Before joining Auditel, Charlie Tomlins spent 25 years in IT in the finance industry, in the last five as an IT director.
Charlie, who lives in Egham, Surrey with his wife and two children, has held a variety of management roles supporting network and voice services across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
After being made redundant at the worst possible of times – over the Christmas period, 2008 – Charlie didn’t let it get him down and decided to switch career.
FS Blog: What made you buy an Auditel B2B franchise ?
Charlie Tomlins: Having been made redundant, I decided I wanted a complete change in lifestyle and to run my own business. Franchising appealed to me as I wanted to be self-employed but also have a support structure and work in a business with a proven track record.
FS Blog: And why Auditel in particular?
Charlie: I first met Chris Allison, Auditel’s managing director, at a Franchise Exhibition in London in February 2009. From the start he was unlike most other franchise representatives.
He wasn’t pushy but was as interested in what I was looking for as in promoting Auditel. We only spoke for a few minutes but I left with a clear impression that this was an organisation worth following up.
I looked at a range of franchises and decided that Auditel had to be the best business model. I found the people I spoke to very helpful and did not feel I was being pressurised at any time.
It was also clear that Auditel were careful in selecting their new affiliates and wanted to maintain high standards within the network. This was reassuring, as I wanted to join a reputable and professionally run organisation.
I was then invited to one of Auditel’s free ‘discovery seminars’.
FS Blog: Tell us more about that...
Charlie: The afternoon was very well structured and focused on making sure that you learnt as much about Auditel as the few hours permitted. There were plenty of questions from the audience as you would expect and Chris Allison and his team answered them all openly.
We also had an opportunity to meet some new affiliates on the client acquisition training week and they were very happy to discuss why they had chosen Auditel and talk about the training. I left feeling very comfortable.
What was key for me was that I did not feel this was a high-pressure sales event. It was certainly the most professional out of the four discovery days I had attended.
FS Blog: Tell us about the training...
Charlie: The course more than matched my expectations. The trainers were all skilled practitioners who were able to share their experience and knowledge backed up by many examples to help illustrate points being made.
I had a much clearer idea of what I needed to do to build my business and how I should do it.
FS Blog: What about ongoing support?
Charlie: Other factors that stood out for me were the organised local and regional meetings, national conferences and how Auditel Affiliates assisted one another and worked on joint ventures. The software tools on the online Auditel information service are particularly useful.
FS Blog: Tell us about what you do as an Auditel franchisee...
Charlie: As an Auditel consultant I use my expertise to give clients a fully developed solution which includes supplier negotiations and managing the implementation of services. Ongoing, I monitor the bills, ensuring all charges are correct and follow up any discrepancies directly with the supplier.
This comprehensive service enables clients to focus on their core business. They appreciate that they have an experienced consultant working on their behalf to manage business overhead costs as well as keeping them appraised of any new opportunities to further reduce expenditure.
Now two months on, I have no reservations about my decision!