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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 Four Best Messages to Leave in Voice Mail

“No one returns my call.”

I hear that statement daily as sales people try to explain why their sales are down. Yes, in a perfect world all voice-mail messages are returned. But we don’t live in a perfect world—and until Brett Favre stays retired, Jon Stewart becomes president, and the bleacher seats at Fenway return to a buck apiece, we won’t.

That means we need to improve the quality of our calls. To me, that means leaving one of four voice-mail messages:

“I have researched your business and have an idea for helping you to...”

People, Al Gore gave us the Internet for a reason. There is absolutely no excuse for not checking out a prospect prior to picking up the phone. Finding something on the company’s website—ANYTHING—and use that in your message. At bare minimum, this says to the client, “You are not just the next name on some list that I bought.”

“I will either reduce the usage cost of your documents or increase their value.”

This one is a bit more challenging and requires the recipient to ponder what is meant by “usage cost” and “value of the document.” Will you get a call back? Ummmmm, perhaps. But it sure is a memorable message, so maybe the next time you call and the customer looks at his Caller ID, he will remember you and pick up.

“I’m sure you get calls from printers all day long. My differentiators are my ideas and resources.”

Wow. Now that’s putting it out there. At this point in the pursuit, a printer is a printer is a printer. All the client needs to know about your equipment is that it is beige and uses electricity. What makes you different and better is what you make it do to solve customer problems.

“We help our customers to find their customers.”

Touch ’em all. That is a home run voice-mail message. How can you NOT respond to that one?

It is important to understand that voice-mail messages, regardless of how good they are, are very rarely returned. Getting a return call, then, should not be the goal. The goal should be to demonstrate your persistence and professionalism. It’s a tryout. An audition.

Choose your words wisely and carefully, but be aware that the outcome is likely to be the same: “No one returns my call.” The key to success, then, is making one or more additional calls to that same customer.

Hmmmm, now where have you heard that advice before?

Start off 2012 with a commitment to sales. Take Bill’s “Sales Challenge.” Go to for more information, or call Bill at (781) 934-7036.

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