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For you, being on time means you’re being efficient. Being a good time manager in this business is key. In fact, in any industry, the best salespeople tend to be the ones that make the best use of every minute in their workday. Being productive means keeping a tight schedule. Remember, "Dealer Math" goes something like this: A few more stops each day multiplied by a few more techs at each stop equals a whole lot more money in your pocket.
To squeeze all the stops you can in a day, you need to run your route like clockwork. Get in, get out, get on your way. Keeping to a daily routine is actually a lot less stressful than playing catch-up all the time.
But sometimes staying on schedule is easier said than done. What can you do when you’re negotiating a big ticket sale, like a toolbox, and you know it’s going to push your schedule back? Do you walk away? Or throw your schedule out the window?
Obviously, if it’s a sure sale, you need to close the sale. So do you end up missing some stops?
“There are ways to make up time,” says 22-year Mac Tools veteran Tom Neamon. “I usually take a 45-minute lunch. Some days, that’s only 15 minutes.” He usually spends about 5 minutes with each customer, but he says when customers are out sick or in training he can buy back some time.
Your customers want you on schedule
When you’re on schedule it also shows your customer that you respect them and their time. Showing respect like that can earn you their loyalty. They don’t want to waste time looking at their watch and waiting. They’re counting on you. No tech wants to be left wondering when and if their tool guy will show up.
“If I’m going to have to skip a shop I always call and let the guys know,” Neamon says. “They really appreciate that. Sometimes I’ll offer to doubleback the next day to see them, but most of them tell me don’t worry about it, they’ll see me next week ... A lot of them are looking forward to my visit. I don’t want to let them down.”
The shop owner wants you on schedule
Being on-schedule can help your relationship with the shop owner or manager, too. It helps keep their techs productive and not hanging out waiting for you, or wasting time shooting the bull on your truck. By earning their respect you might also earn that owner’s business for on-going consumable orders or big ticket equipment purchases.
What do you do about time-wasters. You know, that guy or group that is just shooting the bull and won’t get off your truck?
If you show respect for their time by being on schedule, they should respect your time too. Remember, those techs dawdling on your truck aren’t likely your best customers anyway. Your best customers are usually the ones in a hurry to get back to work to make more money to buy more tools. So, although it may seem awkward the first few times, just ask them to leave. Tell them the guys at your next stop are expecting you.
Or you could do what Cornwell’s DeCosta does and simple say “Hey, get the @#*! off my truck.”
Harsh? Yes. Effective? You bet. Offensive? It depends on your personality and your relationship with your customers. Obviously, I don’t suggest this tactic for most dealers. You could lose a lot more customers than you gain back in time. (However, fewer customers could make it easier to keep on schedule. Not profitable, but on-schedule.)