Promo Marketing

You will be automatically redirected to promomarketing in 20 seconds.
Skip this advertisement.

Bill Farquharson

The Sales Challenge

By Bill Farquharson

About Bill

Bill Farquharson, president of Aspire For, will help drive your sales through his tips, ideas, wit and wisdom.

Million Dollar Mindset with Greg Muzzillo

Greg Muzzillo
'Can't' Is a Four-letter Word
Oct 5, 2015

Most of us learned the four-letter words we shouldn’t say when we were in school. We heard the words in...

Ask the Accountant

Harriet Gatter
Do I Have to Collect Sales Tax for Out-of-state Sales?
Oct 2, 2015

Question: Do I have to collect sales tax for out-of-state sales? It depends, and it's complicated. State governments would like...

Jeff's Rant

Jeff Solomon, MAS
What Can We Learn from The Artist Formerly Known as Prince?
Oct 1, 2015

Since I recently wrote a commentary titled 'Are You Too Old To Rock,' I thought I would share another thought from the...

Kiwi's Coaching Corner

Paul  Kiewiet
So What's Holding You Back?
Sep 24, 2015

Are you afraid to fail? Or are you afraid to get started because you might fail? The late TV preacher...

Lights, Camera, Promotion!

Brittany Hahn
The Mayor of Funkytown
Sep 23, 2015

Each Power Box has its own personality. Power Box 1 is really into dubstep music. He raves hard all weekend long. On...

Not So Technically Speaking

Dale Denham
Think About What You Just Did
Sep 22, 2015

My son did something wrong, and I want him to learn so he doesn't repeat the same mistake. I hear...

Guest Blogs

Guest Contributor
Ask the Accountant
Jul 24, 2015

Question: I am starting out as an ad specialty distributor. Is it better to set up my books on a...

Selling Smarter

Rosalie Marcus
Gotta Love These Supplier Best Practices
Sep 1, 2015

I’ve been in the promotional products industry for more than 25 years, both selling products and programs, and coaching and...

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Memorable

Rick Greene, MAS
A Cycle Of Engagement
Jun 10, 2015

In 2015, the journey of the promotional products professional in shifting prospects to clients is more challenging than ever. With...

Beyond Words

Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+
Swing All the Way Through
Apr 20, 2015

From time to time, I’ve written about a situation involving one of my kids, and after observing something recently, it’s...

Compliance Chat

Jeff Jacobs
The Exact Cause Was Never Determined
Apr 3, 2015

If you read what normally is in this space, you've seen a lot about the protocol it takes to manufacture...

Quick Thoughts by Cliff Quicksell, MAS

Cliff Quicksell, MAS
Measure the ROI at Trade Shows (Using the Right Mix of Creative and Promotional Products)
Dec 30, 2014

Every year more and more products are being introduced into the market, and after a while it all looks the...

Editor's Notes

Nichole Stella
The Perfect Match
Mar 5, 2013

The Super Bowl has also become the Ad Bowl, where brands duke it out to see who has the funniest,...


Kyle Richardson
The Best Laid Plans
Jul 11, 2014

Why it's always smart to keep a planner with your schedule and important documents, and why it's never smart to...

Promotional Fashionista

Colleen McKenna
5 Soccer Promotions for After the World Cup
Jul 1, 2014

Studies show that Americans prefer soccer to NASCAR. Here are five items to sell to soccer fans....

Mike's Blog

Michael Cornnell
Interview with Jason Black, CEO of Top Distributor Boundless Network
May 19, 2014

Ranking #19 on the Top 50 List, Black shares his thoughts on the future of the industry and what has...

The Hot Button

Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
"How It's Made" Can Make You More
Jun 11, 2014

The show "How Its Made" is celebrating its 22nd season on television. How can we be a hit, season after season,...

Be Dazzled

Elise Hacking Carr
Got Control Issues?
May 14, 2014

Does chaos define you? How you respond to certain situations says a lot about your character. Here are five quotes...

Big Picture Promo

Matt Kaspari, CAS
Meeting Clients Where They Are
Oct 24, 2013

Promotional marketing is at its best when it empowers a client’s brand, meets his or her objectives and fits within...

My Two Cents

Rick Brenner
For Promotional Product Sales, Protect Your Client's Brand
Jun 3, 2013

Whether you are selling to a global brand like Nike or to your local YMCA, no single asset is more...

Friday Sales-thought of the Week!

Dale Limes, MAS
Reverse Engineer Your Sales Success
Mar 18, 2013

Steven Covey reminds us that when setting goals ... "Start with the end in mind." That is to visualize the...

Creating More Purposeful Sales Conversations

Lisa Leitch, CSP, MAS
Under 100 Days to Achieve 2011 Goals
Oct 20, 2011

It's hard to believe, but there are fewer than 100 days left to achieve 2011 goals! Are you on track...

