The Xerox years, where it all began

I joined Xerox in New Zealand around 1975. Until that time I was a woeful Radio Technician. I thought like a technician and it is just amazing how I came to end up selling.


The motivation to sell came a little earlier when I was living in England. I shared a flat with three other kiwi guys and one was Bruce Templeton.

Bruce could sell anything to anyone and at this time he worked as a salesman for a UK cake and biscuit maker. He sold from a van travelling around London to grocery stores etc. I used to be envious when I heard the funny stories over our dinner at night. Particularly about the Indian store owners who removed the special price tag on the Jamaican Ginger and sold them at the true retail price.


I had a crack at selling for an audio distributor in London before returning to New Zealand however I was a dismal failure. I had NO sales skills at all, did not think of reading a book and it was all too hard. I was a technician after all.


I returned to New Zealand by road via Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan in 1971 and started work in the Audio repair shop of a dear friend Andrew Smith. see:


Andrew had a repair shop and he eventually moved into selling audio gear. Once again I became enthusiastic about selling and we ended up with a separate retail store called Torr Hifi Centre in Takapuna Auckland.


Andrew sent me on a Dale Carnegie course around 1974 and this was the turning point for me. I knew I wanted to sell stuff!


I left my employment with Andrew before the 14 week course was over and started selling Life Insurance. I found it difficult, but started to make headway. I read some books and started to make sales. In 1975 my wife won a trip to England and we went back for the first time since 1971. It was then I came across Bruce Templeton again.


Wow, Bruce was now in the money, he lived in Pinner, a beautiful suburb of London. He drove a Red Dino Ferrari and parked it on the street. He had a garage but that was full of wine worth more than the car!


I wanted a life like this and naturally I wanted to know what produced this income. “Well” he said, “XEROX”.


I made up my mind then and there I was going to work for Xerox when I got back to New Zealand. Bruce was the top salesperson for that company in the British Isles at the time and this did not even phase me.


Luckily Bruce passed on some tips; there were no sales jobs in Xerox. I found that out very quickly; there never were. I phoned the New Zealand office every day for weeks, I found contacts there to call and still there were no jobs.

I relayed this to Bruce and was told me “You are not trying hard enough”.


I then called the branch manager Terry Johansen every day until at long last he granted me an interview.

When I got there I was told in no uncertain terms there was NO JOB.


My reaction was “Well I am coming to sell for you whether you like it or not”.


In the end I made it, through total persistence I got in and stayed there for six years. I made more money than I ever had done before and this set me up for a sensational career. I had the last two years in Xerox as their sales training manager and ended up leaving to start my own audio distribution business in a field I was passionate about.


To this day I am in debt to Bruce Templeton, and many others at Xerox such as Terry Johansen, Terry Eames and a bunch of guys well equipped to “Making Major Sales”.

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