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We also watched Mike ask for the sale, often selling tools to customers even though they hadn’t asked for them. But he knows where to draw the line. “Never take the first ‘no.’ That guy said ‘no’ one time, I didn’t believe it. He said ‘no’ the second time, that’s when I stopped…never make them say ‘no’ three times.” Once again, the number is Two.
Mike says he averages 100 sales and 300 transactions per week. He didn’t want to discuss skips, except to once again stress the importance of professional relationships. “The longer you’re in this business and the longer you treat people professionally, the less trouble you have getting paid.” Mike says a professional relationship works both ways, and he expects to be paid at every stop. In fact, that’s exactly what happened the day we rode along.
A professional attitude and appearance are things Mike takes very seriously. He feels professional appearance is becoming sadly less common in the mobile tool industry, noting that he’s seen more than a few distributors (and even managers) of all flags working in shorts, T-shirts, jeans, dirty boots and with a poorly groomed appearance. “Your professional appearance is a sign of respect to your customer, and (of) self-respect too. You will never reach true heights of success dressed in the rags of failure,” he says, “It affects your attitude as much as your image.” Naturally, his attitude extends to the appearance of his trucks too, inside and out: the trucks are washed every evening.
Mike estimates his total work week is about 80 hours. Leroy drives the other route and helps stock the trucks. Mike’s wife Linda is their accountant and assists with returns and ordering, and his sons Lionel and Lavelle help keep the trucks clean and tidy. That’s a lot of man-hours, but Mike has been Number One in sales seven times in 22 years, and he says he would do it the same way again.
“There is no one thing that guarantees success, it’s a thousand little things done right over and over again. The good guys don’t need an explanation of this; the losers will never get it.” He may be working hard to be one of two (or one of one), but Mike Hess stands out as one among many.
Top 5 tools
- Cordless power tools
- LED flashlights of all kinds (Streamlight, Bluestone)
- Mac Tools tool carts
- Diagnostic scan tools (OTC and Mac)
- Exotic ratchets (flex head, bent handle, etc.)