The ‘Sales Prevention Officer’

Have you got one in your company? I bet you have! I have met loads in my time in Sales and right now, I have one working close by in a business hat I am working with.

What department is your ‘SPO’ in?

He/She could be found in Sales or Accounts, or Marketing,Personnel or Distribution…

How do you spot your ‘SPO’?

Your ‘SPO’ could even be your Sales Manager!

They will do every thing they can to stop you or the company getting more sales. If your ‘SPO’ is customer facing, then they will be ‘by the book’ and often put off your potential customer for life if they get into a conversation with them.

If you are not on their list of ‘liked’ sales people then you may find that every sale is hard work to get through. Exhausting stuff.

Symptoms

Your ‘SPO’ will normally have a gripe with company.

Lack of promotion, a wage rise that hasn’t happened, their department is struggling to survive in a company reshuffle.

They think they are worth far more to the company than they are and the company could not run without them.

Their suggestions of change made to the directors have been ignored.

They do not like the direction that the company is moving toward. They can see far to much extra work coming their way. Life has been comfortable so far.

Conclusion

Tricky to deal with, but if you have spotted your ‘SPO’ you are halfway there already. Work with them, around them, do what you have to do to stop them getting near your customer.

I would love to hear your own stories. Drop me a line. (You don’t have to name them)

It’s a lot of fun spotting your very own ‘SPO’s!

 

Sir Tom Farmer’s top business advice to me!

https://vimeo.com/#

Important Business words from one the best

As always, I learn something new every day about business and life and just before Xmas I had a chat with the ‘well known’ business man, Sir Tom Farmer of ‘kwik-Fit’ fame.

Why would he talk to me you say! Well, the story goes back a long way.

My father Andrew Knight and his business partner Alec Stenson were at the time creating a tyre business that was expanding fast in the mid 1960’s.

They wanted to expand quickly to go public and were looking for companies that they could buy to increase the size of their business. ‘Albany Tyres’.

They came across a business in Scotland run by a young entrepreneur Tom Farmer who had 5 branches based in Edinburgh and they approached him with a view to buying him out. Cut a long story short they succeeded and he joined them in 1968.

I can still see Sir Tom Farmer standing in our lounge at my parent’s bar talking in a strong Scottish accent.Me thinking ‘he looks young’ compared to the others. He was only 28!

He seemed like a fish out of water but he definitely had a steely  look in his eyes. They were having a pre-board meeting and I at 9 years old was flat out writing notes up on the meeting. Wish I still had those notes!

The company ‘Albany Tyres’ went from strength to strength and took over ‘Brown brothers’ Motor Factors and then they eventually sold out to the ‘Dana Corporation’ for a lot of money in 1970/71.

Sir Tom Farmer retired at 30 years of age and went to California to live. It didn’t last very long and he returned to Scotland in 1971 and decided to start in the Automotive repair and maintenance business that had been happening in the USA.

He teamed up with my father’s ex business partner Alec Stenson and came up with the name of ‘Kwik Fit’ for their 1st depot.

My father had retired at 48 years old and did not want a part of it.

He went to live in the south of France. (looking back a big mistake-more of that another time)

The rest is history and Sir Tom and Kwik-Fit went on to become a Multi- National and European business. He sold out in the late 90’s and then purchased it back again a few years later after Ford messed it up.

With my 1st business workshop looming at the end of January 2019, I decided to write to Tom Farmer and tell him what I was doing and see if he could give me any thoughts on what he would say to a potential selective audience.

I had seen some of his talks on ‘You Tube’ at Edinburgh University in 2011. He talked about my father and said that my father and Alec were the finest mentors in his lifetime. I was shocked as I had never heard this speech from Sir Tom before and didn’t realise he held my father in such high esteem.

So, worth a try I thought in trying to contact him.

I contacted a company that use him for public speaking and asked if they could tell him who I was and if he would come and be the star of our evening later this year. They said they wanted £7000 for his appearance and they would ask him. They came back to me and said no luck and that was the price. Mmmm, slightly higher than I could afford at this stage. What to do?

