Friday, 29 August 2014

Nell Gwynne's Selling Legacy the zest, skin, core and fleshiness of selling

“Fine Sevil oranges, fine lemmons, fine; 
Round, sound, and tender, inside and rine,
 One pin's prick their vertue show : 
They've liquor by their weight, you may know” 
- Cries of London 17th Century 
(many years before 'sell the sizzle not the steak !)

There is an old adage that ‘Success’ only comes before ‘Work’ in a dictionary!

 In selling we know that labour comes before success for even the low hanging fruits have to be picked.

The ongoing metaphor of this blog the "fruits of success" are the rewards of selling.

To enjoy the fruits of our labours we need to employ some tools to help the process.

I was perusing a local store’s kitchenware department a couple of days ago ,and came across the gadget area. There quite a number of different tools on the market that help to prepare fruit for the table.

Gadgets such as the use of a 'pin' in the 17th century quote above.

21st century culinary gadgets abound to solve the tasks of fruit preparation  tools that
stone cherries,
cut pineapples,
core apples,
husk strawberries,
slice avocados,
ball melon,
zest lemons,
squeeze oranges........

Whatever fruits you choose there are tools to help you do the job.

Local greengrocer  G Hone and Sons in Farnham, Surrey UK
Fruits display well whether at a greengrocer ,on a fruit stall or in a fruit bowl to attract our attention.

Probably one of the best known sellers of Oranges in history was Nell Gwynne.

The Actress and long time mistress of  King Charles II (1630- 1685) is known early in her life to have  worked  with her sister Rose for  a certain Mary Meggs aka "Orange Moll" . Orange Moll had been granted the licence to

"vend, utter and sell oranges, lemons, fruit, sweetmeats and all manner of fruiterers and confectioners wares," within the King’s Theatre.

Nell and her older sister were engaged as scantily clad "orange-girls", selling the small, sweet "china" oranges to the audience inside the theatre for a sixpence each.

Multi-task networkers !

The work exposed Nell to multiple aspects of theatre life and to London's higher society: this was when all was said and done "the King's playhouse", and Charles frequently attended performances.

 The orange-girls would also have served as messengers between the men in the audience and the actresses backstage; they received monetary tips for this role and certainly some of these messages would end in sexual assignations. 

Nell’s story is a rags to riches tale. Without being overly literal (!) much of her selling role, her selling process and even her selling models are not so different from ours in the 21st Century.

A selling role is likely to cover

Twelve Key Activity segments and three Key Skills.

The zest, the skin , the core and flesh of selling
This is the logical sequence in which they should normally be carried out, but they are best thought of as a cycle of activities. The segment of the 'service and develop' activity leads to 'learn and prepare' further, in order to build more sales.


1.            Communication - being able to give and receive both written and spoken communication in an effective way. This is the zest of your selling

2.            Human Relations - strong inter-personal skills are needed in order to establish, develop and maintain effective relationships with clients.  It requires the ability to build rapport with others but firstly with yourself!  How can you have a good relationship with other people if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself! This is your sales  skin.

3              Organisation - being able to plan time and arrange activities effectively, and control documentation  and information efficiently. This is the core of good selling

 Nell Gwynne's selling pedigree in theatres

Back in the day at Cinemas ( Movie theaters) in 1960-70s I remember throughout the film, usherettes ( the Nells of that time)  guided by torches, would circulate the cinema, with trays loaded with popcorn, Kia-Ora orange juice in square containers, orange ice lollies on wooden splint sticks and tubs of Lyons Maid ice cream with  pale blue plastic mini shovel spoons. 


I think Nell would recognise the trolley services on passenger aircraft and trains. However I think she would have only worked in the more lucrative VIP and possibly business class areas !

Thursday, 21 August 2014

#GCSEResults ATTITUDE is more important than Grades. Ever thought of Selling as a Career?

Congratulations to all who passed their GCSEs today.

 If you really want to go Uni - follow that dream, study for A level or whatever else is required.
but today you may just wish to take a pause and ask yourself is going to Uni REALLY your  dream right now ?

