Having joined Auditel in 1995, David Lowe is the longest-established member of our franchise network, and now runs his successful Auditel business to suit his lifestyle.
Here are 3 insights from how he has built #MyAuditel.
What if you were able to hand-select your clients, and the intensity of the work you did each day? For David Lowe, Auditel’s longest-established franchisee, he has achieved this goal, after building up his Auditel business over 23 years. “The business ethics of Auditel completely aligned with my own having come out of the corporate world. This was one of the reasons I signed up with them. Over the years, I have been in a position to see my business help me provide the best I can for my family, which I consider a success.”
Initially, when he first started his business, David found marketing himself a challenge, and it was during this early season he found the training of Auditel hugely beneficial. “I am not a natural self-promoter. But supported by the Auditel Head Office, I developed this ability, and as a result secured a portfolio with over 45 clients across various industries, including manufacturing, insurance, leisure, motor-retail, business services, care homes and a football club. It was from this, as I started to head toward retirement, and scale back, I was able to focus attention on the clients of my choice, rather than necessity.”
The previous MD of a precision engineering company, David was made redundant for the third time. Aged 49, he found he wasn’t being invited to interviews for jobs he knew he had the experience and skills for. Rather than feeling despondent about the situation, David decided it was time to create an opportunity for himself. “I looked into franchising, before settling on Auditel. I wanted my own opportunity, but with the support Auditel offered. I had seen the need for strategic cost-management, particularly in relation to sourcing better arrangements with utility companies, so I knew I would be able to guide others in a similar position through this.”
1. Longevity naturally increases trust
David, who has developed his business over a longer time-frame than the average UK franchisee, has learned trust is an earned privilege. Particularly between his clients and himself. Without which he wouldn’t have been as successful as he has proven to be. “I have my clients’ interest at heart; and they have come to trust this to be true. Auditel is about finding ways of using our specialist knowledge to reduce Clients’ costs. Over the years, the accumulated savings for my clients runs into several million pounds, often before they even realised there was a saving to be made. This is why they remain with me for so long. They have learned they can trust me to source the best deal for their business. I understand them and apply my knowledge and analytical skills for their benefit, so as a result, they have given me the authority to sign contracts on their behalf. It is a privileged position, which I don’t take lightly.”
2. Longevity leads to client faithfulness
Over the years since he started his Auditel business, David has developed relationships with his clients which have been sustainable. “Some of my clients today, are the same clients who I signed-up 23 years ago,” he says. “In fact, one of the companies I work with has seen four changes of company ownership during my time. With each new CEO/CFO, I have effectively needed to ‘win back’ the client and start again with establishing a trusted working relationship.”
3. Longevity leads to client referrals
This level of being in a clients’ business for so long, has also seen other benefits David hadn’t foreseen when he first started with them, for both himself and the wider Auditel network. “Working through the changes in top-level ownership generated referrals from people I had worked with when they changed careers. I wasn’t in a position to take them on and was very happy to feed these referrals on to other Auditel Franchisees. My clients value the partnership with me, so they value the brand I represent, and remain confident of the Auditel treatment they receive in their new ventures.
“I have also won new contracts with companies which have been born out from the clients I was working with – as their own business ideas developed. I have been able to guide some big clients through some challenging financial situations.”
When it’s tough at the beginning, don’t lose sight of your goal
David’s Auditel business has allowed him to achieve the goals he had set out to accomplish and build his own business in a way which works for him; in 2009, he received from Auditel a Special Recognition Award for his achievements. Even now, as he works well into his 70s, David continues to find those hidden reductions for the clients he has chosen to retain. “My philosophy, which I have applied throughout my business’ development, is not to give my clients work to do. I do it for them. If necessary, I give them a ‘sign here’ task at the end of it, and they reap the benefits of my achievements. My Auditel has rewarded me with a successful business with a consistent six-figure annual income, allowing me to shape my retirement.”