After some digging around, I found a company address and wrote to him.I didn’t expect a reply at all.

The next day the phone rang, I was on a webinar. Private number, do I answer it?

Ok I’ll answer. ‘Hello, is that Andrew? (Deep Scottish accent)

‘It’s Tom’. The penny dropped quickly..

I can answer all your questions Andrew, call me back when you have a list.

I did and this what he said.

‘Business is all about people, always. Happy staff, happy customers’

‘Business is about speed of service today more than ever’

‘Keep your suppliers happy and life will be much easier’.

‘Be Number one at customer service. Make sure you deal with customer queries quickly and over deliver in this area. Always and for evermore’.

‘Love what you do.You need passion to become a successful business’. If you are not enjoying it, then keep looking for your passion until you find it’.

‘If you as a business owner are not a people person, then hire someone who is! Fast’…

‘Get a good team together and look after them. This is the key to success’.

There are you go, the words of Sir Tom just before Christmas.

Business advice to me from one of the best!

As always, I learn something new every day about business and life and just before Xmas I had a chat with the ‘well known’ business man, Sir Tom Farmer of ‘kwik-Fit’ fame.

Why would he talk to me you say!

Well, the story goes back a long way.

My father Andrew Knight and his business partner Alec Stenson were creating a tyre business that was expanding fast in the mid 1960’s.

They wanted to expand quickly and go public and were looking for companies that they could buy to increase the size of their business ‘Albany Tyres’ as quick as possible. They were cash rich as a business.

They came across a business in Scotland run by a young entrepreneur who had 5 branches based in Edinburgh area and they approached him with a view to buying him out. Cut a long story short they succeeded and he joined them in 1968.

I can still see Sir Tom Farmer standing in our lounge at my parent’s bar. Me thinking ‘he looks young’ compared to the others. He was only 28!

He seemed like a fish out of water but he definitely had a steely  look in his eyes. They were having a pre-board meeting and I at 9 years old was flat out writing notes up on the meeting. Wish I still had those notes!

The company ‘Albany Tyres’ went from strength to strength and took over ‘Brown brothers’ Motor Factors and then they eventually sold out to the ‘Dana Corporation’ for a lot of money in 1970/71.

Sir Tom Farmer retired at 30 years of age and went to California to live. It didn’t last very long and he returned to Scotland in 1971 and decided to start in the Automotive repair business as had been happening in the USA.

He teamed up with my father’s ex business partner Alec Stenson and came up with the name of ‘Kwik Fit’ for their 1st depot.

My father had retired at 48 years old and did not want a part of it.

He went to live in the south of France. (looking back a big mistake-more of that another time)

The rest is history and Sir Tom and Kwik-Fit went on to become a Multi- National business. He sold out and then purchased the business back in the late 90’s again after Ford messed it up.

With my 1st business workshop looming at the end of January 2019, I decided to write to Tom Farmer and tell him what I was doing and see if he could give me any thoughts on what he would say to a potential selective audience. I had seen some of his talks on ‘You Tube’ at Edinburgh University in 2011. He talked about my father and said that my father and Alec were the finest mentors in his lifetime. I was shocked as I had never heard this speech from STF before and didn’t realise he held my father in such high esteem.

So, worth a try I thought in trying to contact him.

I contacted a company that use him for public speaking and asked if they could tell him who I was and if he would come and be the star of our evening later this year. They said they wanted £7000 for his appearance and they would ask him. They came back to me and said no luck and that was the price. Mmmm, slightly higher than we could afford at this stage. What to do?

After some digging around, I found a company head office address and wrote to him.

I didn’t expect any sort of reply at all but at least I had made an effort.

The next day the phone rang, I was on a webinar. Private number, do I answer it?

Ok, I’ll answer. ‘Hello, is that Andrew? (Deep Scottish accent)

‘It’s Tom’. The penny dropped quickly..

I can answer all your questions Andrew, call me back when you have a list. Here is my tel number.

