Tim Christie: The Sales Guru Still Chasing Business at 80!
In the latest episode of ‘Bob & Jeremy’s Conflab’, Jeremy sits down with his vivacious 80-year-old uncle, Tim Christie, whose boundless energy for sales defies his age. Tim takes us on his business journey, recounting his early days in the advertising world of the swinging 1960s to his current role as a sales powerhouse, working with an Italian engineering company. Throughout the podcast, Tim shares some invaluable insights, amusing anecdotes, and the key ingredients to a long and prosperous sales career. Here are some highlights from Tim, who shows no signs of slowing down!
The University of Life
Jeremy starts the conversation by attributing Tim’s wealth of experience to the ‘University of Life’, and rightly so. Tim recalls his early days in the advertising world, learning a vital lesson about honesty and the importance of being straightforward with clients. “There’s no point being patronisingly polite. You just have to actually say what you mean,” Tim shares, reflecting on an early encounter with a client.
The Eternal Thrill of the Business Chase
Age is just a number for Tim, and it doesn’t deter him from embracing the thrill of the business chase. At 80, he is still fervently engaged, working for a large Italian engineering company handling the UK business. He tells how a New Year’s Eve encounter turned into an opportunity, and he continues to excel in sales. “I still love the chase. I’m working with really clever, interesting, dynamic people in Italy,” says Tim.
Evolution of Business Communication
Tim takes us on a nostalgic trip, recalling the days when telex machines and secretaries were the backbone of business communication. “When I first started in business, it was telex, you’ve probably never heard of a telex!”, he laughs. With the advent of Google and digital advancements, he appreciates how information gathering has evolved, allowing salespeople to research effortlessly at their desks, making it easier to stay ahead in the game.
Secrets of Successful Selling
As a seasoned salesperson, Tim imparts four cardinal rules for success:
- Master your product or service
- Know your competition, inside and out
- Understand pricing strategies
- Skilfully handle difficult buyers
Tim cannot emphasise enough the role of integrity and honesty when dealing with clients and competitors alike! And a positive mental attitude too: “I work for this big engineering company, and I'm always positive – the Italians like the fact that I'm positive and enthusiastic and there's nothing wrong with being enthusiastic!”
The Highs & Lows of Sales
Tim has experienced both exhilarating highs and challenging lows, and memorable highlights include successful partnerships with iconic brands, such as Looney Tunes and Sonic the Hedgehog. He fondly reminisces about his early days selling red and gold flock wallpaper, when a substantial order meant he could have a great evening with a curry and a pint of Special Brew for £1! “The commission was very important because that made all the difference in whether you could take your girlfriend out to dinner during the week or not!” laughs Tim. But whether it was a soft, spongy steering wheel cover or an air freshener, every sale has brought immense joy and a sense of accomplishment.
Striking a Balance: Work & Family
Tim reflects on the delicate balance between work and family life. Admitting that he might have missed some opportunities with his children in his pursuit of building his business, he emphasises the importance of making time for loved ones. “When I was building up the business, I probably was working very long hours... I hope I've made up for that now, but that is definitely a fact of life, you've got to spend time with your children.”
Be More Tim
Tim is an inspiration to salespeople everywhere and he doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. “I asked my wife two years ago, should I stop working? She said why would you do that? I've got my mind, my health... So why not carry on?... at the moment, I've got no intention of stopping!” Take a leaf out of Tim’s book, be positive, be honest, and have passion and enthusiasm for what you do – it’s the key to an ageless and thriving career!
To listen to Tim’s full interview, click here: https://bit.ly/TimChristie or subscribe now on your favourite podcast platform and download the latest episode today!
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