Stan Klimek, a Stanhope, N.J.-based independent mobile distributor, runs his USA Tools tool truck on customer service, tool knowledge and with the help of flyers from the warehouses he uses. The flyers are key to Klimek saving time while also selling longer, and in setting his top tools to...
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Stan’s route has been a natural progression. He started as a branded mobile distributor, switching to DM and RM roles, then to working for SK selling to mobiles. He then went back to being a mobile, but on his own route.
Stan estimates he has put close to 100 tool dealers on the street through recruiting, and his best advice to all of them was to watch margins. A close second was time management; Stan even did some time management lectures for tool dealers.
“I think that’s why I can effectively see 300 customers in just four days,” he said of his current route. Some of his timing tips include:
Take a bird’s eye view of your route and watch how you work with or against traffic. It’s always better to make right-hand turns. “Just that could save you up to an hour or an hour-and-a-half a day.”
Train your customers why you’re there: For business. “You want them trained to be reaching for their wallets when you walk in, not hee-ing and hawing about their payment.”
Set your business up for the next day when you get home. Put away inventory and arrange special orders. Don’t plan to do it as you go the next day.
Stan cautions for any dealers thinking about going independent to be aware of what their reputation is now as a mobile distributor.
“That won’t change … just where they buy tools from. It’s not a catch-all fix to your route,” he said.
If your customer service is below average, or your shelves are bare or you never get there at the same time each week, customers will expect the same regardless of the picture on the side of your truck, he said.
But if you have stellar customer service, timeliness and inventory, customers will still expect that as well.