FanFinders Team Spotlight – Meet Alvin

Name: Alvin Campbell

Position: Business Development

Years with the company: 2 years

Your first ever job…

Believe it or not, it was as a chef. Well I suppose it really should be called cooking by numbers. When I first left school, I had friends working at a motorway service station. So I got in there and was soon moved upstairs onto the grill. Everything was done on a timer, so you couldn’t really get anything wrong [laughter].

How do you reflect on your career journey so far…

This is going to be a long one [laughter]. I actually began by fitting office furniture but was made redundant, which led to starting my own installation company and running that for about 10-15 years in the end. It’s funny because while doing that, I often used to think ‘you’ll never get me sitting in an office’. But the market shifted and I fell into sales. Over the past decade, I really learnt my trade by picking up the phone and speaking to people.

The best thing about working at FanFinders…

I don’t think there’s any one thing, it’s more how the business has been put together and the group of people. Going back, I’ve always been the type of person to put 100% into what I do and if something goes wrong, keep my spirits high and look to the next challenge. At first, it was tricky to grasp some of the processes here because we’re genuinely tech-first and it was all new. But, I don’t give up easily and I’ve enjoyed learning. I love the autonomy that comes from being in control and responsible for my own space.

So, you’ve seen the evolution of digital first-hand…

It’s strange, but I think there are still some people around my age that don’t understand the power of digital. I was recently chatting to my daughter about the first mobile phones. When I worked in the furniture industry, we used to have the original bricks and they were fixed to a box in your car. Back then, people were saying advertising was going to move to mobiles and you looked at them like they were mad [laughter]. Now we’re in this great period for technology.

One piece of advice for someone moving across into digital from somewhere more traditional…

Don’t let fear stop you from jumping in. As far as I’m concerned, the easy part is throwing yourself into learning. I still get things wrong, but it’s all part of understanding. It’s the same reason our business is still moving forward, because we’re always adapting. I know there are companies out there looking at switching over to digital and the pandemic has made lots realise that the type of services we offer are what’s needed.

What makes someone great at sales…

I think it has a lot to do with the make-up of the person. Research is just as important as any call, because you can show your client that you understand their brand and specific needs, which builds trust and makes it easier to discuss what you can do for them. It can also soften the blow of a ‘no’. Knowing you got everything right can actually build confidence for your next conversation and helps to reaffirm what you’re doing as a business. As our technology changes, I’m constantly pulling new information together. It’s great that here we can bring ideas to the table all the time and have real discussions with potential partners.

If you wrote a self-help book, it would be…

Maybe ‘how to discover a new way ’. When I go on holiday with my family, I always have to go outside of the resort. I need to experience the culture of where I am, otherwise you might as well be at home. That’s the type of person I am – I’m curious and get bored of doing the same things. I seek out change and force myself to experience things differently. It’s like when you initially start out, you gain knowledge just by being out in the world and you don’t always realise it’s happening.

Your favourite way to unwind…

I haven’t done so for about 10 days, so I’m going to feel it when I next get out, but I like to run for 30 – 45 minutes after a hard day.

Where you’re travelling to next (when restrictions allow)…

Somewhere in Africa, because it’s this vast continent that we don’t know enough about. I like to visit places where you can just explore.

With your culinary background, what’s your signature dish…

My dad actually taught me and strangely, I always remember the day he took me into the kitchen and said “right, you’re going to learn how to cook”. It would probably be Caribbean soup. 

A movie or TV show you’ve watched recently…

I watched The Upside, which is a remake of The Intouchables starring Kevin Hart, but the original is better. Or, something a bit more edgy, the rerun of Banshee.

And finally, a book you’d recommend…

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight about the birth of Nike, or His Truth Is Marching On by Jon Meacham, which is about the civil rights activist John Lewis.