Why are we Called Sharpstone?
Len Sharpstone - The greatest leader I have ever worked with over a 30-year career in sales.
Right at the start of my career in Sales, Len saw a young, arrogant, outgoing person who wanted to get from A to B in the quickest time and with doing as little as possible to get there.
The very first lesson that Len taught me is that there is NO shortcuts in Sales.
At the start of my sales career, my role consisted of cold calling on companies to sell Stationery, I was part of a team that was doing ok, some salespeople were achieving target some were not. The standing joke amongst the team was ‘If Len is coming out with you, he hates Cold Calling so plan a day of Cold Calling and he will be gone by 11am’.
As a stereotypical young salesperson who was easily influenced, I performed at a mid-team level and certainly achieved reasonable sales but nothing outstanding.
On a cold Monday in February 1993, Len had scheduled a day out with me on field accompaniment, you have guessed it, I planned a day of Cold Calling hoping Len would leave me at 11am or even earlier. At this stage of my career I did not recognise the value of a great manager let alone a great leader.
Len did not want to go Cold Calling, instead he asked me an amazing question that I will never forget…
Do you want to continue to be average or do you want to be the best you can be?
I thought about the question, I was ambitious, I wanted to be the best I could be, I wanted other people to see me as successful, I wanted the good things in life, I wanted my family to be proud!
My answer to Len was ‘I want to be the best I can be…’
We stopped cold calling and drove to a hotel in Hemel Hempstead where we spent the entire day understanding my WHY, not the HOW or the WHAT – MY WHY.
He then spent the entire evening with me working on a plan which worked on the HOW & the WHAT.
For the first time in my life I had a plan, a plan that was mine, a plan that I believed in and a plan that was defined and was SMART.
The plan was detailed and HOW I was going to achieve it meant sacrifice and tenacity, the WHAT was that by June of 1994 I would have received my first promotion in the company. This was the first time in my life that I have I had defined a clear goal; my reason WHY was clear, and my self-belief was total. Under the guidance and support of Len, I achieved my first goal in July 1993, 11 months ahead of schedule. In subsequent years up to 2003, I went on to win numerous awards, Salesperson of the Year, Key Account Manager of the Year, National Account Manager of the Year, Sales Manager of the Year.
Although I had moved on from Len as my direct line manager, we developed the closest of relationships, the old team joked that I was ‘the son of Len’, we even spoke the same. Len saw something in me and tapped into my WHY, he spent time understanding me and he spent time helping, coaching, and supporting through the entire 10 years with the company.
Len was the greatest Leader, Mentor, Coach and Manager I have ever had, his values his leadership is something that I have aspired to be over the past 20 years, if I am faced with a problem or an issue or simply how to communicate with someone to get the best out of them, I will always recall memories and ask myself – How would Len have done this.
I could not have thought of a better tribute than to name our business after a man who took time to develop and understand business, he always looked at three key principles for growth:
Len is no longer with us but his legacy in business lives on through Sharpstone.
Sharpstone is a Results Driven organisation. We deliver what we say we will deliver and having been used to working in major corporate organisations delivering huge growth, we understand and can demonstrate how we have achieved this. Delivering growth in any organisation is not just about hiring great salespeople, it is about having the Right Strategy, the Right People and the Right Customers. We will deliver a 3-dimensional approach that is proven and works!
- always deliver the results committed to.
- work in partnership, with empathy and become trusted advisors.
- communicate and take responsibility.
- be recommended by every client we work with.
- grow your turnover.
- grow your profits.
- deliver people engagement.
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Over 30 Years in Sales Leadership
Richard has spent over thirty years working with companies that have ‘Growth’ at the centre of their DNA and the past seventeen as a Sales Director in large corporate organisations. He is a results driven sales specialist, working with product or service led organisations with large sales teams.
Richard has a reputation for working with established businesses with sales growth issues, or businesses that require a turnaround.
He drives sustainable growth through delivering high-performing sales teams and sales leadership.
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