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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."


This is Your Sales Pitch? Seriously?

I received an e-mail from a sales rep last Thursday that has really set me off and I am seeking your advice on how to respond.

I hold a total of six life and disability policies with Northwestern Mutual and have done business with “The Quiet Company” since 1980. In that time, I have gone through a number of sales people. The latest, Mike, sent me the following e-mail:


Do you want to review your NML policies?



I’ve never met him. This is the first time I’ve heard from him. Most people would either delete it or ignore it. But I am a sales trainer, hear me roar. I can’t just let this go as much as I’d like to. An injustice has occurred in the sales world and it is my duty to defend on its behalf.

Honestly, I am insulted and angry on a number of levels. THAT’S THE BEST YOU CAN DO? Is the economy in his world different from the one in mine? Are people lined up to do business with this guy to the point where I should be thankful to have gotten 11 words out of him? Am I not big enough to have received the courtesy of a better pitch?

Like my father before me, I am hot-headed and have a temper. I react before I think. I talk before my brain can stop me. My knee-jerk reaction to this e-mail involves wanting to take a knee to this jerk. Is he kidding?

I have a bad habit of rewriting sales people’s solicitation e-mails and sending them back as a way of offering free advice. Not. Always. Well. Received. In this case, I’d write: “Good day, Mr. Farquharson. My name is Mike and I am your new sales rep. I am contacting you today not only to introduce myself but also to ask if we could find a time to talk. It’s been some time since your various life and disability policies have been reviewed and I think you might find it worth the time to discuss how your needs have changed and how Northwestern Mutual’s products can help you meet your financial goals. I will call you during the week of...Mike”

Mike? What do I do with you?

That’s where you come in. I’ve replied already with a short, “I’ll get back to you” but, what do you suggest I say to him? Do I let it go? Do I take him to task? Am I over reacting due to too much time in the Florida sun?

Let me give you some choices:
A. Bill, you should delete, ignore, and get help for your sales anger
B. Bill, you are right to be upset. Go ahead and correct him.
C. Bill, I have a better idea. You should...

What say you, PI World readership?

Sign up for Bill’s free weekly video sales tips at or contact Bill at (781) 934-7036 or

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