How to get out of a sales slump

Q - I feel like I’m in a sales rut. I’ve been selling tools long enough to know what I’m doing but my sales are down. I’d like the blame it on the economy. But other dealers I know are doing OK. I’d like to grab a little bigger piece of the tool...


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“Like any type of sales you need to keep finding new customers or you start getting stagnate and your sales start to drop,” says Pilkenton.

So, make it a point to spend a couple minutes with guys who aren’t yet customers whether that’s at an existing stop or a new one. They probably won’t buy from you the first time you introduce yourself, but it’s all about timing. One day you’ll be there when they need something or they’ll have had a problem with their tool guy and be ready to jump ship. And be sure they have your card in their toolbox so they can call you any time they make that decision.

New promotional tools

Most dealers also use leave-behind handouts. There’s nothing new about that. It’s a good way to keep customers thinking about you and remind them of your special promotions. Be sure your flyer has your name and number on it so when a customer is ready to buy they can call you immediately -- before they cool off.

“We’re making it very affordable for any type of dealer to have a custom flyer cover,” says Pilkenton. “This will take them to a whole new reality for a very, very, very small fee ... It’s probably going to change our industry.” The new custom full-color flyer covers are expected to be unveiled at ISN’s Tool Dealer Expo mid-June in Orlando.

“In today’s market, with all the new technicians coming to the industry, establishing text messaging capabilities to tell them about hot new products or training events are a great way to self-promote,” says Pilkenton. For more on how easy it is to use text messaging as a dealer see the “Sales Q&A” column in the April 2011 Professional Distributor.

Putting marketing technology on your truck can also help your better promote your full product offering. I’m not talking about anything very sophisticated. I’m talking about something as simple as a DVD player and TV monitor.

“If you have DVD player or computer on your truck, you need to be showing product demos,” Pilkenton says. He points out that a dealer can easily get free videos from his WD partners, tool & equipment makers, or even YouTube. “There’s a lot of good stuff out there.”

Slumps happen. It’s how you deal with them that makes the difference. Just keep a positive attitude and focus on new products, new prospects and new promotions and you can bounce back!

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