ode to the old school

Over the years, people have asked me “who is the best sales person I have ever seen” … however, what is much more interesting to discuss is who is the best “sales team” I have ever seen …

In my opinion, what makes a good sales person “great” is in large part due to the team or the sales director the person is working with… which leads me into today’s focus …. “the best team that I have ever seen:”

Nice, France 2000 – 2001: Team Espana …. Richard McBride; Marek Ellis; James Lloyd and Fabien Faure …

9 years ago…. I opened an office for my previous company in Nice, France in a “serviced office” as we were waiting for the Monaco office application to process.

In Nice, at least at the time, there was only one “serviced office” location … and it was terrible. One room with 12 desks and 12 phones … one window and nothing else. Filthy.

Within two training schools, we filled the office up and immediately started selling …and within 2 months this tiny office of 12 became the number 2 revenue generating office in the company … it was a perfect machine.

I thought about focusing this entry on those first 12 sales people … probably the best memories I have as a manager was leading the original 12 in that small office in Nice… but I do not want to distract from discussing the best team I have ever seen.

Looking back now … just 9 years ago… although there was the internet … it did not dominate our lives like the net does today. Recruits today seem so different…so much softer … everything, the “greener grass…” or the “next mountain” is always just a click away… constantly teasing us to betray our focus.

It was August in 2000 and these 4 brand new recruits were selling an event to be hosted the following April in Spain “E-Espana” …. and keep in mind, these 4 guys were living in the heart of the South of France in the month of August …

The 4, all brand new to sales, dominated the company in sales because of their focus.
(each one of them sold at least 79,000 euros in August, Fabien sold 159,900 that month…(now a days) we assume its impossible to sell in Spain in August … but these guys made it happen in 2000)

The serviced office itself was terrible … not motivating; not exciting, just old and dirty… however, these guys did not need a “cushy” office, every single day … Richard would lead the team to the office at 6am to lead research and prepare for the day. Richard is the one that developed, led and fostered this teams brilliant ethic and success.

Fabien reminded me that because of Richard coming in at 6am to research, he started to come and ultimately most of that small office started to come in very early …. just because of the influence of one person.

Fabien also mentioned how it turned into a game to see who would be the first person in the office, so often times someone was in the office by 5:30am just to be the first one.

I am not exaggerating these 4 men who were living in the South of France during the best time of year — they would arrive to the office by 6 am every day.

Fabien, at the time was just a young “super” French kid from Lyon … Richard was in his early 20s, British … Marek, mid 20’s … Australian … and James Lloyd was in his mid 30’s … very British…. but it did not matter how old they were or where they came from … they were the perfect team who wanted to be the best.

They worked in a unselfish support team … when one was losing focus, the others would act like coaches helping get the person (most of the time, if I remember correctly, it was Fabien) back onto track.

E-Espana sold out very quickly … and back then, “selling out” meant the event doing close to 1,000,000 euros.

Of course this team of 4 went onto other events that sold out very quickly — they were always the best team in Europe for the company… but I will always remember them as “Team Espana…”

When I transfered everyone to Barcelona … Fabien did not go, but the rest of the team kept on going …. and the team was still successful, but never as great as they were as a team of 4 during those 13 months they were together.

Since I launched this blog … I have received emails from Richard, Marek and James … and of course Fabien, all four are still making it happen … Richard and Marek live in Australia and the two of them have a successful company together … James is the Sales Director of a media giant in the UK … brilliant people …. and I am very proud to have worked with them and its very rewarding to see how successful they have become.

… why did the team work so well together….why did they want success as a team so much?? I am sure it was not for the love of money … reflecting back on those guys they never spent any money on anything …

in my opinion, it was for the “victory” as a team together … and they won.

For certain Richard and the team and their 6 am ritual … had a massive positive influence on the office….and I want to point out that Fabien Faure is great today and I suggest it all began back then … with Richard and team espana, the best team I have ever seen.

The world we live in today is different to the one in 2000, however, the power of positive influence still remains the same.

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2 thoughts on “ode to the old school

  1. A perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, this team made a particular impression in the way that no matter who individually had success, it was the team that celebrated.

    The only thing I would add is how close the team was away from the office. Their team ethic didn’t end when they put the phones down and stepped out of the door, they always looked out for each other. To a man, great people to work with.

  2. Paul became a member of that 6am club as well … another great example of someone who made it happen.

    Its amazing how much one person’s positive attitude and dynamics (Richard McBride’s) can have a positive impact on the whole.

    I challenge the reader from today to focus on becoming an inspiration for those around them … be positive when everyone is moaning…come earlier..work harder…be more focused ….and watch the team and people around you will step up
    readership for this blog is between 800-1000 a day so I am not talking just to naseba …

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