Jim Thompson has a simple philosophy about being a branch manager at Briggs Equipment — gain the trust of your customers.
He knows it also helps to have a good product to sell to your customers.
By using these two tried and true methods of business — quality and trust — Thompson has been able to turn Briggs’ Tampa, FL, location into a profitable one. Having been in the equipment business for the past 39 years, he ought to know what he’s talking about.
“My first objective after coming to the Tampa branch was to focus on the goal of achieving customer satisfaction,” Thompson said. “With great service and product support, you demonstrate your ability to take care of your customers.”
The ability to satisfy customers allowed Thompson to make the Tampa branch one of Briggs’ most profitable branches in 2005.
“It took about 15 to 18 months to completely turn Tampa around. All the ingredients were in place before I began working there, I just acted as the catalyst and stirred things up,” Thompson said.
He used product demonstrations to ensure customers they were renting or buying reliable products from Briggs Equipment. He combined that with impeccable product support and parts service to give the Briggs name a strong reputation.
“Great service is a springboard to machine sales,” Thompson said. “It’s all about building good customer relationships. Once we were able to do that, we started seeing improvements every week and every month.”
Thompson was recently transferred to the Briggs branch in Atlanta, GA. He hoped to incorporate the same aspects of successful business there as he did in Tampa.
The Atlanta branch was purchased from another dealer only a little more than a year ago, therefore Thompson said Briggs Equipment must reassure its Atlanta customers that its products can be trusted.
“Briggs in Georgia is like a start-up company. We need to prove to our customers our machines are good,” Thompson said. “We’ve been very aggressive in our rental department, we are getting a lot of rentals out, especially Case products.”
Briggs Equipment is already a respected dealer in North and South Carolina and Tampa, and Thompson hoped to get the Atlanta branch to the next level.
“Atlanta is a growing, vibrant city; it really is the eastern regional hub of the United States. We are excited about the part Briggs will play in the Atlanta construction industry,” Thompson said.
Now in his 13th year as a manager of several different companies, Thompson is thankful he was able to learn from knowledgeable mentors, and he has had great success applying what he has learned. That starts with his employees.
“I am a firm believer in allowing employees the freedom to make their own decisions to help move their department forward. I believe micromanaging impedes on the space of individuals,” Thompson said.
The mutual respect works for Thompson and his employees, as well as his customers.
“You’ve got to be able to treat them fairly and equitably so they know you’re not putting on a false facade, then they will respect you,” he said.
Thompson’s philosophy has worked so far for the Atlanta branch — he said Briggs Equipment has experienced growth every month since he arrived. CEG
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