Jonny Marshall and his team at the Newcastle branch of The Wheel Specialist have done more business in a month than any other franchise in the company’s history – and that’s during a pandemic.
Their net sales of £75,000 in March beat the previous record – also set by the same branch, but before he joined it.
Jonny, who manages the branch and loves it so much he’s hoping to buy it from the current franchisees, wants to break the record again.
He may be well on the way to doing so, with fantastic sales so far in only six working days up to 12 April, a month affected by Easter and several Bank Holidays.
“It feels brilliant,” he says. “I’d always wanted to smash that record but couldn’t even get close to it until last month.
“I’d been striving to get there but we just couldn’t do it.”
In December last year, Jonny’s branch refurbished more wheels than any other branch – just under 100 ahead of its nearest rival – but another franchise still beat his on turnover by a big margin.
“I rang to congratulate him and conceded that he’d thrashed us,” says Jonny. “He told me he did it by selling more tyres and other products.”
Offering customers extra services and products and encouraging them to come into branches is a fundamental part of TWS’s business strategy – so Jonny decided to do more of it. A lot more of it. And the results have been impressive.
“As an example, we started checking every customer’s tyres and showing them what we found,” he says. “Wheel refurbishments and tyres go hand-in-hand, but we would previously only buy in a tyre if a customer requested one.“
But selling more products was merely the icing on the cake, as TWS Newcastle had also increased its core business – the refurbishment of wheels – significantly in the same period.
Jonny credits his team of four, his front-of-house person, and the current franchisees, John and Lynda Welsh, for making the branch’s astonishing success possible.
“My efforts would be pointless if we didn’t have any work coming through the door in the first place,” he says, “and a huge amount of this is down to Nicole, on front-of-house.
“Selling over the phone is always difficult, which is why – as TWS trains us to do – she encourages people to physically come down to the premises for a quotation.
“Only those who are seriously keen will come in for a quotation, so Nicole can quickly establish what the customer’s need is and focus on that.
“She was taught how to do that by the franchisee, Lynda, who’s phenomenal at direct sales and learned it herself, of course, in her TWS training as well as having a wealth of sales experience in her previous career.
“Thanks to her, our conversion rate for walk-in leads and customers is huge. This, coupled with Nicole’s knowledge of advertising on social media, means there’s always a constant flow of work for me to get through.
“One reason Newcastle’s performing this well is that Nicole and I are learning from John and Lynda’s vast knowledge of all aspects of the business while implementing the latest thinking on processes, advertising and customer service.
“We also have support for so many other areas of the business from Head Office. That makes such a difference and allows us to focus on the sales and customer services.”
A natural leader and refiner of processes, Jonny’s shown his team how to work smarter, not harder, which has made the whole operation so much more efficient.
But the real secret of his success is good old-fashioned hard work, and plenty of it.
“I previously worked as a manager at another of The Wheel Specialist’s franchises,” says Jonny. “I helped start it from scratch, and we achieved one of the highest ever first-year’s turnovers in the TWS network.
“We have a dream team now at Newcastle, even though we have a smaller staff than some of the other franchises.
“It’s bloody hard work, and you have to put a lot of effort in to get these sort of numbers.
“In one particular month, I worked from six in the morning until ten at night, but there’s no way I could do that every day.
“I’m over the Moon that we finally created a new network record.”