The 5 Steps to Increasing Sales By 550% in 4 Years
I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. After I picked up my new company car I was on my way to start my first day as a Branch Manager for a national company. I always wanted to run my own operation, and finally got my chance at only 29 years old. My mandate was increasing sales and profits!!
My anticipation grew as I parked my car and headed into the office. I opened the door and stopped cold as my heart sank. The branch was a physical mess, the customer service person was stressed out and there was a pile of messages from frustrated and angry customers.
I plunked myself in the chair behind my desk, looked around and thought, “What did I get myself into? How am I supposed to grow this disaster?”
When I started at the beginning of the 4th quarter the branch was on pace to generate about $600K in sales and would lose about $80K for the year, and it did. Four years later the branch generated $3.3M in sales with a net profit of just over $300K. A lot of water went under the bridge in those 4 years. Here is what I did to turn the business around.
The 5 Steps to Increasing Sales by 550% in 4 Years
1.Before I even attempted to grow the branch I made sure the house was in order, literally. We tidied up and organized the stock room and office area. I also reviewed our inventory to ensure we had an appropriate level of inventory.
2. I met with the branch’s largest customers to get their feedback and did they ever give me feedback! They told me horror stories about shipping errors, invoicing errors and common items being out of stock. They told me everything I needed to do to get and keep their business and turn the branch around.
3. It turned out that the customer service person was the source of the problem. He just wasn’t built for multi-tasking which resulted in all of the invoicing and shipping errors. He was a people person but not great with details. I replaced him with someone who had the capability to do the job properly and the results were almost immediate. Billing and shipping errors were almost eliminated, the branch stayed organized and customer satisfaction improved.
4. With the branch running smoothly I was now ready to start the growth process. I developed an account management plan to grow existing accounts and to find new customers. Clear goals and actions were set and I knew what I needed to accomplish every day.
5. I understood that I was not bringing value to my employer by filling my day with low value tasks. I focused on the high value tasks that would have a profound impact on my branch.
Sales grew by 50% per year reaching the $3.3M level in four years. The overall approach was straight forward. (1) Hire, train and develop good people. (2) Have systems in place to ensure smooth operations. (3) Develop a plan and have the discipline to stay focused on it.