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From £0 - £2.3m turnover in 3 years - Cold calling - AMA

Discussion in 'Lessons from Success/Failure' started by Jerwood, Sep 13, 2017.

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  1. Jerwood
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    Jerwood Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hi all,

    My Fastlane started started with me, a computer & a pay-as-you-go cheap £10 phone.

    Before I start I'd like to say, this isn't to blow my own horn. I want to show people that even with zero knowledge in an industry you can still make it work & succeed.

    My background is sales in both the renewable energies and activities "day out" markets. When I created my business I had not read the books, but I had the bug for entrepreneurship. I had been working as a commission only salesperson for multiple firms. I started the business at 23 years old.

    I started buying and selling tarmac for a small business in my area and quickly noticed a gap in the market. Jump forward 3 years, I'm now the UK's largest supplier of recycled tarmac, achieved 2.3m turnover last year and am on target for a bigger 2018.

    I've lost tens of thousands due to inexperience and schoolboy errors. This wasn't an easy set up, I have commitments I can't get out of (i.e long term contracts). I'm not location independent, nor did I have first movers advantage.

    The industry I'm in is highly volatile, govt spending policies, internal company politics & brown paper bags are a big threat.

    Here's what I found worked for me...


    1. Sales are not free, they cost time. I think this is true whatever the industry but if I didn't put the time in to sell the product, it would have failed from the get go. Pick up the phone, turn off any distractions and call.
    2. Put aside 40% of your working day towards business progression. Its easy to find yourself working for the business rather than on it & this had traditionally been one of my biggest mistakes. I've addressed it in the last 9 months and have made more growth now than in the previous 2 years. My first few hours of the day are on day-to-day operations, after that I'm off to the coffee shop and working on new/different income streams.
    3. Networking is everything. From Linkedin to charity events, any and all moves I've made have been off the back of my personal relationships with industry leaders.
    4. Outsourcing is key. When I need marketing material to be made or an ad campaign to be started, I bite the bullet and pay those with experience in those fields. This is HUGE. Spend your time expanding the business, not messing about with photoshop because it looks easy to learn or, watching some youtube video on how to make a wordpress website in 10 easy steps.
    5. Build your team. Sales is great, usually because its expandable. If you can do it, you can teach it. I now have 15 full time sales agents all happy and committed to the business. I pay my sales team extremely well and they return that with hard work and, yes... sales.


    I never expected to be where I am today, don't give up guys, this whole hard work thing does pay off in the end, honest.
     
  2. Jerwood
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    Jerwood Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Shoutout to @Fox for the intro to Fastlane
     
  3. The-J
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    The-J Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Boss. Love it. Zero excuses. Looking forward to this one.

    I'll go ahead and start:

    When you started cold calling, how many calls were you making a day?

    When you started seeing results, when did you realize that you needed help? What was the first thing you outsourced/hired and how did that progress?
     
  4. HugoMoreno
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    HugoMoreno Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Are you selling high ticket items?
    How are you getting leads?
    What industry is it?
     
  5. GoodShakers
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    GoodShakers Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    When you were doing sales for multiple companies, were you consciously looking for opportunities in those industries to start your own business? That's an awesome way to find an opportunity.
     
    AgainstAllOdds and The-J like this.
  6. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I needed to hear this, thanks. Have a couple of freelancers with quoted projects, ready to go on my deposit... but I've been flip/flopping on the cost. I probably just need to bite the bullet.

    I just read the book Built to Sell last night. This was a huge part of it. Once you have the product/process down and documented... scale it up through sales reps.



    Congrats on your success so far!
     
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  7. BlakeIC
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    BlakeIC Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Great stuff, subbed. Will post any questions as they arise.
     
  8. Fox
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    Fox Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks. I got no questions now but this is so impressive. Well done, I am sure this will get even bigger as time goes on.
     
  9. Nicoknowsbest
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    Nicoknowsbest "Next time, there will be no next time" - Eminem Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    First off all, welcome to the forum @Jerwood!

    Congratulations on your success, this is execution on steroids - very inspiring.

    I love the industry. Very rough ground, but if you make it there, you can make it anywhere.

    Can't wait to hear more :)


    This.

    Somewhere I read you should be spending 50% of your day doing and 50% talking about it.

    A rule I consciously ignored over the last year, because the talking part felt like procrastinating and I couldn't bill clients for it.

    Now, after in-bound leads have dried up a bit, I am paying the price for my decision.


    Fully agree.

    Only because you are smart and talented at learning, doesn't mean you should learn whatever comes your way.

    Even if you have a small budget to spend on your business, you should not be a cheapskate trying to do everything yourself.


    Questions:
    • I assume that this industry is run by very traditional companies. How did you overcome initial doubts of clients and partners to be able to deliver?
    • How did you get access to equipment (trucks, etc.) before you were able to buy it? Did you rent it?
    • Did you get outside help to fuel your journey or did you bootstrap?
     
  10. Jerwood
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    Jerwood Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    When I started doing more admin than sales and more sales than networking. The first thing I outsourced was my websites design, it went horribly. I went with a local designer and ended with a shitty product on a 12 month contact.

    My avg sale is between £1000 - £10,000
    Leads come from yellowpages & googlemaps.
    The industry is agriculture & contracting


    Yes, I had jumped from business to business always looking for the "right thing"
    Before this I've tried setting up a couple different businesses, didn't go well.

    Correct, I think I'm the only paperless tipper firm in the UK. Honestly, it was hard, at first everyone in the industry doubted me. Luckily I built up a good relationship with an industry leader. The work he gave me was enough of a portfolio to sell my services to other businesses.
    Before I had the lorries I would crosshire from competitors, using their lorries to deliver to my customers.
    Started with 5k. All me baby.
     
  11. Sanj Modha
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    Sanj Modha Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Boom! Who knew you can make so much money from recycled tarmac?

    Outstanding.
     
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  12. BrooklynHustle
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    BrooklynHustle Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Fantastic story. Congratulations!

    Out of sheer curiosity, what type of margins do you take home on this type of business

    "Sales are not free. They cost time."

    Amen