My father was the first to comment on my entrepreneurial skills.
As a young child I was always looking for ways to earn money, from washing cars to playground trading I always had something up my sleeve. It was pretty early on that my dad noticed my entrepreneurial skill, and he was the first to tell me that I was a gifted salesman.
When I looked for my first job I knew I was going to go into a sales role, so I followed my sales instincts and looked for the products that produced the greatest commissions. I decided, I wanted to sell the single most expensive item that most people will ever buy. I chose to sell houses.
I wanted to sell the single most expensive item that most people will ever buy. I chose to sell houses.
I went for three interviews and was offered all three jobs. Young though I was I was wise enough to choose the job with the best training opportunities even though it had the worst pay. Just £8000 p.a. I started at the bottom of the region’s top office. I walked the streets dropping leaflets and at the end of the day I sorted the post. The role was varied enough that I was able to get an appreciation of how the business worked and what I needed to do to stand out.
I realised straight away that building my personal customer base would be the key to my success. I was always the first to answer the phone (often within half a ring) and this meant I got more new customers than anyone else. After five years I had won an impressive collection of company awards.
I was always the first to answer the phone.
My step father became terminally ill. He needed help both with his business and at home. I left the estate agent and helped him manage and then sell his business. I stayed with him and helped him at home in every way that I could. This was a sad time. It was hard but it cast great clarity on my priorities. It taught me that you need to work hard to get what you want out of life and the quicker you achieve it the better.
The goal is not just to achieve but to have time at the end to look back and enjoy all that you’ve achieved.
After my step father passed I joined Thompson Directories. I sold a data profiling services that enabled businesses to filter down a database (for mailshots, telemarketing ext.) to include just their ideal clients. Thus massively reducing the size and cost of their campaigns, and making a ROI (return on investment) from just a single sale. I was fortunate to have a great boss who had the ability to motivate everyone in the team and gave them the support they needed. She lent me a couple of CD’s from a motivational type speaker who talked in detail about the psychology of communication and the power of our voice and body-language on others. I was fascinated.
I was perhaps overly helpful to my clients. I showed them the most intelligent and economical ways of using our system so that without needing to buy lots of ‘credits’ they could achieve their marketing targets. My advice was so effective that although I rarely hit ALL of my targets, the result was, I got a lot more referrals than everyone else and I brought in more new clients. I put more time into helping and training my clients than perhaps I should have done and as a result my call times were always above the company target (our target was 4 hours per day). I began helping clients with the content of their direct mail and wrote telemarketing scripts for various situations from warm-up calls to qualification calls and follow-up/closing calls. It became clear that there was demand for my skills beyond what my role in Thomson allowed me to deliver and so I split from Thomson and myself and a colleague set up a telemarketing company call Marketing and Data Ltd (aka MAD).
I got a lot more referrals than everyone else and I brought in more new clients.
As MAD evolved I learnt some valuable lessons about the realities of being a business owner and what is required to make a business successful. I learned about growing a team and the challenges you face when recruiting and training, and I began to realise the pressures that most business owner face every day.
Before too long I was the sales and marketing manager for different 5 companies at the same time. I was charging money up-front so I had to deliver week on week. Which I did. I had to give specialist attention to multiple clients in a structured way. But despite all this I managed to get the balance between work and life right and was even managing to squeeze in a game of golf once a week. I tell people this not because I am a good golfer (I’m not) but because I believe sales is often a part-time job and most SME clients I’ve done work for need only 2-4 hours per week of the right activity to make all the difference.
I believe sales is often a part-time job and most SME clients I’ve done work for need only 2-4 hours per week of the right activity to make all the difference.
However over time demand for my services grew and there came a point when I could no longer service them all. So I began working with an NLP Master Trainer to develop my own teaching system. He helped me analyse the processes and communication style I had developed and helped me understand the system I used to deliver such great results. This has enabled me to develop a selection of training workshops designed to help people that are responsible for generating a business’s sales leads but that wouldn’t consider themselves a natural sales people.
Workshops designed to help people that are responsible for generating a business’s sales leads but that wouldn’t consider themselves a natural sales people.
After meeting Philip M Jones I realised that I needed a “business mentor”. I could find opportunities in every conversation I had, however I needed focus, and a “sales-funnel” to put them into. Phil showed me ways to “bottle what I do” so I can stop doing and start teaching.
I love teaching. I love it when my students use the techniques I have taught them and achieve their goals, and I have a huge passion to help small businesses to get off the ground and grow. It is a wonderful thing to help someone else build a company. It is wonderful to be involved in helping businesses grow.
Winning new work is the first and most important step to growing a business, hiring more staff, creating jobs and ultimately supporting families, creating stability and letting people live the lives they want to live.
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