“90% of success is just turning up” – Woody Allen


What can he teach you?
What can he teach you?

I see this man pretty much every time I head through my local train station – Bristol Temple Meads.

He’s there in the morning, there in the evening – amazingly diligent.

You can learn valuable business lessons from him.

Because not only is he amazingly diligent: he’s also imaginative.

As you see he’s wearing a silly hat – it was St. Patrick’s Day.


It made him hard to miss … and it raised a lot of smiles.

Just about your most important challenge is to be noticed.

Another reason he impresses me is that he’s very persistent.

I have walked past him at least 15 times.

I actually said to him once “If you persevere I’ll probably end up giving you some money. ”

Friday was the day I did.

Never assume that because people don’t respond the first time you speak to them. Or the second time. Or the third time or the fiftieth time … they’re not interested.

They could respond eventually.

My friend Murray Raphael used to say “People buy when it suits them, not when it suits you.”

The last time I counted we were sending out something like 370 emails offering free advice to people who subscribe to Ask Drayton.

I was astonished to learn that some people actually sign up after 3 years.

I was also astonished that quite regularly I get e-mails from people saying “I’ve been thinking about using your services but I can’t afford it.” or “I’m thinking about using you but I’m not ready yet.”

You never know when people are ready to buy.

They buy when they need to – maybe when their situation has changed and they suddenly have a need for what you sell.

What else can you learn from this chap?

Well, if you’re selling the Big Issue – a charity paper – or anything else, one of the smartest moves you can make is to be in the right place.

Bristol Temple Meads has got to be one of the best places in Bristol to be seen. It’s crowded all day long.

He’s the first Big Issue guy I’ve seen in the subway there.

Another thing that helps in your life, whether you like it or not, is motivation.

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully” – Dr. Johnson.

When I said to this guy a couple of weeks ago that he seemed to be there every day.

He smiled and said “I’m married.”

If you do what I do – i.e. you write and hope people will read – open your eyes, look around you, and especially watch out for what people who make money on the streets do.

You can find lessons everywhere – just as with this gentleman – and the best are very rarely found in jargon-strewn guff about marketing.

The lessons here?

  1. You must above all get noticed.
  2. You are more likely to get noticed if you’re in the right place: targeting matters more than wacky ideas.
  3. But a relevant wacky idea helps
  4. Don’t assume people aren’t interested if they don’t buy. Never give up.
  5. If you’re not motivated – and you can’t motive others – you won’t succeed: morale is half the battle
  6. Keep your eyes open

By the way if you find this advice at all useful why not sign up to get my Helpful Ideas, if you aren’t doing so already.

You’ll get the lessons of a lifetime.

And if you want me to give you most of those lessons in two days, well, keep your eyes open for my Last Hurrah event in Bristol on 28/29th June.

You’ll get full details this week.

About the Author


In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.


  1. Finally …
    The pleasant surprise to see good old legend publishing in modern pixels and fonts.
    There is more business wisdom here, roaming in ether, than many high rise in Manhattan with some change to spare.

  2. Miguel

    Best e-mail ever Drayton! Thanks.

  3. Sunita Woodcheke

    Your stuff is so beyond incredible. Please put a way for me to repost to my Facebook page. Lots of people could learn from you

    1. Drayton

      Can you write to Kelly@DraytonBird.com and she will tell you? Sorry to be so slow in replying. A lot of questions and comments vanished

  4. Hi Drayton
    I am as poor as a church mouse & trying to do too much for one person. I love your e-mails as they are short & sweet & get one thinking. One day when I have some money I will contact you. So as you say never give up hope.
    When I think of slitting my wrists I think of how many peoples opportunity arrived the day after they departed this world. Needless to say my glass is always half full & I live in eternal hope.
    Have a Happy Day

    1. Drayton

      Sorry to be so slow in replying. A lot of questions and comments vanished

      Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Coolidge

      Courage is the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Churchill.

      I have spent many many thousands of £££ in the last twelve years – maybe over £200,000 – on something I was sure would work eventually, and now it is.

  5. Great post Drayton – thanks for the helpful reminder.

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