Big Van World boss shares 40 business tips as he turns 40!

  • Fri,6 Dec 2019 12:02:10 AM

London Dec 5 (press release) Michael Austen is the boss of Big Van World, the UK's largest used van supermarket. He started selling vans in 2000 & now his business is turning over close to £18million. Michael turns 40 this month & is sharing 40 tips for business & his sector.


Michael Austen is the boss of Big Van World, the UK's largest used van supermarket based near Swindon. He started selling vans from a caravan in 2000 and now his business is turning over close to £18million. Brought up in the circus, his dad owned Austen Circus and his entrepreneurial spirit clearly inspired his son. This month, Michael turns 40 and he'll be sharing over the next four weeks 40 things he's learned in business and in his sector. This week his first ten tips are about sales:

  1. At the beginning when there was just me I didn’t have big overheads – I would buy at a good price and sell enough to make me a profit set against my goals. Key thing – buy at the right price.
  2. Be honest about whether or not you are good at sales. It came very naturally to me because I love vans and cars – not everyone is like that. If it doesn’t come naturally and you are avoiding it, get some training. No sales, no business.
  3. Understand your customer – you have to sell to people and make them feel they are important and you’ve listened to their needs.
  4. Flex your language and behaviour according to the above, you always treat people with respect, that’s the first thing. However you may say different things and cover different things if you are talking to say a plumber wanting one new van, than a company owner looking to buy several new vans, or a larger company wanting to purchase a high quality used fleet.
  5. Sell yourself, be friendly, be kind, be upfront about the cost so there are no hidden surprises.
  6. Answer questions honestly and with integrity and encourage questions then you will get a real sense of what the customer needs.
  7. Avoid pressure sales – avoid this like the plague, pressure to ‘buy today to get this or that deal’ allow a potential buyer time to think or consider or browse at their leisure. Let them know you are there when THEY need YOU.
  8. Do some due diligence – look at the time it’s taken you to make that first sale, what can you do to improve that timeline? Is it that you need some training? Or do you need to take on a member of staff? Due diligence is not always about what’s going wrong it can be about what’s going right.
  9. Answer the phone – when people are interested in buying a van, they want to talk to a human being. Losing them in a system or process and keeping them waiting will turn them off or make them pick up the phone to a competitor.
  10. Let them know what to do next e.g. if there is a problem pick up the phone and we’ll do all we can to sort it out. Be helpful, be available and these clients may come back.

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