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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 Pretty Girl* Across the Dance Floor

[*Politically Correct Blog Title: The Über Attractive Person Across the Dance Floor]

Back when middle school was known as “junior high school,” many of us attended our first teenage dance. Do you remember? Close your eyes and think about it.

For me, the year was 1972 or so and the place was Pollard Junior High in Needham, MA. Now that a vision of the 13-year-old me has entered my head, I am certain to have nightmares tonight!

Regardless of whether you’re a male or female, you put a lot of thought into what to wear and effort into how you looked. “It’s just a stupid dance,” you told your parents. But you (and they) knew differently.

The night consisted of dorky boys mostly sitting on one side of the gym nervously cracking jokes and making wise-arsed comments and girls in gaggles standing on the other side, whispering to each other and clearly having a much better time. Or so we boys thought.

With the music blaring and the teachers standing off to the side talking to each other, the only kids who were dancing were the ones who were going steady. The evening crept on. It was, for all intents and purposes, the “Dance of the Living Dead” as Rodney Dangerfield would say, and “Stairway to Heaven” couldn’t come fast enough.

Then you saw her—the pretty girl across the dance floor—and everything changed.

In a scene right out of “Wayne’s World”—with Gary Wright's “Dream Weaver” song playing in your head and the girl seeming like she was in the center of a kaleidoscope of colors that spun around her—it felt like every Monarch butterfly in North America had migrated to your stomach instead of Mexico. Or, perhaps it felt like too much Mexican food in your stomach after an “all you can eat” taco night.

Whichever, you were frozen in your seat; just staring at her...terrified...making up 1,000 assumptions that prevented you from so much as locking eyes with her, never mind approaching that vision of loveliness.

That’s what it feels like when you come across a whale. That’s right. A big, beautiful, print-buying whale.

A whale, in the world of sales, is a very, very large company. One that buys a LOT of what you’re selling. Land this sucker and your life will change. Your name will appear at the top of the sales charts and your commission checks will be so large that the teller at the bank will take the time to learn your name instead of just saying, “Hey there. How’s it going?”

Not that it happens to me, of course.

The pretty girl across the dance floor seemed so unapproachable. She was different. She was amazing. Just talking to her would have been a major accomplishment. Going steady with her, well, that would have earned you a seat at the “Cool Table” for sure.

So, too, would landing a whale.

Now that we are older, we look back on those days and know that the pretty girl across the dance floor wasn’t so unapproachable after all. Sure, we were nervous, but we didn’t need to be. She may have been more attractive than the others, but she was not as different as we thought way back when.

We could have just walked over and said, “Hello.” We could have asked her to dance. Even if it took all night and 100 requests, we should have made the effort. She was SO worth it. Yup, hindsight truly is 50-50!

Fade to black.

Of course, we’re much smarter now and we’d never let something like that happen again…Would we? We’d never let an opportunity like that pass—grab the brass ring, go for the gusto—and forever regret not taking a risk. Given the prospect of encountering a life-altering situation, we would make a different choice.

If only we had a second chance….

How’s business? Take “The Sales Challenge” and drive your print sales momentum. A new program starts on the first Wednesday of every month. Go to or call Bill at 781-934-7036.

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