This year’s Housewares Innovations Awards were held at the National Conference Centre on Monday 3rd February. It was a very successful evening for us, we managed to walk away with two of the three prestigious awards that we were nominated for.
The awards has served as a prime opportunity to celebrate the collective achievements of the housewares sector for over a decade – annually recognising and rewarding the innovative manufacturers and creative retailers that have helped the industry to thrive, not to mention the passionate individuals at the heart of these companies.
The first award won was The Service Award, which we also walked away with last year. We’re very proud that our exceptional service is being recognised year on year. Next up was Salesman of the Year, which was awarded to our very own Peter Ellis, a true gentleman who has worked in the industry for over 50 years. He is the sort of man who reminds us that sales is still a noble profession. He’s achieved a lot during his ongoing career and proved himself not only a fine salesman but also a man of integrity and a cyclist with an eye for the next mountain to climb.
Seven years ago, Peter Ellis was celebrating 33 years in the housewares industry and thinking about retiring with his pushbike to the French countryside. That plan was put on hold when Andy Holt, Managing Director of What More UK, approached Mr. Ellis with a different idea. He asked him to delay his well-earned retirement for a few more years. Looking back on it, that turned out to be a very good decision for both men.
A new sales territory was created especially for Mr Ellis and within a few years he doubled the sales value of that area to a seven-figure sum.
If you ask him how he’s done it, he’s very clear:
First and foremost, I can only do what I do with the support of What More. The way they operate is second to none. If I order something, it gets delivered. If I need something doing, it gets done. It’s the best company I’ve ever worked for and the back-office support is fantastic!
But that’s not the whole story, far from it. Being a great salesman is all about building trust and respect, and Mr Ellis has got to a point where his clients let him write out his own orders keeping the shelves stocked without the need for a constant back and forth.
Mr Ellis’s advice to anyone beginning a career in sales is “always be straight with people and leave every account in a situation where you can go back there. You make your living on repeat business.”
“Relationships grow over time” he explains, “If you take advantage you might make a bit extra in the short term, but they’ll never have you back.”
Looking back over his career, Mr Ellis has seen the industry develop. From the introduction of the internet bringing direct sales online, through to the necessity of recycling and reusing plastics, but one constant has been Spring Fair, held at the NEC in Birmingham. This year he attended his 40th show; that fact on its own speaks volumes.
Peter Ellis is so much more than a great salesman, he’s an elder statesman of industry, and if anyone deserves an award it’s him.
We’re very proud of the entire Wham team.