Increase sales without asking for an order

A revisit to selling consumables at each shop.

A revisit to selling consumables at each shop. Doritos. That’s all I could think when I saw the Frito-Lay truck pull up to the gas station next to me. My mouth began to water. I’m a sales and marketing guy (and a recovering junk food junkie), so he drew my attention. I put my credit card in the gas pump and tried to take my mind off it...

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Consumable kits are normally purchased by shop owners or managers. This is a key point: By selling and stocking kits, mobiles can build relationships over time with shop decision makers. Obviously this can turn into more, and bigger (shop equipment), business. As a bonus, many shop owners pay in full and don’t ask for terms like techs do. This means better cashflow.

Wathey knows what it’s like in the mobile trenches. The former Cornwell dealer understands how selling consumables can benefit everyone involved: the shop can improve profitability, the installer reduces labor time, and the mobile jobber gets repeat orders while enhancing their value to their customers.

”I wish I had something like this when I was on the truck,” he said.

“Mobile jobbers are used to selling tools, not consumables, although that’s changing in today’s marketplace,” said Howard Gering of M. Eagles Tool Warehouse. “We’ve never ventured into consumables until recently ... it was a smart choice.”


S.U.R.&R.’s Wathey said the potential market for brake and fuel line kits is 70 percent of the shops you call on every day as a mobile.

“I sell about $30 to $60 in brake and fuel line inventory a shop every couple weeks,” said New Jersey-based independent distributor Nick Morello. Multiply that by the two or three dozen shops that have his replenishable kits and it can become serious money.

“The great thing about the kits is the part numbers are right in the kit,” said Morello, a 25-year mobile veteran. “ I just jot down the part numbers, place the order and deliver the stuff the next week. It’s just that easy.”

Some distributors stock these components so they can replenish inventory immediately, without the extra step of ordering and waiting. Walking in with your master kit and walking out with a sale sounds like pretty easy money. And the shop is less likely to run out of inventory while waiting for your order to come in, which makes you a hero.

The initial sale will take you the longest to make when selling a kit like this. It’s a new way of thinking. Changing someone’s thinking can take a little persuasion — or perhaps a bold move like a guarantee.

“I tell them if they don’t like it, they can give it back,” said Morello. “No one’s ever given one back.”

You might might need to ask the shop owner or manager for the sale a couple of times to get the first order. But once you get a replenishable kit in a shop, the hard work is done. You just need to keep the kit stocked and remind the techs to use it.

Once a shop carries one replenishable kit from you, it’s easier to sell them on carrying another after they see how profitable and painless it is. And you get the ongoing revenue stream. So, next time you see a bag of chips in a convenience store, think about the money you could be making selling replenishables.

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