In the summer of 1985, I was chained to my desk in London, making my usual, 100, cold telephone calls, to fill my diary, with some display demonstrations, in Cambridge.
I had a few nice clients in Cambridge at the time; Cambridge life Sciences, Phillips Communications, Pye Television, Organika Technika and Cleveland Redpath, along with a roster of smaller companies.
I managed to secure an appointment with a major pharmaceutical multinational, who were interested, in the new Pop Up systems, we were marketing. I turned up in my old, white, Morris Marina, in agony. The seats were so bad, in the Morris Marina, that 5 hours driving, had sparked off the worst case of Sciatica, I had ever had.
The marketing manager was ultra friendly, yet as we exchanged greetings, I found it impossible, to hide the grimace of pain, etched upon my face. My pain turned to abject terror as I was led into a huge hall, packed to the rafters, with over 500 sales consultants, from around the world.
I must admit, I was far from wealthy in those days. My fellow sales consultants at Marketing Aids(I know, unfortunate name for a company), christened me, ‘The Bus Conductor’, on account of the suit, I used to wear. In my first year at MA, I had to wear it every day, as it was all I could afford. My first year earnings were so bad, my bank manager called me in, to thank me for my expenses and ask when my salary was due.
The job was so poorly paid, when I signed off the dole, I took a pay cut. Still it was my first business to business sales job and I grabbed it with both hands.
Needless to say, the presentation was a triumph. I threw myself, the system and the graphics around with gusto, panache and even though I say it myself, with consummate professionalism.
The marketing manager ordered a complete system, the design, the graphics and a shuttle case, for the princely sum of £5,500, well over $8000 at the time. I earned 9% commission on the sale and amazingly, the drive back was devoid of Sciatica.
I was so flush, I treated myself to a greasy, sausage sandwich and weak tea at one of the finest mobile, bijou cafe’s, in a scruffy, lay by, on the picturesque A11 carriageway.
If you had told me today, that you could order, online, the same display package, on your home computer, for a tenth of the price and have it delivered, within 2-3 working days, I would not have believed you.
I was given 3 weeks to deliver this system and even then, it was a push.
Do I miss the commission, sure I do. Do I miss the Sciatica, definitely not.
My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the digital circus.