Early in my career Terry and I shared a carpool. We’d alternate weekly the responsibility for the drive across town, some forty minutes of discussion on the latest footy results, when we’d be off fishing again, perhaps a beer and most importantly what he, my trade mentor, had planned for me prior the day on the print factory floor …
Once I’d completed my ‘time’ – the four years of transition from apprenticeship to tradesman, like many before me, the opportunity for travel arose. So, I took a holiday while Terry moved into sales.
A few years passed and I returned home and just like my former mentor, I found employment in the publishing industry. In fact, I’d joined a firm who were direct competitors to the outfit Terry was working with.
It wasn’t long before we were able to meet, trade events were a huge part of the industry calendar in those times.
‘Any news Terry? The fish biting??’ I smiled as I caught him mid-mouthful of coffee …
‘Not with what you’re offering them!’ Came a spluttering, though thoroughly appropriate reply.
Needless to say, we shared smiles, spent a little while covering old ground, swapping stories and discussing mutual friends – plus a little bit of history – and the footy results!
‘So, how are you finding business, Terry?’ I asked.
… ‘Charlie, I wait for the business to find me.’
Terry was old-school sales, a people person. Never without a story and while not supremely gifted technically, he had the ability to put anyone at ease through conversation. Always with a smile, often with praise for those he met and always looking at the lesson learned if, (on the rare occasion) things didn’t quite go his way.
Terry was someone who had that rare ability to see an opportunity before it actually arose.
We (Terry) talked some more.
‘Charlie, the best piece I can give you just now is to simply believe in yourself, your strengths, believe in what you do and tell as many people about those beliefs as you can. This way, you give your audience the chance to buy-in to your story. Let the people come to you through recommendation, via the trust they have gained through association.’
I soon realised my apprenticeship hadn’t finished at all, it had simply been postponed.
Terry Flynn passed away peacefully earlier this year, no doubt still bemoaning the football (or racing) results and I’ll always remember him for the advice, the support and most importantly the time he offered me in those early days.
RIP Terry Flynn, your memory lives on.