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
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
’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.’