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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."


Why Aren’t You Selling More? The Top Five Answers

I love that question. In fact, I even own the URLs and even though I have no idea what to do with either of them! But with every sales seminar I give, that question is raised at some point or another. Ofttimes, in fact, I will fly in to give a two- or three-hour gig and have no slides or PowerPoint file, just a pad of paper, a pen and those five words.

The answers are almost predictable. Having asked it hundreds of times, I know what’s coming. Sometimes I even mouth along as the attendee speaks (though the guy in Iowa who yelled, “I would, but I go to too many danged seminars!” took me by surprise).

So, picture this: Your company hires Bill Farquharson to be its sales manager (good move, btw) and I come stomping in to that first sales meeting and bellow out the question.

What would you say when it was your turn to talk? Take a moment to jot down a few answers. When you are done, continue reading and I will share with you the top five answers that I have heard over the years.

Ready? Go...

Okay, welcome back. How’d you do against the following:

1. “Other than, ‘Who does your buying?,’ I don’t know what to say when I call!”

2. “I’d sell more if I had better prices!”

3. “I can’t seem to find the time to sell, given all that I have to do around here!”

4. “I’m really not sure what kinds of companies to call on!”

5. “I can’t get anyone to call me back!”

Look familiar? Perhaps all five ring true. These answers are actually numbered in order of their commonness. Voice mail continues to be the single biggest issue sales people face in trying to build new business. It seems that the chances of a voice mail message being returned are only slightly better than Lady Gaga’s odds of getting invited back to a Mets’ game.

The good news is that none of these top five answers are new. That means someone else has already solved them. The sales challenge (pun intended), then, is to learn from others who have gone before you.

The key is to dump your myopic thinking and consider new solutions. It’s amazing how that round peg just doesn’t ever seem to fit in that square hole, yet we keep trying to hammer it home time and time again.

I’ve been in business for myself since I was 25. The part that I love the best (other than my 25 year streak of being employee of the month) is the problem-solving. You need to awaken your Inner Entrepreneur and bring new solutions to your sales inhibitors. Don’t simply do more. Do different. Trying harder is important, but trying new is, too.

I’ll continue to chip away at the answers and explain why I think you aren’t selling more. For your part, try improving the quality of your sales calls. Price is important, but the solutions sale lives on regardless of price. That’s where the money is.

The next Sales Challenge is July 1 at noon ET. Go to for more information or call Bill Farquharson at 781-934-7036.

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