Sales Geek - Lancashire’s global services and training business
- Credit: Richard Few
A Blackburn business is helping firms around the world and wants to bring about a global shift in attitudes.
Richard Few has some big ambitions for his young business. ‘We want to change the way the world perceives the sales sector,’ he said. ‘Sales is sometimes seen as a dirty word but we’d like to see it as a profession that people are proud to aspire to – that’s our ultimate goal.’
His Sales Geek company offers sales services and training to businesses around the world, and although Richard is originally from the South East, his firm has its heart right here in Lancashire.
Richard founded the business, which recently moved to new offices in Blackburn’s Cathedral Sqaure, after becoming disillusioned with the corporate world.
He moved to Lancashire from Buckinghamshire in 2014 after starting work for a firm based in Barrowford. ‘I was about eight months into a role as head of sales,’ he said. ‘They had wanted someone in the South East initially but as the role developed I was spending more time in Lancashire.
‘I was staying in a holiday cottage in Roughlee and not spending musch time with my family so when the opportunity came to move here it instinctively felt like the right thing to do. We fell in love with the culture, the scenery and the people. It reminded me of the sense of community I had known when I was young and it seemed like a great place to bring up a child.
‘We rented a place in Grindleton then bought a house in Clitheroe. Being in the Ribble Valley meant nothing to me when I first moved here, but it is such a wonderful place to live – it’s a beautiful place with amazing countryside and wonderful people.’
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After the company was sold he moved on to another job, as global sales director for an American company but wasn’t happy in the corporate culture that surrounded him.
‘I was miserable and didn’t want to be a part of it any more,’ he added. ‘I had a young family and I was in a part of the country I was still getting to know. We could have moved back down south but the other option was to explore an idea I’d had for a business and do it here in Lancashire. We saved up four months of mortgage payments and went for it.
‘The plan was to offer my services to small companies who couldn’t afford a full-time sales director. I was helping real businesses, run by real people who needed to make their business work. Most small businesses are launched by people with products, not with backgrounds in sales and marketing, so that’s where I came in.
‘I probably wouldn’t have had the bottle to go for it if it hadn’t been for my wife, Lucy. It was a bold thing to do and we could have tried it anywhere but we wanted to do it here in Lancashire because people here and been so warm, welcoming and willing to give us a chance and we wanted to give something back. If we had gone back down south I don’t think we’d have had the start we did. People here gave us a leg up and we felt compelled to repay those people who had helped us.’
The business now employs 14 people and in March this year they won three prizes at the Red Rose business awards. But just a few days later the country went into lockdown.
‘We started to get emails from companies who needed to put things on hold,’ Richard said. ‘We felt their pain but we tried to do the right thing by them all the way through.
‘In May some people started to think they’d hit the panic button too soon and things started to pick up again. We got a client in San Francisco and others from around the UK and across the world. We also now have more bluechip companies and we are definitely positive about the future.
‘Our ultimate goal is to change the way sees sales, but we know we may never achieve that. We help businesses around the world but fundamentally we want our contribution to be here.’
To find out more, go to salesgeek.co.uk.