IT might seem that sales and football don’t have a strong connection, but a GPH employee has found his ball skills have helped him score at work.
Bob Summers, 60, who works as an external sales advisor with GPH Builders Merchants, spent his younger years playing semi-professional football for a number of Highland League teams.
The leading independent builders merchants, which has been operating in the North-east for over 30 years, has offices in Inverurie and Westhill, and Bob spends his time on the road meeting customers to promote the company’s extensive range of products.
Although he gave up playing 25 years ago, he finds that people still recognise him and stop to speak about his time on the pitch.
Bob, who was brought up in Aberdeen, said: “As I played for a number of years I have a lot of contacts through football, and I find that some doors are definitely opened because of my past. I have found that it is a good way to network with people.
“It’s definitely a talking point, and as my role with GPH means I am out and about on the road meeting customers on a daily basis, I find my footballing days are common ground with a lot of people I see.”
As a teenager, Bob left school with the intention of serving his time as an electrician, but things soon changed when he was given the chance to play trials for Forfar football club.
He pursued a career in sales, and juggled his early working life playing semi-professional football with his full-time job.
Over the years he played for Forfar, Inverness Caley, Buckie, and was the manager of Cove Rangers when the team won the Highland League. He was also actively involved with youth development coaching in Aberdeen.
“My footballing years were fantastic, but were hard work as I was holding down a full-time job at the same time. Due to the nature of the game, I could be in Aberdeen during the day, and then I would have to drive up to Inverness to play in a match at night time.”
Bob also finds his time on the pitch can also be a good ice-breaker with clients as he has some interesting claims to fame.
“I met the late legendary Portuguese footballer, Eusebio, and have also played against Gary Lineker in a friendly match. As the bulk of my customers have an interest in football, they know who I’m speaking about and it can be a good way of starting a conversation.”
Although the match was the love of his life in his younger years, Bob prefers to watch football at home after a busy day at work.
“As I divide my time between the Inverurie and Westhill branches of GPH, and spend a lot of time out and about meeting customers, I prefer having time to myself these days.”
Sales and marketing director for GPH, Nikki Mortimer, said: “Bob has a lot of contacts from his footballing days, and certainly has a lot of interesting stories to tell. He has built up a real connection with his customers during his time at the company.”
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Contact: Donna Ross