Looking back at who shaped me

By Pat Lewis, Source One Consulting
When thinking about the word ‘Guide’ many thoughts came into my head, but the most dominant thought was that to be able to guide someone else, you must have had both good and bad experiences.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Autumn 2021
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This led me to reflect on my age and how I got to where I am today. People come and go in your life and career, but looking back, those that gave me guidance really shaped me into the person I am. Whilst I’m a huge advocate of moving forward and progressing, the ‘old skool’ lessons are still as important to me today as they were then.

Being given a guiding hand

My first boss was an incredible lady, Betty Rogers, who was the Post Room Manager at Fisons. Guidance was Betty’s mantra. When you started your Fisons career, you were on the rung, albeit the bottom one!  Betty was well respected and was your leader, showing you who was who, and what was what. Her leadership skills were exemplary and her ‘post room boys’ were ‘my boys’. As well as telling us off for messing around, she taught us how to deal with situations, how to act in the presence of company directors and how to put our case forward when we didn’t agree. Yet, the greatest guidance in her eyes was how to wrap the perfect parcel and use the Pitney Bowes franking machine without jamming it up! She was an amazing lady and the perfect example of the word ‘Guide’.

Fast forward to becoming a Sales Rep for Acorn Office Supplies in Ipswich selling stationery. Stan and Jonquil Johnson had only just started their business and after a year my big break came. I wanted to be a rep, and they gave me the chance.

So, with no sales experience, I went out ‘on the road’ under Stan’s tutelage. The first piece of guidance from Stan came on the top floor of Trelawny House in Felixstowe when he said, “there you go, get on with it”.

“Get on with what?” I said.

Stan’s reply was, “knock on the door, go in, introduce yourself and ask to speak to the stationery buyer. They will probably tell you to go away. Leave the leaflet. Tell them there’s a special offer on paper, then tell them you’ll be back next month, every month.” The guidance had started!

So what did I learn?

  • Persistence pays
  • Keep knocking on every door
  • Be nice, smile
  • Use a sprat to catch a mackerel
  • Don’t be greedy
  • Don’t give up
  • Always tell your clients you love them
  • Prime selling time is 10 till 4 and don’t stop for lunch

These wonderful people guided me early in my career, and their acts and words have stuck with me and been the driving force and ethics for my own business. I’ll always use their lessons, remembering their guidance is a massive part of the reason I’m here today. Old Skool still is a great Skool!

Pat Lewis is Founder and Chairman of Source One Consulting and Source One Associates. He now guides others through his work as an ambassador for Volunteering Matters Youth Social Action and is pictured above with business mentee Frederico Ramos and Tonia Wilson-Grochowska from VM.
E: pat@sourceoneconsulting.co.uk
T: 08456 031 585
or visit sourceoneconsulting.co.uk / sourceoneassociates.co.uk

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