The Sales Vault

Short Attention Span Sales

The Weekly Sales Tip

Bill Farquharson

Bill Farquharson

Follow Bill on LinkedIn and subscribe to the Short Attention Span Sales Newsletter to get these tips delivered straight to your inbox!

Initial Sales Skills

The first and most important thing to teach a sales rep is product knowledge, right? Well, it depends on who you ask. If you are asking Bill Farquharson, you will get a different answer in this week's Short Attention Span Sales Tip.
building blocks sales

Good morning!

I had an interesting phone call with a client last week. She had just hired a new sales rep and was calling to discuss training options. “First, of course, I need to teach him about the industry,” she started. “Product knowledge is paramount.”

Is it, though?

I would argue a better place to start would be to teach the rep how to ask qualifying questions. Teach him or her to be curious. I would much rather have a salesperson adept at the skill of uncovering needs than knowing what the C stands for in CMYK.

Back in the day, we used to call this, “Learning the story behind the piece.”

Imagine someone handing you something to quote. From here, you have two choices. You can focus on the specs and ask questions about paper type, ink quality, size, and quantity. The other option is to focus on usage and ask questions which take you to another level:

  • What is the purpose of this document?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • How do people find you now?
  • Why do people buy from you?
  • What is your differentiator?

Think of it this way: A customer cares nothing about print. A customer cares about their world, their needs, and their challenges. Asking questions that get them talking helps you to uncover clues as to the right solution. From there, this solutions-based sales rep can head back to the plant and talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of print.

Is knowledge of the industry important? Of course. But is it the first stop on your training journey? I don’t think so. Focus first on communication skills, the questions to ask, active listening, reading the room, and how to look beyond the specs.

Product knowledge will come in time. Teach them first how to get the client talking.

As for training, there is no better environment than The Sales Vault. Get on Bill Farquharson’s calendar at or call him at 781-934-7036.

You need this...

Trust me. I'm in Sales.

Everyone is asking where Bill got the T-shirt. Trust him, he's selling it on Amazon!

What is the Sales Vault?

The Sales Vault is a subscription-based website for sales people and selling owners throughout the graphic arts seeking continuous sales growth.


Upcoming Workshops

More from Bill on LinkedIn

Why the most successful sales reps love the Sales Vault

Trusted by thousands of companies

Scroll to Top

Get Bill's Tip delivered to your inbox...

Sales tips are released every Monday morning.  As always get Bill’s Free Weekly Sales Tip at Bookmark the page: This Week’s Tip

Looking for a notification by email? Connect with Bill Farquharson on LinkedIn and Subscribe to his Weekly Newsletter.

Get notified via LinkedIn

Please note, you will need to join LinkedIn to connect with Bill and subscribe.