Rob's Story

That thing you love.

That thing you’re good at.

Go do that.

Facts tell but stories sell, here’s my story.

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In the beginning

It all started aged 13, before cars and girls kicked in and the most important thing in my life was Cricket, and I needed a new bat.

If I’m to be perfectly honest I didn’t need a bat. My school had plenty of bats. What I really wanted was the new Gray Nicholls bat. I can still picture it, sculpted with a bright red scoop out of the back, not just any bat, but a thing of beauty. I mean, it was bright red! This was 1977, I was 13 years old and not much in my life was bright red! 

Waiting and hoping until Christmas or my next birthday wasn’t an option. I wanted that bat now. So I came up with a solution, I’d get a paper round. Brilliant! Simple, I’d get a paper round and earn the money to buy THE bat.

Unfortunately there was bad news waiting for me at the newsagents there were no paper rounds.  I could put my name on a waiting list for when the next round became available, but waiting wasn’t part of my plans. I didn’t want to wait for the next round, so I was given some advice. “If you can get at least 12 people to agree to pay to have their papers delivered, that’s your round kid!”

My first sale. I was hooked.

I really wanted that bat! So, terrified and frankly clueless I went knocking on doors. When I made my first sale. I was hooked. That single piece of advice and not the must have bat changed my life.

From that day, I became obsessed with sales and personal development. I was (and remain) fascinated by the skill that meant you didn’t have to stand in line and wait for things to happen. You could make things happen yourself. So I did!

I started reading and attending everything I could about sales and personal development (I still do, over 39 years later). And filtering everything I learned through my own adopted philosophy that outstanding results aren’t achieved by following the crowd. I never wanted to follow the rules; I wanted to make new rules. And I still do!

Corporate UK

My obsession in finding customers, converting sales, standing out, making a difference and making things happen got me headhunted.

This started a corporate career that culminated in becoming a director of a national group at 35.

I didn’t realise at the time, (and it would take me another 15 years to fully understand) that it was the strengths that continually got me hired that ultimately led to huge frustration with Corporate UK.  The problem was that I knew too much. You can’t learn about and adopt this mindset and skillset, then go back to working for a manager who doesn’t know as much as you do. As far as Corporate UK was concerned, I just didn’t fit.

I’m not proud to admit it, but the truth is that all that attention rather went to my head. I was also becoming ‘all vinegar and no honey’ and something had to change.

PA

Big desk

Expense account

but still frustrated.

but still frustrated.

Small business

When I was approached by a small business, I arrogantly accepted in the belief that I would change their world.

And I was wrong. I learnt quickly – and the hard way – that everything I’d learned in Corporate UK was useless to me in small businesses.

So I had to learn, adapt and change all over again and I loved the challenge. Fortunately, I’m a quick learner. I quickly fell in love with small business and believe absolutely that it’s the backbone of our economy. Why? Because small businesses can make the greatest impact on the world because of their ability to produce jobs and wealth – hopefully on a socially inclusive basis.

Sales equal profits, profits equal freedom, and freedom,

is the time of your life.

Freedom, to do my best work

Not long afterwards I was offered half a million pounds in share options to join a start-up company.* Turning this down was probably the most significant day in my professional life – but not for the reason that you might imagine. The importance of this decision is revealed by what I said to myself as I turned it down:  ‘Never again do I have to worry whether I’m making a mistake by turning down an opportunity. That’s because this is the best opportunity I’ll ever be offered and I’m sufficiently confident to turn it down.’

*Interestingly, my decision ultimately worked out because the bubble burst and the share options ended up worth nothing.

I was free. Free to go and do my best work. Fired by passion for small business, I knew I had to do it for myself, do it my way and do it differently – the honey not vinegar way. I really wanted to make a difference and learned quickly that starting, growing and running a business is really hard work! Over the years, with the support of the great team I’ve assembled, I’ve helped build several businesses. Some failed, but most succeeded. Even so, I learned much more from the failures than the successes.

Successful business

Amazing team

but still dissatisfied

but still dissatisfied

By the time I turned 50, I was running businesses with an amazing team and I realised that I wasn’t happy, wasn’t fulfilled and wasn’t doing my best work. Call it what you like: a Midlife crisis? Maybe. A Jerry Maguire moment? Not really

You see, the thing I loved doing, and the thing I was really good at, was finding customers, converting sales and keeping customers coming back time and time again. I could take or leave the rest of business. I’d got to where I was pretty much leaving that to the team I’d built; they were, and still are, infinitely more talented than I am at doing so. That was when my ‘getting older project’ – my ‘GOP’ – was born.

NEWLY RE-INSPIRED

Newly re-inspired by my ‘GOP’, I set about turning the thing I love, the thing I’m good at, into a business.

It was part-time to begin with, but with the goal of making it full-time within two years. If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably guessed what this thing I know, love, and I’m really good at is: it’s the grassroots mix of selling, business development, customer service and just plain old caring about what’s important for customers that – when rolled into one in any business – is SALES.

Sales are the lifeblood of any business and your business needs sales. What I know is how to do it differently, how to stand out from the crowd, generate enquires, convert sales, make a profit and build the business you want, and the lifestyle you dream of. You may have noticed that I’m passionate about sharing this insight with business owners, sales teams and entrepreneurs.

working on my passion

helping business owners

making a difference

having the time of my life.

having the time of my life.

So how did I start?

Sharing my sales success secrets with a small group of trusted clients I started to see their success. They were more confident, inspired, fulfilled and their businesses boomed they too were free to do their best work and live the time of their life.

It’s paying off

It’s November 2017 now and the strategy for the latest phase of my career has paid off! Now I’m a full-time "Sales Coach" a mix of “in person” sales director, strategist, coach, mentor, trainer and team member. I’m paid well to travel the country, work one-to-one with business owners, and make a difference.

Above all, I’m doing my best work, doing what I love, what I’m really good at and what I’m meant to do. Selling.

 

I’ve learned the thing you love will be the thing that you’re really good at. Go do that!

 

And as you do, remember that learning to sell is the key to turning the thing you do into a business.

Resources

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