The Paper Route to Success

John Laing’s knack for salesmanship first appeared when he was 12 years old. The son of a successful Scottish Managing Director, the young John seized his first business opportunity by creating a paper route. They had just moved into the neighbourhood and his family knew no one, but John and his brother knocked on door after door asking strangers if they would like a paper home delivery. Apparently they were convincing, because in a matter of days, they had acquired a long list of names to present as a work proposition to the local news agency.

“My father taught me that if you want something, you have to go out and get it,” explains John. “That is what I did every day in field sales. Now working in a management role I look to bestow this attitude in my sales team.”

Having recently joined Habasit as the UK Sales Director, John brings with him over thirty years of experience in the field. As a teenager and into his twenties, he honed his skills by selling everything from furniture to carpets to custom made bolts. In 1985, he took up a career with Avery Berkel, a company specialising in weighing equipment, and by 1987, John had sold more weighbridges than any salesman in the UK. When he later moved up to Sales Manager at Stevens Advanced Weighing Systems, he increased sales by 125% in his first year. John was clearly coming into his own. With such a promising career, Avery sought him out again, but this time to be the National Sales Manager for the company, managing and motivating salesmen from around the UK. Over the next few decades in the process industry, he would come to run operations in sixteen service centres and manage anywhere from three to nearly seventy salesmen at a time.

“Sales is all about people,” says John, and this is the passion that has set him apart as a leader. When asked what inspires him about his job, his answer is clear.

“Success,” he says. “I do not fail.” It is a theory that has proven true since a very early age.

“Success is also in running a sales force of 17 people and making sure they love their job,” he explains. “We offer an unrivaled product range here at Habasit and it is a fantastic opportunity. We are head and shoulders above other belt providers in both quality and service.”

John’s former experience as an International Level Rugby player has also contributed to his competitive drive and keen understanding of teamwork.

“If you’re a salesman, you want to win,” says John. “And just like in rugby, if you train hard and play hard – you will be successful.”

John has been playing hard ever since he sold his first paper, and he has had a lifetime of success to show for it. Now with a dedicated team of UK sales managers always ready to up their game, John is looking forward to what still lies ahead.

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