  • Your parents will be proud of you. They will be telling other parents of your achievement ( and in no small measure vocally justifying the sacrifices they made for you). 
  • Your school teachers will also be proud of your achievement after all they have facilitated your progress.
  • Your School will be proud because one of the Indexes they love to quote is the number of pupils who got GCSEs, A levels and University places.

Some young people ( and you may be one of them) are pushed into staying on at school or college trying for A levels and university.  
Determined Attitude Andy Murray style !
 Probably best not to wield your tennis
racket in the interview room though :) !
As the Times Newspaper on August 20th points out Attitude * beats exam grades in the jobs market.  A can-do approach is more important than an A* .

 A survey of 200 employers was carried out in July 2014  by the Recruitment and Employment Federation.

  •  Nearly 50% half said that the most important quality they looked for in a young person was their attitude.
  • 20%  said they key criterion was the level of qualifications that an applicant held such as an honours degree, A levels and GCSEs
  • Only 4% said they studied the grades of the candidates and based their decision on that.
Qualifications can be a good indicator of ability but the survey shows employers put a high value on attitude. Chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Federation Kevin Green says

 " Our advice is young people need to think about how they project a positive, can-do attitude when applying for jobs"

This blog covers Professional Selling.  If you have not thought about a career in this sector take a look around the site. Take a look at the posts Career in Sales or the other topic labels on the right hand side.

What ever YOU decide - and it is YOUR decision- good luck and if you join the brotherhood and sisterhood of selling- welcome 

Your country ( whichever country that is) needs you ! 

 You will also have a lot of fun and you can earn a 'bob or two' along the way as well.......

Monday, 18 August 2014

Selling Uptalk -the high rising terminal our selling spiel has a long history #uptalk

When speaking to clients on the telephone or face to face the change in pitch at the end of a sentence can change  an English statement into a question.

 For some London Times readers of English this a source of irritation which they perceive to be a ‘recent  and irksome’ affection that has crept into the language over the last ten to fifteen years. The letters to editor page has seen many air their complaint.

Now, who is to blame for this ?

The Pesky Vikings !Rape, Ransack and Rising intonation !
 We have been bad mouthing the Vikings for years it seems.
“ Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race” a Northumbrian chronicler wrote as the Vikings descended on the north of the country in the ninth century .“ The heathens poured out the blood of the saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of the saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets”
Uptalk is where your voice rises as to make a declaration in such a way to imply to the listener that it might, like, be a question? -writes  Oliver Moody in the Times Aug 18th p15
Theories abound on the origins of the pitch inflection that makes statements into questions.

One theory expounded by Linguistics  Professor Daniel Hirst of Aix –Marseille University in France , comes from his observation of a strong correlation with the  areas pillaged most heavily by the longships in the 9th century.

The Liverpool accent, the Tyneside tone of the North East and the Belfast brogue are among those that have long been known for the way their voices rise at the end of a statement.

It is common in Celtic dialects for a rising intonation to be used in various constructions.

Professor Hirst points out though a crucial difference  between Viking War talk and simpering on the telephone “ When a man from Belfast tells you ‘ I am going to smash your face in’ and his voice rises, he is being assertive.”

David Crystal * says the Viking idea is one of a dozen theories. The feature has probably always been in English. It may have been Danish influence . as we hear similar things in some modern Scandinavian languages – remember the Swedish chef in the Muppets? – but there is nothing especially eastern  England about it today”

Perhaps such research by linguists is a corrective balance to arguments that the standards of English are in decline or under threat due to the patterns of youth speak.
So Uptalk is less radical than its critics suppose. 

So far from conforming to the stereotype of witlessness it denotes an appeal for others to engage the conversation. It is therefore courteous as well as fully expressive-  so Selling welcomes it ?   

Related links:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Is Going to University really YOUR wish ? #alevelresults #resultsday #Clearing2015

Congratulations to all who passed their A levels today.

 If you really want to go Uni - follow that dream.
 but today you may  wish to take stock and ask yourself is going to Uni REALLY your  dream ?

