J.R. ’s Top 5 tools to keep in stock: Scan tools Power Probes Air tools (3/8” and ½”) Pry bars Long wrench sets Miami-based Cornwell Tools dealer J.R. Lopez has been running a tool truck since 1994; prior to that he was in sales of fax machines and copiers. When he started...
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“When a guy asks me for a discount, I take off my glasses, look him straight in the face and ask, ‘Do you see a non-profit organization?’ ‘Obviously, no, so don’t ask me for discounts.’
“I am out here to make money,” J.R. said. “We have a business to run, a family to take care of, duties, goals.”
After relationships with customers and corporate, J.R. said product knowledge is his focus.
J.R. has been reading Professional Distributor “since the first day. That’s how I learn. … If there is something out there, take advantage of it.”
Whether it’s training at the annual tool show or regional meetings, having the right catalogs and manuals on the truck, or even just talking with customers, J.R. said having information is key.
“One thing I have learned through all the years, if you do not know a tool, do not be afraid to ask the customer: ‘What does it look like?’ ‘Where did you get it?’ ‘Can you give me a part number?’ Get as much information as you can in order for you to make the sale.
“Product knowledge is the essence of this business.”
J.R. cautioned that, for the tool dealer, product knowledge is not just about what a tool does; product costs and margins are equally as important.
“Always take into consideration your cost; how much you want to earn from something. For example, I get items on promotion from Cornwell. Last November, we had a meeting and smoke machines were on sale. Someone from Redline Detection came in and gave us CDs and explained what the machine was all about. So I took advantage of that and in the month of November, I sold eight smoke machines.
“I sold the first one to a Martino Tire store,” J.R. said. From that sale, he got four more sales with other Martino Tire locations. “I took advantage of that first sale to earn others.” J.R. helped spread good word of mouth on the product through the other locations, having them talk with the happy techs at the first store.
“It’s not only the sale. You take a product, learn about the product, become knowledgeable about the product, show the product and then you can sell the product. That’s why I think I was able to sell so many of them.”
J.R. also takes advantage of promo pricing and sales to create packages.
“If I get an item on sale — and it is very important in this business to know your product costs — you can create packages.” He shrink-wraps packages of tools together based on pricing, and helps to move slower-selling goods.
Tool shows are a good place to expand your product knowledge, he said.
“You have to take advantage of the tool expos to learn about new tools, the companies that manufacture the tools, get good pricing, get time for training and get to know the dealers and share stories.
“I put a little money aside, maybe $2,000-$4,000, for buying at the shows,” J.R. said. “You can take advantage of the vendors’ specials on the show floor … you can get a great deal.
“I never thought I was going to have to put so much money out there to make the business work. … I’ve learned to be conservative,” J.R. said. “I don’t put as much money out there, but at the same time I try to earn high profits” by watching margins.
Power Probe innovates automotive electrical tools that speeds up the diagnosing process. Our Mission is to provide the Auto Repair Technicians with knowledge and tools that will enable them to best...
Product knowledge isn't just about what a tool does; margins and associated costs are just as important.
You won't learn about products and what your customer wants unless you speak up and ask questions.