“In life, you cannot always choose what you do, but you can always choose who you are”

This is an inspiring story. I first saw this video as a commercial for a well known malt drink. It reminded me of my family when they came from the Caribbean to the UK at the end of the 1950’s.

Growing up, I was surrounded by a bunch of eccentric characters from different islands. These were tough times, many people came over to the UK as blue collar workers. The work was hard and the hours were long, therefore leisure time was full of music, laughter, good food, friends and hope for the next generation.

My mum was an accomplished seamstress so she made sure we were always dressed in the trendiest of clothes and on Sundays, we always wore our “best”. Most of my Dads friends were manual workers so Sundays and special occasions (even friendly cricket matches), always called for a sharp suit and tie. During those times in the late 60’s and 70’s there was not a lot of disposable income like today, so you had to be creative, with food and clothes, we used to go to the top department stores and boutiques to “shop for inspiration” I realise now that meant buying one item and getting inspired to make an outfit for a party or a special occasion.

I love it when I go into companies and I see young interns and juniors starting out in their career, choosing to dress sharp to define themselves. One young intern I recently met, came into his office wearing a stunning pink designer jacket, finished off with a white shirt, a tie, sharp black slim fit trousers, and the shiniest shoes. I was surprised at the reaction, everybody who passed, complimented him on his attire even a visiting VP. So we can all take some inspiration from the video and apply this to our every day lives, it has certainly inspired me. Not sure I could get away with a pink jacket and black slim fit trousers, but perhaps an “inspirational” shopping trip is in order…

Connect via email blondell@perfect-fossicking.com or give me a call 07525 018074

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A 21st Century view of Sales

Sales Man

At a family event recently, somebody asked what I do for a living. An innocent enough question, so I replied “I work in sales and marketing”. Without missing a beat, the elderly gentleman said “Oh, you are one of those”.

I was curious about what he meant by “one of those”, so I asked him. That was it. He was off. He had a negative view of sales people, of on a rant about how many telephone calls he received at home, always being “sold” to and used adjectives like pushy, arrogant and rude. I listened politely for a few minutes, then excused myself and headed to the bar.

A couple of weeks ago, during the commercial break of one of my favourite TV programmes, there was an advertisement for coffee capsules. The scene featured a young brash, salesman on the telephone, calling from a fictitious loft insulation company making a call to a housewife, a prospective customer. He was talking at her, I noticed he started with a closed question, using street slang and making comic gestures with his colleague in the background (a bit like a scene from The Office meets a comedy sketch on Ali G). Of course, the lady used this time to make herself a cup of coffee and let him rant for a bit and then asked him to call back the next day.

Although this is an amusing telly advertisement, I could not help noticing that sales people are still today being portrayed in this brash, unprofessional almost comic way. It is not surprising sales people have a poor image – according to LinkedIn, there are approximately 10 million sales people working in business to business sales around the world today. This does not include retail, food and customer services, so the chances are that many of us will be either sold to or will have to sell ourselves, products, ideas – even if we are not in a traditional sales related job and there is a strong chance that many of us will regularly find ourselves being sold to.

I love being sold to. In one of my favourite department stores in the City of London the staff are so well trained you rarely come away with just one item. They engage with you and subtly entice you to buy something complementary. It is a heady experience.

I am writing this as a champion for all sales professionals. Let us all work together to raise the standards and perceptions of us hard working sales professionals that enables products to be bought and sold.

After all, it is up to us sales professionals to make the world go around.

Connect via email blondell@perfect-fossicking.com or give me a call 07525 018074