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 !

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