We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to Jim Counts of Counts Consulting, LLC for allowing us to post their previously published article. Permission granted VIA email 10/13/11. All articles are reprinted in their entirety as originally published.
Expanding The Market
I think most recyclers believe that having more customers is a good thing, and they are correct, provided we can service their needs. However, if we advertise for more customers, we also need more parts to sell. I realize that we think that the warehouse and those vehicles out back are plenty of products, but I keep reminding everyone that 50% of our sales come from what we purchased in the last 120 days and all that other stuff is just the other 50%.
Therefore, I repeat, that if we are going to grow our business, we have to have more to sell the new customers because we are out of what they ask for 50% of the time. Quite honestly, we here at Counts Consulting have been experiencing the same problem. Our customer base has grown to the point that we can’t get to them in a timely manner and there are more requests for different types of services than we have been able to produce. Therefore, we have had to address two areas just like you do when you grow your business to the next level. We have to be able to help our customers within a reasonable amount of time, and we need to have the products or services they are asking for.
Our solution to the “help our customers within a reasonable time” is just like yours should be. We hired another expert in recycling and processing parts. His name is Rian Garner and, no, I didn’t misspell his first name, however, he spends a good part of his life spelling it for people. Rian has a tremendous amount of experience in both full-service and. self-service operations. He was the pricing and purchasing manager (buying department) for LKQ, which included calculating bids, pricing parts and coordinating auctions for the west region. From there, he became a regional sales manager for LKQ. At the same time, he was finishing his MBA (Masters in Business Administration). His next promotion at LKQ was to Plant Manager.
Rian was then hired by Bill Stevens (who was then Vice President of Schnitzer Steel in charge of Greenleaf) to specialize in growing sales and increasing productivity. Schnitzer Steel then promoted Rian to the position of Regional Director with Pick N Pull, another company they owned. He was responsible for the operations of three self-service yards.
Rian also has an undergraduate degree in accounting so you can see why LKQ and Greenleaf (Schnitzer) wanted his services. He’s really good at evaluating a company’s profit and loss and spotting problem areas.
When LKQ purchased Greenleaf and some of the Pick N Pull operations from Schnitzer, Rian went to work for one of the large recyclers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which is where we grabbed him.
So now that we have the people to relieve our overloaded schedule, we also wanted to provide the services that we have not done or have not done well. This is the same thing you would need to do if you want to increase your sales and market area. You have to have more products to sell, which for you means more inventory.
We have wanted to have a specialist in self-service operations for some time; plus, we need to do more sales training, which is always in demand. Obviously, with Rian’s experience as a sales manager and running three self-service operations, we can now do that.
Remember, you only need more customers if you have something to sell them and your staff is trained and prepared to deal with the extra sales. Also remember, that no action, is in fact, an action.