Unwilling to spend a lot of money on marketing in order to try and convince Texas residents that they could save money by switching their power provider, Thompson instead hired Chris Chambliss, an executive who had successfully built a direct sales force at another long-distance company. By recruiting thousands of independent contractors tapped their social networks and got paid every time they got someone to make a switch, Chambliss helped Excel jump from $20 million in revenue to $1.5 billion in just two years.
Using a similar game plan, Ambit Energy, which now fields a direct sales force of some 70,000 independent consultants, has experienced meteoric growth of its own. Sales have increased by 20,369.4 percent over the past four years, from $1.5 million to $325 million. The numbers are so flashy, in fact, that they earned Thompson’s company the No. 1 spot on the 2010 Inc. 500 list and the title of the fastest growing private company in the United States. “We could have never achieved that kind of growth through any other model,” Thompson says.
Logo from Ambit Energy