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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 Power of Negative Thinking

As a lifelong Optimist, it’s hard to write a blog with this title, but upon further review, perhaps there is something to thinking negatively every now and then.

I’m not suggesting that it’s more beneficial to be Eeyore than it is Tigger. The wonderful thing about Optimism is that Optimism is a wonderful thing. We all like to buy from upbeat, positive people. We like to be around them. We like to meet them and to marry them. But there is a benefit to thinking negatively when it comes to sales.

Case in point:

“What if my presentation is rejected?”
Let’s say you are making a sales call on a customer and you walk in with a proposal to deliver. It’s an excellent idea and a fair price. It’s a win-win, and quite frankly, the client would be crazy not to accept the proposal. Well, apparently they’re nuts because they flatly rejected it without explanation, leaving you staring at them and they at you.

The Optimist has already celebrated and spent the commission check on a new Harley. He sees himself at the top of the leaderboard and is mentally preparing an acceptance speech for being named Salesman of the Year.

And then, depression sets in...

By thinking negatively, this same Optimistic sales rep anticipates this possibility and is prepared with a backup proposal. A Plan B. An old saying in sales goes like this: If you can’t sell someone what they need, sell them what they want. Thinking negatively helps you plan for the worst-case scenario.

“What if I lose my biggest account?”
Customers, these days, are like waves on the ocean. Some are bigger than others. In fact, some of them are massive and you ride each of them like a skilled surfer. However, all waves eventually hit the beach.

The Optimist sees a bountiful future. The negative thinker sees that same vision and asks “What if?”

As a result, the negative thinker never stops prospecting and is constantly thinking about a replacement.

“What if I’m wrong that no one wants to hear from me on a Friday?”
This negative thought exposes one of the biggest assumptions a sales rep can make. We believe Friday afternoons to be a terrible time to make a sales call. No one will pick up, the theory goes, because people really want to start their weekends.

In this case, even the Optimist falls into the trap of missing 100 percent of the shots she never takes. The negative thinker challenges her own assumptions and as a result, makes the connection and gains an appointment.

Eeyore might not make many sales. His demeanor is not likely to turn a lot of heads his way. But there is much to be learned by embracing his sales approach every once in a while: “Oh no. We are doomed.”

Ever the optimist, Bill Farquharson believes fervently that he can drive your sales momentum. Check out his programs, as well as the free sales tips and Short Attention Span Webinars at Or call Bill at (781) 934-7036.

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