How to Read the Wall Street Journal

A sales manager does a double take as he walks by his rep’s cubicle. The rep is leaning back in his chair, feet up on the desk and reading the Wall Street Journal.

It is 8:30 in the morning, the start of prime selling time.

Leaning against the faux wall and trying to control his anger, the manager sarcastically asks, “And what are YOU doing?” To which the rep replies without moving, “Selling.”

He’s right. If a part of selling is identifying prospects, then a daily read of the WSJ is critical. Every day, its pages are filled with ideas and opportunities for companies to call on and industries to seek out.

Say what you want about Rupert Murdoch, the guy hit a home run with what he’s done with this newspaper since purchasing it a few years ago. It is now informative, well-rounded and actually fun to read. Heck, it even talks about sports (Jason Gay is my new favorite writer).

How does prospecting via the Wall Street Journal work? Here is a sampling of the articles I’ve read recently and their impact on a print sales rep:

“Banks Now Able to Sell Life Insurance”—Are there two more boring subjects than banking and life insurance? I’m having trouble even blogging about it without falling asleep. And yet, here is the opportunity that should wake you up: How could a print sales rep help a bank sell more services to its existing customers? Hmm…

  • there’s a mailing angle,
  • a variable data printing opportunity, and
  • maybe even some POP signage that could be done.

“Small Liberal Arts Colleges Suffer in Competitive Environment”—Would you rather pay $45,000 for little Johnny to graduate from Whatsamatta U and then tell you he wants to wander Europe and find himself, or pay less than half of that amount for the same outcome?

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."
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  • tweetmwj

    Go on ebay and score a sub for much much less than $119.08 – I got my 1 yr sub for less than $50 thru ebay. And yes – Bill is spot on with this one – plenty ‘o ideas to get in the pipeline.

  • marc zazeela

    Thanks Bill. This rings so true. All forms of mass media offer all kinds of opportunities to score good leads. I think any sales manager who questions the value of research should be thrown back into the pond!


  • KendallPress

    another rebuke of those who say print is going away. Print is changing, just like its customers are changing in their communications expectations. Printing customized tires. How cool is that?

  • KendallPress

    OK – if you can figure out my previous posting below- more power to you! So Bill, I got SO distracted by your Wall Street Journal example that I responded to a prior PI world column I read.
    You can see details here in my other tweet

    But more on-topic, I remember, not very long ago, an old fashioned senior manager walking around a bull pen demanding to hear phone calls for a tele blitz and was bewildered by sales reps reading the WSJ and keystroking furiously into search engines. Any way you cut it, research and knowledge is a key step prior to any outreach.