Dr. Jonathan Farrington
Dr. Jonathan Farrington – Photo courtesy of Image Exclusive Ltd

“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including  Anthony IannarinoDave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well. Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions.  You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.

This week I’m excited to feature Jonathan Farrington, an international sales celebrity.  Seriously.  Farrington is CEO of Top Sales World, a unique international online community dedicated exclusively to the profession of sales, drawing together the industry’s best known sales experts who provide unparalleled – and free – information in the form of how-to-guides, articles, webinars, advice, and so much more.  In his career he has personally trained, coached and mentored more than 100K frontline sales professionals and their managers.  You can visit his award winning daily blog here: The JF Blogit

Jonathan, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here, in his own words, is how he works.

Location: Paris, Rouen, Cambridge, London, Toulon and Cornwall. Let me explain. Officially I live in Paris and Cambridge, with rented office space in London. I divide my time equally between those venues, but for family reasons we spend a good deal of time in Rouen. Toulon is the “summer house” but we are also currently looking for a home in Cornwall, hence the frequent month-long visits – June, September and December this year. I have created wonderful work environments in each location, all with their own identities.

Current Computer:  I made a complete switch to Apple two years ago – and I mean complete. I only wish I had had the courage to do that years earlier. So I have the full range now. My main computer is an iMac (Big Mac)

Mobile Devices:  MacBook Pro (Little Jono) MacBook Air (Tiny Jono) plus iPad and Mini iPad. Each has a specific place in my workday – as well as a ludicrous nickname. I also use an iPhone 5

What Apps, Software, Tools Can’t You Live Without? Frankly, the only app I couldn’t possibly live without is Skype, because 99.9% of all my communication is international. I was an early adopter, probably one of the first at the beginning of 2004. All of my work is backed up on two WD My Passport devices and also stored in the Cloud. Five years ago, I began converting my clients to online conferencing/meetings, and three years ago we made the full switch. Now, I only visit with them physically once a year, for reviews and planning sessions. They couldn’t be happier: However a consultant frames his/her fees, there has to be a huge element for travel and subsistence, which inevitably is passed back to the client. I have been able to pass back savings instead, and online consultancy, mentoring and training offers so much more flexibility. Frankly, anyone in a similar position who is still flying around the world and living out of a suitcase (no matter how luxurious the hotel may be – or the suitcase) is living in the past, and probably over-charging as a consequence. I enjoy working from my home office, sleeping in my own bed, with my own wife! In terms of time management and efficiency, I developed a spreadsheet 15 years ago which I am still using today. It details out priorities on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly and annual basis and really does keep me on the ball. Additionally, I have a beautiful leather-bound journal in which I write copious notes on a daily basis, and I have to refill it every three to four weeks. I would say that I am definitely not a “heat-seeker” when it comes to new applications, but when friends or family recommend something, I will try it out. I think I have everything I need, but I am very open-minded.

What’s Your Workspace(s) Like?   They are all different, but all fabulous, with great views – that is a pre-requisite. In Paris we are fortunate enough to overlook one of the most beautiful parks in the city – Parc Monceau. In Rouen, we live in a small hamlet high up on “Le Plateau” overlooking the city to our right, and to our left, views of the Seine as it meanders its way towards Paris. In Cambridge, we have magnificent views across the “spires” and down below is the famous Parker’s Piece green. In Toulon, the house backs on to vineyards and my study overlooks a stunning valley. If we buy the house we are chasing in Cornwall, which we have already rented twice, my office overlooks the river, and I can fully participate in river life, visually, every day. My studies are all individually furnished to match the style of the house, from oak-panelled book cases, to very modern and minimalistic furniture. Each has it’s own identity, but all share one important feature – comfort!

What’s Your Best Time-Saving Shortcut/Life Hack?   Delegation: I have a fantastic small team, who between them cover all the bases, and as a consequence we outsource nothing at all. For the past 7 years, I have divided my time more or less equally between my consultancy – JFA – and the Top Sales World project, which just keeps growing and developing. However, I have slowly been reducing my consultancy assignments and planning some brand new projects, which I will begin work on in 2015, with a few good chums! Top Sales World will have a new CEO in place, by the start of next year, freeing me to move upstairs and take a less hands-on role as Chairman. I will still have full responsibility for special events, such as the conferences, Awards, Academy, etc. and I will also manage the Partner/Sponsor relationships. My passion – apart from my work, which actually is a mission – is sport. I need to draw a differentiation between fitness fanatics/snobs, and sport. I play sport for fun, I love it, and it just so happens to keep me fit. I don’t need ludicrous gadgets strapped to my body to tell me how fast my heart is beating or how far I have walked, or even how many calories I have burned that day . I know my own body, we have been close for more than sixty years! And if my body has a lapse of concentration, even momentarily, and fails to alert me, my GP will no doubt flag it up when we get together annually to celebrate my incredible fitness J Finally, I must add that I think fitness is a personal matter – rather like religion -– and we each understand what we need to do if we wish to live longer with sustained good health. Idiots claiming to bench-press the equivalent of five trucks, or people who claim to cycle miles and miles during their lunch hours, really do have a problem.

What Everyday Thing Are You Better Than Everyone Else?   Absolutely nothing at all! I truly believe that however good we think are at anything, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands and maybe even millions who are better than us. It should be our on-going mission in life to seek those people out and to continue our education. The day we stop learning and improving we may as well pack up and go home.

What Do You Listen To While You Work?   I only listen to music when I relax. My music tastes really are eclectic, from Puccini to Hendrix. After all, I am a child of the sixties, overwhelmed by such an array of talented musicians and singer/songwriters. Before that, my mother ensured that there was every opportunity to help her indulge her passion for classical music. I learned to play guitar and piano at school, and I played in a couple of absolutely awful bands in my late teens. My vinyl and CD collection is vast, but since becoming one of the earliest Spotify adopters, I use it all the time.

What Are You Currently Reading: I am supposed to know Elizabethan literature inside out, but even Shakespeare bores me these days; I suppose I have over-dosed. Currently, I am re-visiting some of the authors that I was force-fed in my early teens to discover if they are now more palatable: Somerset Maughan, H.E Bates, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Hardy etc. and so far, I have been pleasantly surprised. I read very few sales-related books, but I do read lots of articles and white papers. Only two books this year have remotely excited me:  “Changing the Sales Conversation” by Linda Richardson and of course, “Agile Selling” by Jill Konrath. That is not to suggest that I haven’t read lots in the past; in fact, many of my favorites are featured in Top Sales World’s “Top 50 Best Summer Reads”

What’s Your Sleep Routine: Always asleep by 1.00am, after spending two hours in “contemplation” with a large armganac. It is one of my favourite times of the day – my “thinking and creating time.” After that, no need for reading and I am out like a light. I only ever need six hours sleep, so am up and working by 7.00am.

What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received? Never go back! It was sound advice from one of my closest mentors. And he was right – nothing is ever as we remember it. Like those balmy summer days when we were young, did it ever rain? Of course it did, but we choose only to remember happy times, and so we should. I believe that what comes next is always better, if we choose to make it so – if we can discard all the hurt and the pain and the poor results from the past. But, we have to be prepared to let it all go.

Fill In The Blank: I’d love to see Tamara Schenk and Barb Giamanco  answer these questions. Great girls who are absolute global “rock stars” in their fields.

Special thanks to Image Exclusive Ltd for Jonathan’s photo