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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 Internal Sale

The sales rep was faced with a challenge.

The negotiations with the customer had broken down and there was frustration on both sides. It appeared that they were at an impasse and a third-party would have to be brought in to mitigate a solution. Fortunately, they both worked for the same person.

At the same company!

As hard as it is to land an appointment and receive an order from an outside customer, salespeople often find themselves to be up against an equally challenging internal sale to the Estimator, Production Manager, or the Bindery Department. Woe is the sales rep who develops an unsavory reputation amongst his or her coworkers. Production has its favorites and if it comes down to your rush job going on press or another reps’, you’d better hope that you are the favored child.

My older brother, Andy, is a personable and talented salesperson. His customers think very highly of him, as do I. But he also has the respect of his fellow employees, a respect earned from years of outstanding internal sales. Customer compliments are shared with everyone who had anything to do with the job. Andy says, “Thank you” a lot and it is remembered. Being a good guy goes a long way.

Years ago, I visited a printer in Austin, Texas (AusTex Printing) and the owner took me for a plant tour. Along the way he greeted every employee in their native tongue, asked about their children, laughed over an inside joke, and shook hands like he was running for office. It was quite a display and it made a huge impression on me (as did the story he told me in his lobby at the top of his lungs—as any good Texan would—that had me laughing so hard I had to leave the building).

Both of these gentlemen understand the value of selling to the internal customer, paying simple respect to those who ultimately make or break them, and are smart enough to know that they are only as good as the people who fulfill their promises.

For the cost of a thank you note or a quick inquiry into the well-being of those around you, you can win the favor of this most important customer. Or, you can continue to believe that, as one salesperson told me recently, “This place would fall down if it weren’t for me.”

Good luck with that next rush job.

Weekly Sales Tips, free Short Attention Span Webinars, and sales training material can be found at Bill can be reached at 781-934-7036 or

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