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?”

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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  • Dave

    In order to have a customer perceive you as a " Business Growth Specialist " the company you work for has to be positioned to do so. Most printing companies do not position them selves this way and sooner more than later go out of business because they are stuck back in the Looney Tune days.

  • JoGo

    I agree with you albeit your message contradicts a recent blog from your partner Kelly. Cage fight?

  • Barbara Walter

    I thought I was maybe the only one that remembered Tooter the turtle anymore. Maybe I am just surrounded by colleagues that are too young for Captain Kangaroo.
    Many times I have quietly screamed "Help me Mr. Wizard, I don’t want to be a (insert profession) anymore!!!"

  • mike

    When Is someone going to write a blog post about when its it time to throw in the towel? All I read on this site is: Company X closes, Company X lays off 1000 workers, so on and so forth. Then I read how if salespeople dont succeed it’s their own fault. To Dave’s point below. So many companies out there don’t innovate, ultimately killing motivation, moral, and our paychecks. I would never urge someone to get into this industry, and when my run is over I’ll never sell for another printing company. Sorry to be so negative, but I felt that a little honesty needed to be put out there.

  • Andrea

    The only reason our print shop is still thriving despite the economy, and especially the high cost of doing business int he Northeast, is that we’ve adapted by doing two crucial things. First, we moved some of our subcontract work(large mailings up to 30K pieces) back in house, with the addition of better equipment, thereby keeping outsourcing costs down. Also, we began to "sell" ourselves as growth strategists, promoting variable data, the new USPS EDDM mailing services, and promotional products. One must change with the tides in order to be successful. As a psychology undergrad, I learned the definition of intelligence is adaptability. Still makes a lot of sense today!

  • thefeature

    Tooter the Turtle is he serious? And "become a business growth strategist", If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a hack vp of sales or "consultant" say that I’d be rich. If you can’t sell print why work for a printer. You can go out there and say you are a growth strategist and sell direct mail, VDP, or whatever else you can put through the press and make 10% commission on. And try to persuade your clients that it will increase revenue for your them. As a "growth strategist" it will come time to show the client their ROI on the project and let’s say you knew how to measure ROI and the ROI is low or the campaign doesn’t make any money at all and the client’s online programs have a %350 ROI. Are you prepared for that, do you have the expertise to talk marketing strategy. See it’s more than a new title and a mind set. It didn’t help all the print shops that wanted to be a "marketing services provider" because they didn’t have the expertise in marketing. A leopard can’t change it spots but it can go out educate itself and find another product to service to sell.