By Najib Mulema

Charles Opolot,41 is one of the top reigning salespersons in town who have made a great impact in improving the profession.

He is Head of Sales and Marketing at Hai Agency.

The business administration graduate has 8 years experience in marketing purely operating in private sector.

His journey began way back in 2001 as a Sales Executive at Monitor Publications, one of the leading media houses in the country.

His first assignment was to sell classified adverts and with time he was elevated to Senior Sales Executive for two years.

Due to his commitment, Mr. Opolot was promoted as a Client Relationship Manager, a position he held for two years.

In 2005, he resigned from Monitor publications after coming up with an idea with a friend to form a company known as Hai Agency which fully kicked off its operations in 2006 and they pushed for two years.

With his help, Hai Agency managed to launch EU Uganda Corporation Magazine-that documents European Union funded projects in Uganda.

It also managed to launch Reminiscence Magazine- that covers National Resistance Movement (NRM) documents and manifestos.

On top of that, Hai Agency has supported different events both for government and development partners.

In 2008, Mr. Opolot was recalled back to Monitor Publications for a senior managerial position.

To him, he accepted the offer because he wanted to improve his managerial skills as well as get more connections since Monitor is a well established and reputable company in the country.

“When Monitor called me back, I thought I could take back the job. I really needed to improve my managerial skills,” Mr. Opolot recounts.

This time round Opolot bounced back as an Upcountry Sales Manager responsible for business outside Kampala.

During his reign, he managed to outperform his predecessor after almost tripling the company’s annual revenue outside the city by the end of 2008.

“By the time I joined Monitor under that section, the publication was making shs350 million per year but by the end of 2008, I almost made shs900 million.

In 2009, Opolot was recognized by the company’s board for his excellent work.

He managed to run the role until 2012 when he was brought back to Kampala as a Business Manager-overseeing corporate business in Kampala.

In 2013, Mr. Opolot joined Independent Magazine as Head of Supplement and project.

After serving the company for only six months, Mr. Opolot decided to resign after realizing that the company he co-founded was on the edge of collapse so he needed to offer an upper hand to his partner to reinstate the firm’s lost glory.

“After realizing that our agency was going down every now and then, I opted to resign from the Independent Magazine so that I could support my partner,”

From 2014 up to date, Hai Agency with the support of Mr. Opolot has managed to work on a number of successful projects.

Together with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and development partners, Hai launched the WASH journal which highlights the views of development partners in regards to WASH initiative.

They have also supported the Global Run Hand Washing Day that creates awareness of washing hands with soap with an aim of overcoming diseases caused by germs.

Opolot is also the brain behind the annual WASH Media Awards that recognizes journalists who excellently cover Water, Sanitation and Hygiene related issues.

On the other hand, he is also fully involved in the tourism sector.

“I developed the idea to market Uganda through my Magazine known as Travel Uganda and it supports government projects in Tourism,”

Inspiration;

Mr. Opolot is inspired by the fact that in their profession there’s what they call an ‘open cheque’ which means a salesperson can earn more than any other person in the next 10 years.

“A salespersons can determine what they wants to earn in two months since they benefits directly from their budgets,”

Achievements;

He says Hai agency as a company has got organizations inviting them to manage their projects and they have successfully worked with several government ministries like Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Tourism as well as several development partners.

Opolot further reveals that all their products they launched four years ago are growing despite of the many challenges.

Challenges;

According to Opolot, people don’t believe that private sector can deliver and this has led to mistrust.

He says, they also lack adequate capital to persecute their goals.

“While we have all the good ideas, we lack adequate capital to smoothly run our projects,”

Future Prospects;

He reveals that he wants to own a radio station in the near future which shall be supporting the community especially people living in refugee camps.

Advice to fellow salespersons;

“Sales is not about lying, it’s about working hard on a daily basis and if you want to prosper, you need to be innovative; that will keep you on top of the game,”

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