Getting to know you: Richard Lane

Richard Lane

What do you currently do?

I’m a cofounder of durhamlane, a sales performance business. We help people and organisations increase their sales, revenues and profits in a sustainable way.  We do this through three service lines: consultancy, training and coaching – supporting people to act confidently and think commercially; outsourced services – providing lead generation and business development support; and, through our recruitment team where we help organisations build teams of sales people from entry level, to senior roles. We focus on offering sustainable products which contribute to the long-term developmental aims of our clients’ businesses.

What was the inspiration behind your business? 

Lee (Durham) and I are passionate about bringing the words “sales” and “profession” to sit comfortably together. Unfortunately, in our experience, sales isn’t always recognised as a respected career here in the UK, and we passionately believe it should be. That’s why we’ve developed our graduate sales programme, which engages some of the bright young things coming out of our universities, who want to get their feet on the career ladder, to develop and grow as professionals.

We also recognised that there are problems in people’s perception of sales – propagated by stereo-typical pushy cold-callers and doorstep salespeople. And offer organisations the opportunity to move away from these models, increase their revenues, and create better outcomes all round.

Who do you admire? 

One of my heroes is BB King who died last year. He was an incredible musician and one of the best Blues guitarists in the world. People can tell it’s him playing when they hear just one note!  But what was really amazing about him was that, despite all the fame and renown, he was so understated – one of the most humble men you could ever meet. He grew up in, and lived through, the most extraordinary adversity but at all times remained humble, professional and focused on his music which managed to connect him with so many.

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently?  

I’d have converted our training programmes to online delivery much sooner and developed products within the business.  Creating revenue whilst you sleep. For part of my corporate career I was with the fantastic business Skillsoft, the world’s largest e-learning company. Oddly enough, when I set up my own training consultancy, I didn’t immediately create an online training product. We’re currently working on our online content but in hindsight, I definitely would’ve got the ball rolling sooner.

What defines your way of doing business?

We have three core values at durhamlane. We seek to make a measurable difference to our clients – a change which is noticeable and recordable. We highly value our reputation – with staff and clients. And we believe in profitable enjoyment – we want to make money, but we want to enjoy doing it at the same time.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?  

Be focused. Be positive. And begin with the end in mind, as the late Steven R Covey would say.