DIARY: Crash and burn - Guardian sales executive bores her client to death

Linda Walmsley (nee Dale) is now a recruitment consultant with Walton Churchill Search & Selection, but she went in for the kill as a sales executive on The Guardian.

Linda Walmsley (nee Dale) is now a recruitment consultant with

Walton Churchill Search & Selection, but she went in for the kill as a

sales executive on The Guardian.



It was late afternoon and Linda was making one of her first field sales

calls. She was nervous, and admits that she spent the first ten minutes

of the meeting wondering whether she was making any impression at

all.



The client was leaning on his arm looking very uninterested. He

eventually dropped the arm on to the table and fell asleep on it.



’He had been a bit of a joker throughout the meeting,’ says

Walmsley.



’And I couldn’t believe he’d really fallen asleep. I thought this was

just another of his tricks.’



When he refused to wake up, Walmsley called in his secretary, hoping he

would stop his pranks when she came in to the office. ’His secretary

instantly realised something was wrong,’ she explains. ’She called the

company’s resident nurse. They did some tests and it wasn’t long before

they were able to inform me that he was actually dead. He had died of a

cerebral haemorrhage during our meeting.



’You can imagine the reaction in the sales department at The Guardian.

For weeks people were suggesting that I might have taken the concept of

a hard sell just too far.’



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