I did call Sir Tom back and this is what he said:

1/ ‘Business is all about people, always. Happy staff, happy customers’

2/ ‘Business is about speed of service today more than ever’

3/ ‘Keep your suppliers happy and life is much easier. You will be amazed what you can get from them when you need it’.

4/ ‘Be Number one at customer service. Make sure you deal with customer queries quickly and over deliver in this area. Always and for evermore’.

5/ ‘Love what you do. It is a passion that becomes a successful business.‘If you are not enjoying it, then keep looking for your passion until you find it’.

6/ ‘If you as a business owner are not a people person, then hire someone who is! Fast’…

7/ ‘Get a good team together and look after them. This is the key to success’.

There are you go, the words of Sir Tom just before Christmas.

 

 

 

 

One Bad Debt

When you give credit to a company who have purchased goods or services from you, then you are always at risk of non payment. If the debt is large or large enough to do you as a company serious damage and affect your cash flow,then you need to take steps to protect yourself.

The company that owes you money may have not been paid by a debtor themselves and the knock on effect is that they cannot pay you.Potentially it could wipe you out and years of hard work.

Look at the ‘Carillion’ disaster and how many people that they left unpaid and consequently put out of business. However it became clear that when trading, they were not paying any of their creditors before 90 days and then they would queery the invoice and end up settling another 60 days later. Not sure how any company could have afforded to work on those terms.

So what can you do to protect yourself against a bad debt?

a/ Work on 14 day terms only. If a company will not agree to this then move on.

b/ Offer a worthwhile cash discount if they pay up front with their order. That upfront cash is worth rewarding.

c/ Get credit insurance. Check this information out from http://www.rowlands-hames.co.uk

‘The average cost of trade credit insurance premiums normally range from less than 0.1% of turnover to more than one percent. Typically however, a company will currently pay 0.15% and 0.3% of insurable turnover although this could be much higher particularly for certain political risks and for clients with a poor credit management history. Minimum premiums for whole of turnover (including any credit limit fees) range from between £3,500 to £5,000’.

‘Clients usually pay credit insurance premiums by interest-free instalments over 10 or 12 months. Insurers who apply a one-off ‘limits charge’ will charge this at the start of the insurance period or for larger risks a charge per limit held are charged monthly.’

Seems like a mighty cost effective way of protecting your company from a potential bad debt which could finish your business.

Think I would sleep a lot easier knowing that my outstanding debts were covered!

 

The Business Think Tank…Coming Soon

My 1st live Business seminar!

This will take place in Eastbourne,East Sussex at the Gildredge Park ‘Love All Tennis Cafe during January 2019.

The ‘Think Tank’ Business seminar will open up topics selected by the attendees and we will discuss these topics in intricate detail.

The tougher the subject the more we will get to the bottom of how to make it work for you the business owners.

This evening will be an in-depth look at all the hardships business owners face on a daily basis and how to achieve ongoing satisfaction with your business.

We also will have a guest speaker who has achieved some remarkable goals for his well known business in the area.

This evening will be totally different from any other business evening you will have attended previously.

Spaces will be limited. I will post more details shortly.

Drop me a note if you want to know more.

See you soon

Andy

Retail is changing

What I find amazing is that it has taken this long to finally weed out the dullest of shopping experiences that some of the retail chains have been offering.

Debenhams, C and A,Woolworths and House of Fraser departmental stores to name a few.I grew up with them as a youngster. But a recent trip to Debenhams made me realise just how old fashioned they really were.

I went to Macy’s departmental store in San Francisco earlier this year. It reminded me of Debenhams. So dull! Watch this space.

Retail has to be an experience! Exciting, a place with things to be going on to get the customers attention.

You never see the Apple store empty! Or the O2 store! Or Ikea…

Woolies and C and A and BHS have gone…We have many more casualties to come. Can think of 5 straight off.

The retail landscape in 5 years time will look very different. This is a revolution that we are going through and in 100 years time, kids will be taught about the Millennial tech revolution…