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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 Sales of the Walking Dead


If I asked you to name your top 10 customers, you’d likely do it from memory. If I continued and asked the same question about prospects, it might take you a little longer but I’d guess you’d be able to come up with them eventually.

But if I asked about your Dead Leads Pool (DLP), you’d probably have a more difficult time and scrunch up your face as if you were doing long division in your head.

The DLP is equally as important as the other two business sources, it just doesn’t have the glamour. Maybe it needs a PR Department’s help to make a name for itself.

The Dead Leads Pool is just that, a pool made up of leads from companies that you have approached but never connected with and are, thus, dead. There might also be a few companies that you did talk to but never got anything from, not even an appointment. But so long as you still have a good feeling about them (i.e., they are a good fit for you), they belong to the pool and not the trash.


Because they have value in as much as you have built name equity. So long as you have made a consistent effort (read: more than three attempts—voice mail, stop by, letter, etc.), they qualify.

But back up a second. What is “name equity?” Ever watch a football game on Sunday? In amongst the 500 commercials per hour are dozens of ads for cars and trucks. Can everyone who watches football be in the market for a new vehicle? Of course not. Detroit, I mean, Japan is simply interested in keeping their model top of mind so that when old Bessie bites the big one you will remember them. It’s called advertising (yes, you heard it here first!). Prospecting, done correctly, has the same qualities. Make just one sales call and it’s like DVR’ing (is that an adjective?) through an ad. Make a series of calls and now you’ve got something: name equity.

Your future business will come from three sources:

  1. Top 10 customers—Duh.
  2. Top 10 prospects—Duh-er.
  3. The Dead Leads Pool

Make it your goal to maintain between 50 and 75 names in your DLP (although 125+ would be awesome!). Managers, include this third piece in with your top 10/top 10 sales meetings. While that conversation is typically as much fun as going to a German comedy club, it is just as important as the other two.

Bill Farquharson is a vice president at NAPL. His training programs can drive the sales of print reps and selling owners. Check out his Sales Resources page and contact him at (781) 934-7036 or

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