Posted by: Sales Makers | July 25, 2017

The first Club chain to go on the London Stock Exchange

Let me tell you a story…

I was presenting at Club Industry in 1989 with my partner Ray Gordon, on pre-sales; how to sell memberships before you actually open a club. Club Industry was just being recognised as a major convention and the room we had was pretty large. One of the things I used to do when I was presenting was to stand at the door and greet the attendees, look at their name badges – to see where they were from and to put a few names to faces. This was so; that, during the seminar I would address a few people by name. I felt this made the lecture more personal and involved more people in the presentation.

I was looking around the room and noticed a beautiful blond, with legs to die for, dressed stunningly – by herself. (How did I miss her, I thought. And then realised there were two doors.) I made a beeline for her, walked up and introduced myself. I looked down, saw her name, the name of the Club and the city; which was London. And then I did something that I actually hate when other people do it to me.

I’m from New Jersey (save the jokes), but when someone asks – they won’t recognise Haddonfield – so, I normally say Philadelphia. Philly is where I had my first real job, went to University, started my first career and was the fourth largest city in the States with over five million people only a couple miles from where I actually lived. When I started travelling around the US and then the world, people would ask me where I was from and then ask if I knew their cousin or friend or acquaintance out of five million or two hundred and eighty million people in the US.

So, I see London and say: “Oh, Becky – do you know Stuart Dyson?” Her reply: “I had lunch with him last week.” Thank god our Industry is small and it was even smaller then. I was helping Stuart do a deal with an American software company to launch in the UK.      Chit-chat ensued until I needed to take the stage.

I gave the seminar and was pleased to see Becky in the group at the end who wanted to ask a personal question. Her question was: “Would you like to have lunch with me?” I’ve died and gone to heaven, pinch me… “Yes”, I hesitantly replied (NOT) and we made plans to meet in the hotel restaurant. I walked into the restaurant at the appointed time and there she was – an Angel on earthwith another guy – what’s up with that? She introduces me to Steven and begins to tell me the story. Her company was the first UK Club to go onto the FTSE and her CEO was the first woman, ever – who took the company public on the London Stock Exchange on 5 November 1982. In 1988 she initiated a management buyout and delisted – Steven was the accountant who had helped her and the company get off the exchange. This was the first experience that a Club company had on the London Exchange and it didn’t work then either.

However; as a result of the exposure they had been contacted by Bass Ale (I didn’t have a clue who they were) and Bass was interested in converting 50 of their Pubs into Clubs. Beckys’ and Stevens’ question to me was: “Are you interested in helping us launch 50 new clubs in England?” Obviously, I had died and gone to heaven. I said; “Yes”

The next day I ordered new business cards – we’re now Sales Makers INTERNATIONAL!

The name of the Chain was: (see you tomorrow!)


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