Get to the top with service

This month’s cover story profiles Cornwell Tools dealer Herman Olds of San Antonio. His desire and drive to be the top at whatever he does is inspiring. Without “trash talking” the competition, he seeks to outsell them by being the best salesman he can be at each shop. He does this not with far superior tools or cut-rate prices, but with service.

It’s almost like having a broken record around here, where each top mobile we bring you talks about some of the little things that make his or her route different, but they all seem to be successful in the same ways. Chief among those is in knowing that customer service comes first.

Herman sums it up easily: “The only reason a tool man’s in business is because of service. If it wasn’t for his service and coming around, everybody would go to Harbor Freight, or Northern, or Sears and buy their tools a whole lot cheaper than from a tool man.”

An important thing to consider during the day is how good your service is. Kate Zabriskie, founder of Business Training Works Inc., coined a nice phrase to keep in mind between every stop:

“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.”

Once you start slipping to your competitors, it’s hard to get customers back. And, to paraphrase Herman, you can do OK in second place, but the perks are much better in first.