Wendy Harris

A one-woman telemarketing firm from Staffordshire is ringing with success after winning a Lloyds Bank national business award and lining up mentoring from one of TV’s Dragons.

WAG Associates delivers expert telemarketing training to sales teams and individuals from a variety of industries across the UK. Wendy Harris, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the telemarketing industry, runs the business from her home office in Yoxall, near Burton-on-Trent.

Despite its strong reputation with a range of clients from design agencies to professional firms, the Covid-19 pandemic forced WAG Associates to adapt its offering to secure its future.

To raise her profile and increase cashflow, Wendy decided to write her Amazon bestselling book – Making Conversations Count: How to Sell Over the Phone – to provide advice on connecting with customers and turning relationships into profit. She also launched a podcast, featuring more than 40 business leaders talking about their career-defining conversations.

Wendy now plans to further expand the firm’s services with hybrid training programmes, growing her podcast guestlist and setting up a retreat for business owners and their families.

After adapting to survive in the past 18 months, WAG Associates has been named a winner in the Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2021 awards, which celebrate firms across the UK.

The prize is a business mentoring session with Steven Bartlett, founder of Social Chain and a new start of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den. He will share advice on technology adoption.

Wendy Harris, director of WAG Associates, said: “When the pandemic hit, I had to find a way to stay in the game. I decided to dedicate time to writing my book on how to start successful conversations over the phone.

“I also used the extra time to start my own podcast about business leaders and the challenges they’d faced in their careers. We’ve had some exceptional guests so far, including Dr Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, Steve Judge, Gold medal Triathlon Paralympian and Nicky Pattinson, who endorses personality as a super power.

“Since the start, every penny I’ve made has been reinvested back into the business. My aspiration for the future is to establish masterclasses that focus on the issues single business owners and their families face. I’m also keen to expand my podcast and have regular guests that can provide a different perspective for listeners.

“I’ve been in the industry since the late 1980s and looking back I’d never have imagined to be where I am now. If I could give one piece of advice to others, it’s that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter how long it takes.”

Gareth Oakley, managing director of business banking at Lloyds Bank, said: “The past year has been an extremely challenging period for small businesses up and down the country – especially those who rely on other businesses to bring in an income.

“Wendy’s drive to carry on and adapt to keep the business alive is inspiring. It’s this determination that makes us excited to see where she takes WAG Associates next.”