An interview with Alex McMillan of the Success Moves Consultancy
Alex McMillan said he coined the term Success Moves in 1998, he used the term as a brand name for his activities as a freelance sales trainer and headhunter. It was not until 2008 that The Success Moves Consultancy was born offering interview process recruitment days. His wife Tracy became actively involved in the business. It changed from a sole trader to a partnership. She has a first class honours degree in teaching and a career background working with children in primary schools. Alex also has teaching qualifications and together they designed what has become the IP Day and training courses they offer, reflecting professional standards of presenting, learning and recruitment.
The Success Moves Consultancy led by Alex McMillan has now placed over 1000 people in their early twenties, ran hundreds of training courses and consulted to dozens of start-up and established businesses. It has done this in a period of deep recession when most companies were either downsizing or had recruitment freezes. It was financed entirely by the partners.
On interviewing Alex McMillan he said that his generation had seriously let down our young people. We had a ‘Credit Crunch’ which has left them our debts to pay off and taken away the job openings. The National Debt works out as about £50,000 for each person in Britain in their twenties! This has created a very tough job market. This means our young people are not only have a short term problem but are not getting the vital work experience to allow them to progress to the next level.
The Success Moves Consultancy is entirely focused on sales and the beauty about this area of work is it should be self-financing. Unlike say Accountants, HR or IT professionals you can always take on one more sales person. It is with this philosophy as a basic pitch that The Success Moves Consultancy has sold young people into opportunities to prove themselves. “What is a £1000 per month for a trainee if they bring in £5000 per month of new sales?”
The Success Moves Consultancy has now opened websites, videos, blogs and social media channels where it will continually add free resources for candidates seeking positions in sales. This will focus on job hunting and the first 3 months in a sales job. Many new employees drop out in the first three months in any job as it is clearly the hardest period and resources to get through this period are important. There is additionally a website focused on companies but has free modules and videos on sales training skills.
Alex McMillan said even back in 2008 it was clear that as companies were under pressure they tried all sorts of things to survive. Some of these included, charging applicants for jobs, charging applicants for training before they can assume jobs or even just charging people to come to interview. Alex does not approve of these schemes as the applicants need income not costs. Investors might buy franchises or business opportunities and that is fine but we deal with people who need an income to live. Success Moves Partnership does not recruit candidates into these types of companies. Alex says his son, also Alex McMillan, had to resource £100,000 for a course on becoming an airline pilot, his life dream. Alex McMillan Senior considers this unfair as it clearly makes the competition for jobs prejudiced. The Success Moves Consultancy made a policy decision to never charge candidates anything. It never has and never will. Even the published books of Alex McMillan are not available to purchase through one of their events. We do happily recruit for any genuine sales employment opportunity: employed, self-employed, part time, freelance, commission only, basic and commission, hourly rate, piece rate are all acceptable. Never if there is a charge to the applicant involved in the recruitment process or after.
The Success Moves Consultancy prides itself on its innovation. All of this has come from its own personnel and from candidates at events. The current candidate’s website was an answer to what we were being told what was wanted. To help us place people we offer one deal where companies pay a percentage of sales. This means if a company does not get people from us that work out we do not get paid. As you can imagine that has proved popular and helped us create vacancies.
The Success Moves Consultancy itself recruits graduates and professionally qualified personnel as consultants on an ongoing basis with a three month induction training period. It has a unique business model and internal structure designed to fully use their skills in a variety of tasks. Although they start in sales they move quickly to account management and consultancy.
On asking Alex what has been the most negative experience in building and running the business. He said it can be a bit of a shock how many people envy the success of others. Placed candidates through us and other organisations tell us how even those closest to them run down their success. HR Managers report that ex employees and those rejected slander them all over the Internet and by direct mail. The other thing that concerns Alex is that the job hunting game can be very stressful full of rejection and quite expensive, especially to someone unemployed. Success Moves Consultancy are producing videos with techniques to build interview confidence etc to combat this. The financial pressure is best alleviated by moving fast and getting employed quickly. Rejection is the territory of any sales person so this alone should not be a problem but interview rejection is far more personal than failing to sell a product to a prospect. Sometimes, we see people that have been overwhelmed with not being successful. The sad thing is they become negative and do even worse in future applications. In bad cases they fall into ‘blamer’ mode and as soon as you don’t take responsibility you have a real problem. Success Moves Consultancy is producing some materials to help in self-marketing in and outside of Success Moves Consultancy positions.
Outside of work Alex says he loves sailing, reading and learning Spanish as he will be spending a lot of his time in the Spain/Gibraltar office.
On plans for the future Alex McMillan says he and his partners are opening office across Europe and consolidating their leadership in the sales area. Success Moves Consultancy will keep its focus on sales as this is now the established brand and their expertise. There will be more emphasis on training and consultancy as well as talent sourcing.
Alex is now an Apprenticeship Ambassador and in this role volunteers his time to help promote employment.