10 Rules of Sales Etiquette


Life has changed a great deal in the 30 years I've been in sales. Electronic barriers, such as voice mail and caller ID, give customers the chance to hide and ignore calls. Overall, some would say people are more rude than ever. I would only say that there is a definite loss of respect in a great deal of relationships, both business and personal. But as my 87-year-old mother would say, you can only manage you. So, to help you to be the best sales person you can be, I offer up the 10 Rules of Sales Etiquette, in no particular order (except for the last one):

1. Never leave an angry voice mail—Keep your frustration in check when on the phone. The rule is that you will not hear back from someone. The exception is that you do. Regardless of whether you are pursuing a client or a prospect, be prepared for the long haul and remember that you can always get angry later. For now, remain calm, citizens.

2. Never put anything in writing that you wouldn't want the client to see—This one is even more important that the first rule. Let's say you write "nit-picky client" on a note to the prepress department. What if that note gets attached to the file and even the proof? Your customer would be justifiably irate if he/she saw it. Even when you are adding comments to your CRM system, show some class.

3. Be appreciative of in-house employees—I remember visiting AusTex Printing in Texas many years ago. The president, Jack somethingorother, gave me the obligatory plant tour. Along the way, he bellowed out every employee's name, jumping between English and Spanish. People positively lit up when he walked by. Jack was clearly a guy who shared compliments for a job well done and genuinely cared for everyone in the plant. The next time a pressman stays late to finish a job, send a note of thanks. Appreciation doesn't cost a nickel and it is simply the right thing to do.

4. Respect the client's time—If your appointment is at 10 a.m., be on time. If you are going to be late, call. If the job is scheduled to ship on Wednesday, see that it does. If your appointment is more than a week away, call to confirm. On a first sales call, confirm the amount of time the client has to spend with you. In your follow up, thank him/her for taking the time out of their busy day. Failure to follow this rule can (and quite frankly, does) tell the customer, "I don't care." Everything you do as a sales rep reflects upon your company. You can kill a relationship quickly simply by missing a deadline or waltzing in a few minutes late. Yeah, it's that important.

5. Communicate with your boss—You have another internal relationship to manage. If you are hitting your quota each month, go ahead and skip this rule. If not, you need to make certain that your boss knows everything you are doing. How many appointments do you have this week? How much business are you quoting? Any Big Fish on the hook? Assume that your boss is sitting at his/her desk right now asking one question about you: "Is my rep doing the job?" Answer that question. Weekly at minimum.

6. Be supportive of your fellow sales rep—Sales is a lonely job. Life is easy when you have a book of business and orders are rolling in, but that doesn't mean you couldn't use a compliment. Conversely, when times are tough the phone isn't ringing, be a good friend and offer some encouragement. What goes around, comes around.

7. Mentor a newbie—Do you remember when you broke into sales? Can you recall the self-doubt and sleepless nights? The fear, the anxiety, the angst? The overwhelming majority of sales people fail. Make it a habit to swing by the newbie's desk and offer some support and a few suggestions. "Let me know if you need anything" is not enough. Be a cheerleader. Trust me on this one: There is nothing more personally rewarding than getting a phone call or email from someone whom you've mentored in the past and is now successful.

8. Thank a client for the order—"I appreciate the confidence you've placed in me." "I will take good care of your business." "Thank you for affording me the opportunity to be of service." There. That wasn't so tough, was it? Every order and every client is precious. Never assume they know it. Tell them.

9. Don't prospect from the cell phone—Let me be clear (pun intended): When you call on a prospect, do so from a good connection with minimal background noise. If you call someone from your car, you might as well start off your pitch by shouting, "Hi, this is Bill. You're not important enough for me to call from a land line or a quiet place...."

10. Leave your job at the office—Do me a favor. Google the phrase, "End of the day." There was a time before email and cell phones that the sales day ended, business was over, and your personal life began. The weekend was yours to share with your family. You'd watch your child's game without talking on the phone from the sideline. Sales etiquette includes a separation of business and personal. Be present to your family. How do you wish to be remembered by your kids? Go be that person.

I had a professor at the University of Alabama named John Bickley. Dr. B taught his male students manners and insisted that we stand when a woman approached the table at the dinner parties he'd throw. To this day, I hear his ghost whisper to me and keep me in line.

Good personal etiquette is rare, but it does not go unnoticed. The same can be said for good sales etiquette. The right kind of woman will appreciate being honored by a man who stands when she enters the room. The right kind of customer will reward a courteous sales rep with business and loyalty.

You can only manage you. My mom might be 87 but she is still active. Don't make me send her after you. Show some sales etiquette.

Bill's Sales Challenge begins on the first Wednesday of every month. Need sales? Go to for more information or email Bill at


Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: