jeter look great in a Red Sox uniform?

When she found out I was a sales trainer, she reached into her purse and handed over the $20 co-pay, reclined her seat, and began spewing. Out it came: The economy. Her boss. Nasty customers. Ruthless competition. And on and on.

It was a short flight and there was already a line forming in the aisle as others wanted in on the free advice, so I cut to the chase and asked, “What is your biggest sales challenge?” Out it came, as expected: “Time management.” Yup, that’s the number one answer.

Turns out she was on the same flight back, so we decided to do a little experiment. I gave her one task to accomplish and promised that if she did nothing other than that, 75 percent of her time management issues would disappear. We’d check in again on the 5 p.m. return flight the following night and see how she did.

Here’s what I told her:

“Before you quit for the day, make a list of everything you need to accomplish tomorrow. There are several things to consider: appointments, phone calls and other to-dos. In addition, give some thought to anything in your personal life that might appear on your radar. What you are left with is a plan for the day.”

So, I gave her that assignment. It was a 24 hour time management test. How’d it turn out?

She and I reconvened on the 5p.m. to Boston. Her words:

“WOW! What a difference. First of all, I felt great having emptied the contents of my head. I was able to relax since I wasn’t worried about what needed to get done. There it was, all laid out in front of me. I knew what to expect from the day ahead—whom I needed to call and what I needed to do. It made for a great night!

“Then, when I got up the next morning, I engaged my plan. The preparation I did the day before meant that I wasn’t sitting around for a half hour trying to figure out what to do first. As the day wore on, I referred to my list and checked off each action item. Sure, a couple of things hit the fan and changes had to be made, but it was a breeze in comparison to my usual fire drill.”

One simple act made all the difference: Never leave today without having tomorrow planned. Engage this practice daily and the vast majority of your time management issues will evaporate. There is more to be covered on this subject—prioritizing, planning, review and crazy busy tactics...but people are waiting and I’m on a tight schedule.


Check out Bill’s upcoming Webinar with fellow PI World blogger Kelly Mallozzi called “How to Create a Prospecting Plan.” Go to for more information.


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