When people ask me what I do for a living. I tell them …
I speak at events and run workshops for organisations that want to Attract, Develop and Retain More Clients.
But what I really want to say is …
I watch trashy TV (yes, even Corrie & I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here), love movies like Blade Runner, High Society and Batman (so much cooler than Superman) and anything from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and Alfred Hitchcock. I love upsetting people when I say “Shawshank Redemption is rubbish” ok, ok, I know it’s not but their reaction is hilarious.
I love Bowie (apart from Lets Dance), Prince and dance music (however, when I go to a club or a dance tent at a Festival I look like someone from the Drug Squad – so get the floor to myself)
My outfit of choice is either a flowery shirt or kilt – tho’ not necessarily together
My latest hobby is trying my hand at doing Stand Up Comedy – not only is it great to do, but it also pushes me out of my own comfort zone and develop skills and techniques into what I do for my ‘day job’
Hi or, as we say in Glasgow, “how ye diddlin’?”
I’m Stuart Harris and as you’ve probably guessed I don’t take myself too seriously when I’m ‘off duty‘
However, when I’m ‘on duty‘ I do take seriously what I do. I still use humour when I speak at events or run workshops, I believe that ‘people learn when they laugh and feel engaged’ but realise that I’m not doing a stand-up routine and always strive to make sure there are massive takeaways every time “I’m on” – if I didn’t, I would get fantastic feedback on ‘very happy sheets’ but the group wouldn’t develop and I wouldn’t be invited back. That’s certainly not the case (I’ve yet to knock on doors for new clients – my diary is full of repeat bookings or recommended introductions.
So, enough of that – what about me? what’s my background? how did I get to where I am?
When I left school, I was easily frustrated with lessons (particularly in Maths); so when I asked questions like about Matrices or Trigonometry “when am I ever likely to use this in my life?” and was told “you just need to learn it, it’ll come up in your exams” I used to sit there and think surely “there has to be some application for this that would make sense to everyone not just me”. So when I run sessions now, I am very conscious to explain techniques and process that will ensure that ‘the penny drops’ and the audience get that “aha moment”
On leaving school, I stumbled into working as a waiter in a local hotel – I loved it. Especially Front of House in the bar or restaurant where I got a chance to mix cocktails or cook at the table … I got to show off. I went on to spend 12 years in the hospitality industry in various Junior, Senior and Regional Management roles. Even in those early days, I caught the Customer Service bug and when running an hotel in St Andrews, Scotland (where most of his customers were visiting American golfers), the hotel owner sent me over to his two hotels in the States to see how they delivered Five Star Service, I brought back what I learned and put it into practice at the hotel and became regarded as one of the best young hoteliers in Scotland.
My first ventures into the World of Sales world was with Coca-Cola, where I held a number of Sales Consultant and Management roles – during this time I was often called upon to support Regional and National training initiatives, which is where I developed my two favourite skill sets Sales & Service and Training & Development. The Training and Development bug bit me hard and I was determined to move into this area at some time in my career. So, during my time at Coke I completed the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s ‘Certificate in Training Practice’.
With the CIPD’s CTP under my belt I moved out of Coke to became the Regional Trainer for a telecoms company and then Sales Trainer for a group of Global Outsourced Contact Centres, within a year I was promoted to Head of Training and Quality Assurance.
In 2006, I ‘went out on my own’ as an Independent Training Consultant & Keynote Speaker.
Since then, I have been involved in the design and delivery of Sales, Customer Service and Management training for numerous clients, with whom I have sustained long term relationships.
I have been involved in the launch of 3 call centres for SKY and 2 centres for Tesco Bank. When one client of my clients was at risk of losing a major contract, I was called in to improve Sales Performance, which I did and then helped save over ‘300 seats’ and a rather lucrative contract.
I have turned around under-performing sales teams, developed and introduced a 5-Star Customer Service programme and worked with clients, large and small, to improve their Sales and Customer Service offering. (Check out my one of TeleSales Case Studies here)
I work regularly with clients to ensure that their training and management teams have the capability of taking on training and development programmes that I have introduced, therefore making them more self-sufficient and cost-effective.
I now speak at conferences, run workshops and coach people in Sales and Service roles as well as working with many Small Businesses and Individuals who “don’t want to sell, but need to”, to help them grow and develop their businesses.
My goals are simple, help clients:
Win More Customers, Serve Them Better & Keep Them Longer
If you’ve just GOT to know more about me, here’s some trivia:
- At 58, I still think I’m too young to have kids
- My first ever concert was when I was 12 – my dad was taking my big brother Kenny to see David Bowie doing the Ziggy Stardust gig in Glasgow. My mother insisted “if you’re taking Kenny, you can take Stuart too. I want a night of peace & quiet” that was the last night she ever got peace & quiet
- Since then I’ve been to see Bowie live 22 times, Prince 16 times and Frank Sinatra once
- Lorraine Kelly from the Telly has been one of my best pals since the age of 13
- I set myself a goal this year to complete my first 10K in aid of Charity – I went from Couch to 10K in 7 weeks and raised over £2,600 for the Brain Charity Trust
- Three years ago, I co-organised a School Reunion – 40 years after we joined our secondary school (many of us are still meet up every month or so for a wee sherry or two)
- In 2015-7 I was the Regional President of the Professional Speaking Association (Scotland). Of course, I insist that we are a Nation not a Region and called myself the National President when I am around other Regional Presidents – much to the chagrin of Board & other Regional Presidents
- At the time of writing this, I am one of only 3 people in the UK that is both a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association and the Institute of Sales & Marketing Managers
Each year I speak at around 7-8 Robert Burns Suppers – either Addressing the Haggis, Toasting the Lassies, Delivering my own Immortal Memory of The Bard, singing songs or maybe even just organising them (I still do a wee turn)
- My brother sadly passed away a few years ago – I still think about him every day. He was my best pal, hero and inspiration
- Although I don’t have kids myself, I absolutely dote on my niece and nephew, Ellen and Alex
- Alex plays professional football and is the only player in the UK to have scored at both National Stadiums (he scored a try for his school, Edinburgh Academy, to help them win the Scottish Schools Under-15 Cup, he also scored for Hibernian FC at Hampden to take his team into the Finals of the Scottish Cup)
- Ellen has just graduated at Newcastle University – She is now the proud owner of a Degree in Music – every concert or play that she has been in since she started school, I’ve sat in the audience crying my eyes out
- It’s official – I am the proudest uncle in any Theatre or Stadium in the country