Save a smile for travelling reps like me


By Nick Wiseman

At the beginning of last month WatchPro editor Rachael Taylor sent me an email asking if I wanted to help contribute with a column for the next issue, but said I wasn’t allowed to promote or plug the brands I represent (Fortis and Ellicott, if you’re interested). The column then turned into a vacuous void.

After been threatened with a photo of my face being blown up to replace the blank column caused by the impending deadline I thought I’d better scribe a few thoughts.


As I write this, I have just returned from a two-day road trip encircling a large proportion of England encompassing 15 counties and more than 700 miles visiting a network of shops I supply. This is normal and a part of my job I enjoy very much as it allows me to witness the changing seasons and beautiful landscapes, cities and towns of the UK. I counted six melting snowmen from North Yorkshire to East Sussex, and the temperature was pretty consistent.

I have a growing number of accounts now and after a few hours of driving I genuinely look forward to a friendly face and a good catch up and chat about business and the industry at large, rather than random small talk with hotel receptionists and camping equipment salesmen on an evening.

Until I arrived in Birmingham for my 2.30pm appointment yesterday the longest conversation I had in person was with a tall skinny passionate man was carrying out a fire drill in Cherwell Valley Services just off the M40 as he called out dramatically “don’t worry folks, it’s just a routine fire drill, it will all be over soon” to the small crowd of mothers, babies and aging holiday makers joining me trapped in the toilets behind a descending fire shutter. Five minutes after escaping from this scene I was captured again inside WH Smiths as I attempted to leave with some Lucozade.

As all my accounts have now become friends I am often staggered by the reaction when I visit new potential shops, often just to drop off a catalogue and introduce myself. I have commonly had a long drive to arrive at the destination, and have normally carefully considered which shops I think might be appropriate.

So please smile when you see me or another rep crossing your threshold and appreciate that without the endeavour of travelling sales people much of the beauty of this industry would be lost.


This guest column was taken from the March issue of WatchPro. To view a digital version of this issue online click here.To contact the editor about writing a guest column for WatchPro email rachael.taylor@itp.com


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