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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 ‘Print Is Dead’ Objection

If you Google the question, “What percentage of e-mail is spam?” the answers range from a minimum of 88 percent to a high water mark of 94 percent. That is incredible when you think about it. I don’t have a grasp on the number of e-mails that I receive, but I know that when I come in to the office in the morning, there are typically 30 e-mails waiting for me and only 4 or 5 avoid my filter.

A few hours later, I head to the Duxbury, MA, post office and check my P.O. box. Increasingly, it’s spectacularly unencumbered by mail. That’s nice because I hate to see trees die unnecessarily. Gone are the solicitations and colored postcards. Only an occasional paper bill and a check, the local weekly newspaper, and a handwritten letter from my mom and dad remain. Makes for light work and provides no strain on my motorcycle’s saddle bags.

Perhaps one more stop while I’m out and then it’s back to the office where I sit down at my computer and find that while I was gone, 11 more e-mails came in, only one of which is personal. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. And now I am ready for work. Annoyed, but ready for work.

It’s funny to think about what has happened. Our clients have decided to stop mailing. A common objection now is, “Print is dead. We are putting everything on the Web.“ In theory, that works. I mean, if you don’t print and you don’t mail, you’ll save a bundle.


How are people going to find out about your website? Through Facebook? Seriously? Are customers delusional enough to think that their companies are so fascinating that customers are waiting on their every Tweet?

Oh, I see. They are planning to use broadcast e-mail. Perfect! Constant Contact is a wonderful company. I use it myself, in fact. But the definition of SPAM is unrequested e-mail communication and those companies have, at best, an 88 percent chance that the customer is not going to see their e-mails.

Meanwhile, across town, the mailbox is empty. Hmmmmmm…

In the rush to save money and cut costs, companies are instead cutting ties and lifelines with prospects and customers. Print is an integral part of any social media campaign. Mailings drive traffic to websites. Variable data leverages the specifics gathered in the “Contact Us“ process and delivers information that is relevant.

Print is dead? Not to those who seek to differentiate. Not to those who want to find an underutilized and spacious medium, one that is uncluttered and familiar. Before all of the lemmings jump off of the cliff, let’s remind our customers where print fits. Just don’t put the message in an e-mail.

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