In 2005, from a dank Dragons’ Den, Charles Ejogo pitches an umbrella vending machine to a panel of five investors. In typically terse style, a fresh-faced Peter Jones negotiates a deal worth twice the amount of equity initially offered. Appearing relaxed, Jones draws on the vast array of business acumen that he’s acquired over the course of his illustrious, yet turbulent, career.
By the age of 22, Jones had hit the big time. A tennis academy set up six years’ prior had been lucrative enough to support a comfortable lifestyle and a Porsche on the driveway. But his fortunes soon began to dwindle when a cocktail bar in Windsor sold for a £200’000 loss and marked Jones’ first taste of failure. A PC manufacturing business soon followed suit when it was decimated by the 90s recession.
But from here, undaunted by the knock-backs, the entrepreneurial spirit carried Jones through to his most successful venture to date. Phones International Group generated £14 million in its first year of trading and £44 million in its second. Following further lucrative investments, including Red Letter Days and Jessops, his current portfolio now spans a diverse array of sectors and he employs over 1000 people worldwide.
Sales is an integral part of his success, so here are a few tips from the tallest man on the Sunday Times Rich List.
At one point, Jones had lost pretty much everything and found himself sleeping on a cold office floor between seemingly endless shifts – no car, no house, no money. Yet within a year, he would be running his first multi-million-pound business.
“Believe in yourself, never give up and go about your business with passion, drive and enthusiasm.”
Create a solid process
As an advocate of technology, Jones is particularly detail-oriented and keen on creating smart processes that yield transparent results.
“Selling is a process that goes through four key stages: attracting prospects, gathering leads and referrals, getting and keeping the prospects interested, closing a deal by convincing them to buy.”
Despite his often spiky demeanour, he believes that all business should be conducted in an ethical way. Underpinning his approach to sales is the belief that credibility always matters in the long run.
“It is vital to establish credibility between the seller and buyer. Credibility centres on delivering a promise. But it also involves acting fairly and ethically.”
Invest in your people
By providing your sales team with the right training, they’ll have a greater chance of consistent success.
“Gladiators were successful because they were very well trained, well honed, and were given the right tools and strategies for the job. When a Gladiator stepped into the ring, they delivered 99 out of 100 times. Make your sales team the Gladiators”
Empower your sales team
Consumers expect to deal with someone that can make a decision there and then. By giving your team a decent level of responsibility, you’ll empower them to take action when it matters.
“Not only is this good for the customer, it’s great for the individual to know they’re valued and can make some decisions without having to refer to others.”
With an estimated net worth of £435 million and a luxurious 220-acre property in Buckinghamshire, Jones has every opportunity to rest on his laurels. But rather than opting for an ostentatious jet-setting lifestyle, he continues to focus his energy on what he’s always done best – relentlessly growing his empire.
This post is part of a series in which we explore the headline traits of the most accomplished salespeople. Quotes are taken