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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 Myth of Working on the Road

This blog entry begins from an insanely cheap motel where “dogs and horses are welcome!” I’d imagine more than one country western song was penned about this place and perhaps even from this place. It is a little after 4 a.m. as I try to stay on East Coast time (a little readjustment trick I learned years ago). This is Day Five of a six day trip. Oh, Mr. Wizard, get me out of here!

Anyone who says, “Oh, you’re so lucky you get to travel” doesn’t travel. Sure, the trips to Hawaii are fun and speaking engagements in Sydney have yet to be turned down, but getting there requires this 6’ 6” frame to be shoehorned into a seat and then Jaws of Life’d out. There’s the food, mostly brown, and the sad long-distance phone calls, not to mention the text message requests for money from the kids, one of whom didn’t notice I was gone. Nice to be missed.

And then there is working from the road.

All road warriors will tell you that we leave home with good intentions: “I’m going to bring this project on my trip and work on it in my hotel room.” We hope to make sales calls in those spare moments but finding a quiet place and the motivation to pick up the phone is more of a challenge than usual.

Everything is different out here. The rules of sales and time management do not work. Even the stress felt is not the same. Perhaps I just need to reset my expectations and think differently.

In theory, this is my last trip for the year. There is some comfort in that. The trip itself was great: eventful, fun, and did some good business. Even went for a boat ride on Lake Michigan. The downside is that I got no selling in and that has me frustrated.

Is working from the road a myth or an acquired skill? If myth, fine. I’ll readjust my plans and to do list. If acquired skill, I suppose that requires me to be on the road a lot in order to acquire it. No thanks.

My bottom line is that you strive for survival on the road. The hope should be that you keep up with e-mails, expect no new sales calls to be initiated while traveling, and pray for something green to appear on your plate. They say it takes one day to recover from a trip for every one day you are away. I agree. If I can keep up and stay sane while on the road, my chances of shortening that and returning to “sales calling machine” faster increase exponentially.

Off to find a real cup of coffee and wire the kids money.

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