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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."


Tooter the Turtle Tries Printing Sales

Much of life has improved since the ’60s when I was growing up. TV has not. Music hasn’t, either, but that’s a subject for a future blog post.

I feel sorry for today’s kids in that they never got to watch first runs of the classics, particularly Looney Toons. Sorry, but Phineas, Ferb and SpongeBob are no substitute for Bugs, Elmer and Sylvester. Got a young one in the house? Pop in “The Barber of Seville” and show him/her what they’ve missed.

One of those classic cartoons was an obscure little show that featured Tooter, a turtle who lived in a shoe and dreamed big. His friend, Mr. Wizard, magically put him in situations so that he could try out different jobs. Tooter was a policeman, a doctor and a fireman, each time getting himself into enough trouble that he had to be bailed out, and back into his shoe he’d go.

One career path Tooter never pursued was that of being a print sales rep. What’s up with that? I wonder...if he’d express a desire for such a life if the show was brought back. He’d surely have had an easier time of it back then.

The ’60s were the golden age of quick printing. All it took was a big, smelly machine and a shop located in the busy section of town. There was little competition; the concept of making two copies out of one original was as amazing as the first time you saw a Polaroid picture develop (Under 30? Google it.), and printing was actually profitable (In printing today? Google profitable.). Selling was derived from developing relationships, and relationships with clients were lifelong and loyal.

[Insert childhood flashback here.]

These days, you are as good as the last job you shipped in. Customers have more communication options to choose from than ever. Getting a client/prospect on the phone is statistically more difficult than winning Megabucks, what with voice mail and caller ID. Price is king; and you often hear, “You are the fourth person to call me today. What makes you different?”

“Oh, Mr. Wizard, I don’t wanna be a print salesman!

Too bad. If Tooter only realized that while print is not dead, merely “selling print” is. Today, in order to succeed, you need to see yourself as a Business Growth Strategist. Ask not, “Do you have anything I can quote on.” Instead ask, “How can I help you to grow your business?” See yourself in that light and understand the difference in those two approaches and your world goes from black-and-white to living color.

That is, unless you want to end up living in a shoe.

Need sales? Check out Bill’s “Sales Challenge” at or contact him at (781) 934-7036.

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