The Big Issue Sales Challenge was by far the most hands-on session in the inaugural GENIUS week at Dennis, a series of talks and events programme to test, stretch and inspire the advertising sales team. Ten members of the team took to Oxford Street to sell The Big Issue. Some Big Issue vendors helped them by giving them advice and encouragement on the day. “Brian was really friendly and gave us insight on the different types of people he encounters and the multitude of ways someone can tell you no,” said Jessica Quinney, one of Dennis’s new graduate interns, about her vendor.
Even for trained salespeople, selling The Big Issue was difficult. “It was much tougher than selling ad space,” according to Karl Taylor. There was a general consensus among the competitors that the challenge was much more difficult than they had originally anticipated. “I was not prepared for how the general public would react to someone trying to talk to them,” said Tim Deeks. He was shocked by some of the reactions he got.