Every entrepreneur knows there’s money to be made in solving problems, especially if you find a niche that hasn’t been cornered yet. That’s exactly what Michael Risich did when he founded BOLT ON Technology, a software company that offers cloud-based workflow tools for the automotive repair aftermarket. Far from fixing cars, Michael’s company helps shop owners improve their communications to optimize productivity — all by bringing cutting-edge technology to an industry that was previously lacking it.
Despite many of its customers being small mom-and-pop shops, BOLT ON Technology has experienced enormous growth in the past five years, achieving 4% market penetration and serving customers in every US state, Canada, and South America. But during his time at the Birthing of Giants Fellowship program in April 2017, Michael realized that to sustain this growth, the company would need to pivot its strategy to improve outbound sales. I caught up with Michael recently to find out how he’s implementing this new sales strategy and how emerging technologies continue to shape his business as it scales.
Implement a Killer Sales Strategy
In a move to cut out inefficiencies, Mike’s team examined their sales strategy. They realized they could streamline their outbound sales efforts immensely by asking a few qualifying questions during calls. A better framework during sales calls allowed them to spot auto shops that weren’t yet a good fit for BOLT ON, and maximize sales efforts by focusing on potential clients who were.
“We can immediately eliminate some prospects,” Michael explains. This allowed the sales team to increase the probability of success while avoiding time-wasting tasks.”
Embrace Emerging Technologies
To remain ahead of the curve and help his customers, Michael always keeps one eye on emerging technologies. He explains that these technologies recently helped him refine the company’s sales strategy as well. AI enhancement is the current technological wave, allowing companies to build learning capability into their systems. True to form, BOLT ON is all over it.
“We’re using a lot of data and trying to build some AI into our process, where we can actually learn from the tasks we’re performing.”
Find Simple, Effective Solutions
Some of the best solutions are the simplest ones. BOLT ON Technology has always found innovative but simple answers to its customers problems — like using text messaging to help shop owners get in touch with their customers quickly, long before this practice was the norm.
“We were very early into the market, but we knew we were on to something,” Michael reflects. “You’re going to save a lot of time, which means you’re going to make more money.”
Michael’s creative yet thoughtful approach to problem-solving highlights some of the core tenets of successful entrepreneurship. You can hear my full conversation with Michael by listening to the podcast now.
Check out my extended interview with Mike Risich on Forbes.com.
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