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Carnoustie businessman on how he makes a difference and why sales isn’t a dirty word

The boss of Vertical Motives Consultancy talks about his business journey and how working across the world helped him gain invaluable experience.

Owner of Vertical Motives Consultancy, Peter Waggott. Image: Vertical Motives Consultancy.
Owner of Vertical Motives Consultancy, Peter Waggott. Image: Vertical Motives Consultancy.

Focusing on customer needs is 100% the most important aspect of Peter Waggott’s business.

Frustrated at the lack of attention shown by some companies and the need to push sales he decided he wanted to do something about it.

In 2015 he launched Carnoustie-based Vertical Motives Consultancy, which specialises in learning and development.

Peter talked us through his business journey.

How and why did you start in business?

I started Vertical Motives Consultancy in 2015. I had worked for global organisations and became frustrated that in their push for sales, they were forgetting to pay attention to customers’ business needs. I wanted to start a company where I could train salespeople to be 100% customer focused. I wanted to make a difference and show people that sales isn’t a “dirty” word.

How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve had the opportunity to work across many different industries in UK, Europe, North America and the Middle East. This has helped me to experience new cultures and see new ways of conducting business. It’s not been easy, it’s been a journey of perseverance and persistence, with many occasions of doubt.

Peter is founder of UK Universities Sales Competition. Image: Vertical Motives Consultancy

Who helped you?

Sandy McCurdy, from Alyth, has been a mentor to me and someone I look to for guidance. He’s always available when I need to ask for advice. We chat about many topics, and we have delivered many training sessions together. According to Sandy, “we’re kindred spirits”, and I’m happy to agree with him there.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

When walking into a room to meet with a prospective customer you’ve never met before, don’t ignore anyone.

What is your biggest mistake?

I was so enthusiastic early on, back in 2015, that I didn’t take the time to focus on my core offering. This meant I became distracted, and as a result, my business didn’t do as well as it could have. Since regaining my focus, my business is growing steadily.

Peter enjoys playing golf in his spare time. Image: Vertical Motives Consultancy

What is your greatest achievement?

I’m very proud of being a founder of the UK Universities Sales Competition. We bring together students and potential employers to facilitate meetings which can lead to a job offer. Business owners can see the students’ undertaking sales meetings, which are critiqued by judges. This year’s event is being held in Dundee at Abertay University and will be the biggest one to date.

How are you managing rapidly rising costs, and how could the government help?

I travel overseas fairly regularly to negotiate new contracts and run training courses. To manage costs, I now try to balance online delivery with face-to-face delivery, but often these decisions are based on what the customer wants.

I think the government should improve public transport by introducing cost effective fares and incentives so that people want to use buses and trains. On business issues, I know that the Federation of Small Businesses continually speaks to all levels of government on my behalf, to make things better for smaller companies like mine.

What do you still hope to achieve?

I would like sales to be a focus within all levels of education and ultimately, to have a sales module at a UK university at degree level. Sales is not just something you can learn on the job. There are important skills and techniques that can be taught and learned, and they can also be great skills for life.

What do you do to relax?

To relax, I try to take time with my wife, Paula, and our grandchildren. I also try to play some golf as I’ve been a member at Carnoustie since the age of eight. I’m a keen reader, too.

What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

I’m currently reading The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett, and I constantly refer back to A Path Through The Jungle by Prof. Steve Peters.

I recently watched the Disney mini-series on ex-F1 Managing Director, Ross Brawn. It was fascinating. They talked a lot about luck, which reminded me of a saying from the golfer, Gary Player, “the more I practice the luckier I get”.

What do you waste your money on?

A glass of cider!

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

I make myself a cup of tea, sit at my desk (if I’m working at home) and read for 20 minutes. This gives me a chance to set myself up for my day. If I’m travelling, I’ll listen to a podcast from either Diary of a CEO or High Performance. Travelling gives me new stories and experiences that I can use in my workshops. It was difficult during lockdown when I couldn’t refresh my content – I just had to use the same old stories over and over.

What do you drive and dream of driving?

Since the pandemic I rarely drive other than to the supermarket. I take buses and trains when I’m delivering workshops and coaching. I don’t dream of driving; however, my dream car is an Aston Martin DB9.