“Get off your backside Philip!” he barked. It's a Sales Lesson I’ve Never Forgotten
Thirty eight years ago I was starting out as a Trainee Junior Sales Representative for a large insurance company. We didn’t sell our products direct to the public, but through intermediaries. Back then we called them brokers – today they are IFAs, financial planners or financial advisers.
I was shadowing Dennis who was an extremely experienced and successful salesman, and we had arrived for a meeting at the offices of a large insurance broking firm in the City of London. We signed in (no security passes back then) and the friendly receptionist said “Take a seat gentleman, and I’ll tell them you’re here. Would you like some coffee?”
At the ripe old age of eighteen I smiled to myself, feeling pretty important that I was being offered coffee by some big shots in the City. I moved over to a group of large, comfortable-looking leather armchairs in the corner of the reception area, picked up a copy of a glossy magazine and made myself comfortable.
“Get off your backside Philip! Always stand in reception areas. Never sit.” Barked Dennis.
Dennis was a Senior Consultant and had been doing the job for at least ten years; he was very successful and looked the part too - wearing the most immaculate suit and tie. Though the fact that he also wore Dr Martens boots with his suit was a detail I never fully understood.
My face flushed red and I jumped to my feet at his command, feeling more than a little embarr