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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Trumpet blowing

Wednesday 27th January 2021

Brother RR recently posted about “blowing his own trumpet” in relation to his erstwhile journalistic career and identified his winning ways in the business of conducting interviews. Those skills majored on wheedling  information, hopefully beyond that achieved by his competitors.

I was motivated to blow my own trumpet  in similar fashion. However my objectives lay more in  negotiating and selling and maintaining strong customer relationships, so here are two anecdotes.

Along with one of my trainee reps we are sat in the office of a prosperous managing director signing documents for us to finance the purchase of his new Rolls Royce. I produce the agreement for signing which Mr Director studies.

"That isn’t the interest rate you quoted on the phone.”

I know dam well it is and from experience I know he is playing a game.

“I am sure it is.”

I say no more.

 I fire a meaningful glance at my young rep and hope he keeps silent.

The customer stands up and goes down the office and brews us a cup of coffee. He brings it back to us and I reckon at least five minutes has passed in silence - that is a long time, but he who speaks first is generally lost. Mr Director signs the document passing it back to me and pleasantries continue.

I took a  good customer/ managing director and his attractive wife to a splendid old world pub renowned for its good food, comfortable atmosphere enhanced by its long standing reputation. The lunch went well. We did the whole thing, I think finishing up with a drop of Cognac and good coffee. We came outside afterwards and as Mr Director and his wife were getting into their car he said to her

"I’ve got to  go back to the office Dear to sort a couple of things.”

"You’re not. You’re coming home with me.”

That must have been the most successful business lunch I ever conducted. 


  1. Where did you get "wheedling" and "hopefully" from? There were of course occasions when people were trying to persuade me to publish mere puffery. Then I would be taken out to lunch and immediately handed the wine list; I was in fact being "sold to".

    Interviewing is rather different from selling. Often the interviewee would read the resultant article and be astonished by his apparent wisdom and brevity. Once I hammered an MD with difficult questions in public at a press conference, revealing that his company was not half as "green" as he imagined.

    The result was unexpected. One of his satraps phoned me and said the MD wanted me to address his team of salesmen who would all be drunk after their annual sales meeting. That the MD would brief me in his London club. There, the MD said "Tell 'em anything you like but avoid the subject of company cars."

    Guess what I majored on in my speech? The applause was thunderous.

    It was my first formal speech ever in public and my knees trembled throughout, despite the laughter. But I was able to comfort myself by the fact that a hired car picked me up from home and took me back. Also I felt slightly less guilty about the cheque now nestling in my pocket.

  2. Horn well blown. Give that man a cigar.

  3. Bowlandclimber: Thanks for that. Under my desk is the trumpet I used to blow so amateurishly (Hymn tunes mainly because of their simplicity). Valves stuck. Unmentionable stuff hardened on inside. I've gone far further with my voice into much greater music. But we are what we pass through.

    Is there climbing in Bowland? I thought there was just a Trough.

  4. BC and RR - I was not sure whether BC's comment was directed at my post or RR's comment.

  5. You will have to share the cigar in fraternal harmony.