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CHRIS CHIDLEY, EUREST
Bowled over by Chris Chidley's 100% conversion rate, our judges were unanimous in their decision to name Compass Group's business development director at business and industry brand Eurest the 2015 Salesperson of the Year.
Not only did he win all of the seven contracts for which he tendered over the course of a year, he secured the largest Eurest deal in the company's history through his multi-million pound contract with BHS, which sees the caterer tasked with operating cafés and restaurants at the high-street retailer's 171-strong estate. And while Chidley is one of 16 people on the Eurest sales team, his achievements alone contributed to 40% of the company's overall new business gains.
Another notable success in Chidley's calendar was a prestigious £20m deal with Volkswagen Group UK that saw Eurest take over the catering for three vehicle manufacturers: Porsche, Volkswagen and Bentley. His efforts to secure this lucrative contract combined services and revenue from a different business division, far outside of the Volkswagen Group original tender, in order to create greater net value for the client.
Tasked with strategic customer relations, Eurest sales in the north of England, and increasing revenue and profit, Chidley was successful in identifying an opportunity to move into a new business sector by targeting garden centres for on-site catering services.
Traditionally, 98% of these destination businesses have provided catering in-house to their large retail customer market and, having spotted this largely uncontested market opportunity, Chidley invested time in understanding the culture of the sector.
Following extensive research, he convinced Eurest to exhibit at the Horticultural Trade Association where he manned a stand on behalf of the business, which was the only catering provider in attendance. Targeting leading garden centre owners, Chidley nurtured a consultative relationship with key businesses in the sector. He recently won a £5m contract with Garsons in Esher, Surrey, and has several other potential deals pending in that previously untapped sector.
What the judges said
"Chris stands out for having achieved a 100% conversion rate in the year, with seven contract wins including two huge group deals. He clearly thought outside the box to infiltrate a new market by exhibiting at the Horticultural Trade Association show, which has led to Eurest having a strong presence in the garden centre market. His mentoring of younger staff shows he is also safeguarding the future of sales."
Phil Roker, Vacherin
"Chris submitted a very strong entry that demonstrated his proven track record in his sales position. A 100% client retention rate can't be beaten, as well as contributing to 40% of overall business growth. What particularly stood out was Chris's move into the garden centre business. A bit leftfield, but ingenious! His team are benefiting from his experience by delivering strong sales targets themselves and his mentoring should be commended."
Chloe Smith, Lexington Catering
"Chris demonstrated a 100% conversion rate for all tendered contracts. He has brought a unique approach to seeking out new business and he clearly developed and mentored students of the sales academy and launched careers. A worthy winner."
Michele Ribaudo, BaxterStorey
Chris Chidley, Eurest
Simon Houston, Bartlett Mitchell
Stewart McCulloch, Elior
2014 Lucy Wright, Kings Place Events
2013 Jonathan Davies, Centerplate UK