The name’s Trotter, Derek Trotter and the world of commerce is my forte... But the commodities game ain’t all champagne and skittles. It’s a rocky road full of potholes, speed cameras, people who don’t indicate, mouthy cyclists, and all sorts of obstacles designed to get on your tits.
You Know It Makes Sense is the definitive business guide, designed pacifically to help steer you in the right direction. Packed full of insider knowledge, tips and warnings, think of it as your personal stat-nav on the corporate highway. Whether you’re a Director, middle management, a junior staff hotshot, or just the one that fetches the sandwiches, this is the book for you.
Here are ten tips from my book that’ll guarantee business success. Trust me, I’ll knock you bandy!
1. Look the part
- Wear a suit. This goes for the fellas and the ladies.
- Use a money clip instead of a wallet. Don’t be afraid to flash your wad.
- It don’t matter how good you are, nobody wants to do business with someone who smells like a Big Mac.
Just as it’s very important to put the right petrol in your motor, it’s also vital that you put the right food down your gullet. Don’t skip breakfast – I did once back in 1979 and it was bloody ’orrible!
3. French 101
It’s sometimes not enough just to speak English. You see, it’s a well-known fact that 90 per cent of foreigners come from abroad, so it goes a long way if you can speak at least one or two other lingos.
Here’re a few quick French phrases to help get you started:
Au revois = Hello/all right?
Bonjour = Goodbye
Potage bon femme = Need I say more?
Mais-ouis = You’re welcome/don’t mention it
À la bruschetta = Silly me/what a wally!
4. Sales technique
I could sell rice to the Chinese, me. And I have! The point is that you can flog almost anything if the price is right. You just need to come at it from the right angle:
- Briefcases that can only be opened by professional safe crackers? More like Old English vinyl document holders for the security conscious yuppie.
- Fur coat that looks suspiciously like tabby? Nah, that’s Epheopian mink, innit? You don’t agree with the fur trade? That’s all right, it’s stimulated Epheopian mink!
Be patient - A quick deal is always preferable, but the right deal is always worth waiting for, so be prepared for long talks. I negotiated a deal once that took the best part of half an hour!
Know your opponent - Knowing a little bit about the person you’re negotiating with can go a long way. For instance, if you know they like a drink, catch them when they’re in the boozer – all the better if they’ve had a right skinful as they probably won’t remember any of it the next day.
6. Keep an open mind
It’s very easy to get tunnel vision in this business, which is why I’ve always made a point of being flexible to new possibilities.
Fire-damaged woks? I’ll have a butchers.
A one-seat see-saw? Why not?!
Musical doorbells that play thirty-six different national anthems? Put two hundred aside for me.
Remember: He who dares wins, he who hesitates...Don't!
7. Job satisfaction
If your team ain’t happy, the whole business suffers. Here’s some ways to keep your team firing on all four cylinders.
Words - Words can have a big impact on morale so choose them carefully! Use a combination of direct, powerful and uplifting words. For example- instead of just saying ‘Hurry up!’ try ‘Get a move on you dipstick!’ or ‘Oi, come on you dozy twonk, these crates aint gonna shift themselves!’ Mix it up and be a bit creative.
Company functions - Chuck a good Christmas do. No need to get fancy. A few swift halves at your local followed by a festive Ruby Murray should do the trick.
Emotional blackmail - If all else fails… a smidge of emotional blackmail can work wonders.
Work hard, play harder.
All the top tycoons take their leisurely pursuits seriously. Take Dickie Branston for example, who, when not running an airline or knocking about on Decker Island with Leonardo Di Cappuccino, gets his kicks floating round the stratosphere in giant helium balloons.
9. Table manners
So you’ve lined up a potential player in your next earth-shuddering business venture and you want to sweeten things up and seal the deal. A slap-up meal is in order. Here what not to do at the dinner table to avoid looking like a plonker.
- Don’t click your fingers to get the waiter’s attention. It’s considered rude. A short, sharp ‘Oi!’ or ‘John!’ will suffice.
- If there’s a bowl of water with a slice of lemon in it on the table, it’s for dipping your fingers in, not drinking.
- Tip generously. Nobody likes a tight-wad.
- I’ve always felt that a simple ‘please give my condiments to the chef’ is a nice way to go out.
10. Never stop believing!
When Columbo set sail to discover the new world, do you reckon he turned back when things got a bit choppy? The law of averages dictates that things won’t always work out as planned, and sometimes even your bestest ideas end up going for a burton.
Not all hatchlings are destined to soar. What matters most is that you keep bunging ’em out of the nest!
Remember: When life knocks you off your horse, get straight back on and start pedalling!