  • Your parents will be proud of you. They will be telling other parents of your achievement ( and in no small measure vocally justifying the sacrifices they made for you). 
  • Your school teachers will also be proud of your achievement after all they have facilitated your progress.
  • Your School will be proud because one of the Indexes they love to quote is the number of pupils who got to University . It is a ‘ measure’ of THEIR success. OFSTED will be looking for such evidence no doubt.

Yet some young people ( and you may be one of them) are  pushed into taking university courses because of Britain’s “snobbery” towards technical qualifications – leaving many struggling to find work when they graduate.

Also today will not be your last chance to decide to go to university.

You may well do better to go to University later in your life. Colleges like the University of London’s Birkbeck College has a long pedigree is lifelong learning and the ‘mature’ student. Similarly the Open University.

But is going to University right now REALLY YOUR WISH?

The continuing high number of drop-outs at some universities raises concerns that too many students are still taking courses that fail to fully meet their needs.

More than 26,000 students dropped out of university last year amid continuing concerns that school leavers are being pushed into taking inappropriate degree courses.

Official figures show that around one-in-15 undergraduates – 6.7 % – failed to complete the first year of their degree and numbers grew to almost a fifth at the worst-performing colleges.

At least one-in-10 students at 18 universities across the UK quit higher education altogether after less than 12 months.

It also emerged that 18.5 % of students – around 73,500 – are projected to fail to complete the course they started after either dropping out, transferring to another university or graduating with an alternative qualification.

Students can face £40,000 debt over 'no limit' tuition fees.

This suggests school leavers should give more serious thought to post-18 study options, particularly with the size of student debt rising.

The disclosure – in data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that more than £1.3bn spent on student bursaries over a five year period had failed to prevent poor teenagers dropping out of university.

The Government’s Office for Fair Access found that grants worth up to £4,000 a year had "no observable effect" on students’ chances of remaining on their degree course.

 This blog covers Professional Selling.  If you have not thought about a career in this sector take a look around the site. Take a look at the posts Career in Sales or the other topic labels on the right hand side.

What ever YOU decide - and it is YOUR decision- good luck and if you join the brotherhood and sisterhood of selling- welcome ! Your country ( whichever country that is) needs you ! 

 You will also have a lot of fun and you can earn a 'bob or two' along the way as well.......

Related links

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Selling a virtue ? Virtuous Selling Passionate Respectful Professional and Committed

A Good news story about Selling for August 2014

Last year the 108 outlets of Vertu Motors Group sold 120,000 cars.   The Group’s brands include Bristol Street Motors, Macklin Motors,  and Vertu Honda . ( well done all at Vertu group)
Predictably the Mail-on-Sunday’s Investment’s editor praise for a car salesman began her piece with a  sceptical back handed compliment.

“There are many adjectives associated with new and used car salesmen, but passionate, respectful , professional and committed are not usually among them. Yet these are some of the pillars on which Vertu   Motors aims to build its business.”

What are the adjectives one should associate with Salespeople? ‘Anatomy ‘ of Salesperson Attributes Skills and Knowledge

Investment editor Joanne Hart then continues then more straightforwardly praise founder Robert Forrester (“Chartered Account turned Car Salesman”) for the sales growth of his company since 2006. Of course Mr Forrester has a good record in the sector having been a former MD of Reg Vardy.

The board has been strengthened recently by the newly appointed chairman designate Peter Jones ( former CEO of New Lookers).

Sterling’s strength is helping the company’s procurement  as many of the cars  bought are made on the Continent and when the pound is strong euro-zone car makers pass the savings on to buyers to stimulate sales.

Selling servicing

100% absorption rate

Selling cars is a low margin business but good profits are made from servicing vehicles. Three years ago Vertu set up a monthly service plan to help their customers spread the cost of servicing. It has grown a customer base of 60,000.

This focus on customers Vertu invests in staff training  and analyses positive and negative feedback on a weekly bases.

Sales Leadership support from the top

Forrester hand writes congratulation notes to dealers who are complimented by customers.

The 160 strong call centre in  Team Valley, Gateshead addresses queries, complaints and boosts sales.

