Monday, 30 August 2010


When I’m mentoring people I preach the importance of energy and enthusiasm. Yes, you have to believe with great passion in what you do, say and sell.

But you also have to know your stuff, really know it.

I suppose if a charity salesman on the street is called a “chugger” (charity + mugger) then one phoning you is, I guess, a “phugger”.

And I was “phugged” thus a few days ago:

PH: Hallo Mr Hall? As you know Age Concern and Help the Aged have merged to form Age UK. Isn’t that great?

Me: How big does that make the business in revenue terms?

PH: I don’t know. I’d have to come back to you on that. But we do such fantastic work like helping old people and that.

Me: How? And what % of the income actually goes to good works as opposed to administration costs and general overhead?

PH: I don’t know. I’d have to come back to you on that one too. But can I tell you about a new scheme we have. You pay just £1 a week and that entitles you to participation in a lottery and you could win prizes –like £10,000 at Christmas – just imagine winning all that money.

Me: But this is gambling. It’s wrong, immoral and totally un-Christian (this an inspired thrust on my part). You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

PH: Oh dear but it goes to good works like….

Me: Like?

PH: I’d have to come back to you on that.

Am I being a bit mean?

The poor guy had been dropped in it and had not been trained. So my gripe is with Age UK not with him.

In common with many other businesses more money spent on staff training and less on so-called marketing would be a much wiser investment.

However enthusiastic you might feel about what you do, the first need is to know your stuff backwards and then to learn how to pitch a great story. There is no substitute for the hard work of learning and understanding your script.

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