Kevin Price, host of the Price of Business on Bloomberg’s home in Houston, TX, 1110 AM KTEK, recently interviewed Gordon Veniard, a 28-year sales training veteran who set up his own company – thevenworks – in 1995. Prior to this, he spent fourteen years in banking and sales; than a decade as a National Training Manager for the Thomson Newspapers Group in the UK. He now also has a wide range of business publications available from the Kindle Store at Amazon
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
thevenworks allows Gordon, from his base in Northumberland in the UK, to create and deliver a wide range of training and development materials and events for companies in Australia, New Zealand, Southern Russia, United States, Kenya and South Africa. He has also spoken at many meetings and conferences; and has acted as a judge for national advertising sales awards events in the UK.
Tell us your story about the lengths you have gone to get a customer?
When I worked in advertising, one of my Clients sold “fine china” at a series of sales held in hotels around the country. Then, he was exposed as a “fraud” by a TV consumer show. Not in the products he sold, which were genuine (although his prices were higher than you’d pay in a department store). But, in his ads, he used to tell “sob” stories about how ill he was and, therefore, needed to sell off all his stock. The show proved he was in exceptionally-good health when they filmed him out-and-about in his home town. The day after the program aired, he phoned me. Rather than cancel his sales, or lie low, he instructed me to plaster an “As featured on TV” banner across all his ads, and simply carried on as normal!
Do you know of other examples of the lengths businesses have gone through to get customers?
The owner of a country house hotel in England was complaining to a friend about the slowness of business. As the building was from the late-Victorian era, this friend suggested that what was needed to stimulate interest was a ghost. So, they invented one – with a complete back story. Since then, many hotel guests have sworn of a presence in their room in the middle of the night. Some have even demanded to be moved to other rooms. Onea or two even claim to have been chased around the gardens by this demented spirit (usually after a good evening in the bar)
What lessons, if any, do you derive from these stories?
That there is no such thing as bad publicity! Or, as the “fine china” guy said to me: “All the public will ever remember is that they saw me on TV”. He appeared to be right.
GORDON’S KINDLE PAGE: link