As an investment the newspaper’s Midas verdict concluded:

“Turning round under performing  dealerships takes three to four years. About 70 % of Vertu’s outlets are in that process so there should be plenty of profitable growth  as these businesses improve. The firm is gaining from growing consumer  confidence too. At 59p the shares are a long term buy.”

Virtuous selling has a long term future it seems even to the sceptical investment community.

Good selling to all at Vertu and other proponents of Virtuous Selling.

Related Links

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Selling World War 1 The Poster War #WW1

The sporting stars chosen as poster boy and girl for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games  were , swimmer Michael Jamieson  or  400m hurdler Eilidh Child . Both won silver medals in their events.  ( Congratulations both)

The Independent’s Robin Scott-Elliot wrote 
“ It seems as if Jamieson and Child stare down at you from every billboard in this city”. 
Clearly the campaign’s visibility had been picked up by the journalist. Despite all the social components of the festival's Communications mix , conventional outside broadcast media still played a key role.

The purpose of the posters were focused at both sports fans and Glasgow citizens and perhaps  the Scottish nation to rally support of the home nation in this multi-national festival of sport.

A poster exhibit form the special World War One
 exhibition at Farnham Museum , Surrey.
Fashion being made to look
unpatriotic and frivolous
As our mind moves now towards the commemorations for the 100th  anniversary of the outbreak of the first World War  another 'poster boy' , arguably one of the first poster boys in a design by Alfred Leete will feature. 

 Lord Kitchener 
 with his iconic moustache , 
 Military Hat, 
 pointing finger 

 and slogan 

“ Your Country needs you” 

It will quite likely be reproduced in the various commemoration supplements and the TV programmes that will produced.

But it's an Urban Myth !:

Recent  research has found that no such poster was actually produced during the war and that the image was never used for official recruitment purposes. 

In fact, it only became popular and widely-used after the conflict ended.

*James Taylor, researched the history of recruitment posters, said the popular understanding of the design and the impact it had was almost entirely mistaken.

As part of his research, he studied the official records of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, the body responsible for recruitment posters, in the National Archives at Kew.

Local Recruitment Poster for
 October 1915 for Farnham.
Exhibit at Farnham Museum Surrey
At the start of the War the government’s priority was recruitment.  

There were no established  agencies as such for propaganda so at Wellington House, in Buckingham Gate  a group was set up to work on the task.

What is interesting in retrospect is how the messages were differently presented to the genders at the start of the War.  

Conscription had not been introduced at that time so the messages had to be highly persuasive.

They often appealed to emotional motivators of national loyalty, sense of duty, joining the lads at the front of the British Expeditionary Force.

 It would not be for long  of course since

"it will all be over by Christmas

Poster from the exhibition
 at London's British Library
Of course the women had to be persuaded to let their boys go. 

They were told that they could manage and indeed were capable of taking on the role of  men’s work while their men folk  were away at the front.

With hindsight we now can see how this would sow the seeds of considerable social change in just a few decades. 

The impact of the poster as a means of communication in World War One was  probably greater than at any other time during history.

Poster from London's 
British Library exhibition

The ability of posters to 



 and persuade 

combined with vibrant design trends  produced many interesting visual works

As mechanised warfare and the use of poison gas brought about huge casualties, it was increasingly difficult to get men to enlist.

Appeal for help
from Exhibition at British Library

Posters were used to inspire ........

Poster from London, British Library Exhibition 

...........or shame men to enlist.

Posters were employed widely to garner support, urge action, and boost morale

The poster was also a major tool for widespread dissemination of information during World War One.

Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, “ The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” August 1914

On Monday 4th August, everyone in the UK is invited to turn their lights out from 10pm -11pm leaving on a single light or candle to mark the moment the UK entered the first World War 100 years ago.

Lights Out

Even Piccadilly Circus lights in London are joining #LightsOut

Related Links and further reading 

*Your Country Needs You: The Secret History of the Propaganda Poster by James Taylor

Farnham Museum

Enduring War Grief Grit and Humour  British Library Exhibition