Keep your truck stocked

Matco dealer says, 'Buy the tools, they will sell.'


Matco dealer says, 'Buy the tools, they will sell.' Mark Menozi is in his ninth year as a Matco Tools distributor based in Morris, Ill. The soft-spoken mobile dealer is a former marina employee where he worked as a tech, service writer, salesman or anything else that was needed. He’s translated that broad base of experience into a successful tool...


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Mark Menozi is in his ninth year as a Matco Tools distributor based in Morris, Ill. The soft-spoken mobile dealer is a former marina employee where he worked as a tech, service writer, salesman or anything else that was needed. He’s translated that broad base of experience into a successful tool sales route.

After nine years, Mark now enjoys the position of tenured tool dealer for his area; in fact, he’s been the longest-serving distributor there for about four years. That kind of stability is paying off. He has long-established relationships everywhere that make week-to-week sales easier for him while also providing a harder time for another distributor to get started.

Mark interacts with about 400 customers a week, averaging 320 active on-the-books customers, and has had gross sales near $700,000 for the past few years. While those numbers belie a successful route, Mark said his first years were average.

Then an off year had him re-evaluate how he was running the business.

“I was always a pretty average distributor, no real struggles in the business … but then in about 2006 I had a down year,” Mark said. Then he realized that “if you have it on the truck, it will sell. That’s the bottom line.”

He changed how he was ordering and stocking the truck, and “then all of a sudden my numbers doubled and I’ve been doing good ever since.”

Mark doesn’t just order more tools — he orders smarter. He takes advantage of pricing or financing specials on items at Tool Expo, district meetings and more.

“Distributors ask about all the tools I’ll order, like from the specials at meetings,” Mark said. “But I tell them, ‘You just have to order the tools and sell them, that’s all you’ve got to do. It turned things around for me.’ ”

“I’m a very low-pressure salesperson. I don’t want guys in the shop to see me as a salesperson,” Mark said. “They know why I’m there and to ask for what they need … I don’t want to push things on them. I know once someone buys something from me and is on the book, they’ll be on the book for a long time.”

Mark said it took some time to get used to being a tool distributor, but “it was good coming into the business knowing a little about tools.”

For Mark, knowing tools is not nearly as important as knowing your customers.

IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

Getting in tune with your customers is the most important part of Mark’s sales.

“You’ve got to get your customers to know you, to like you and to trust you, because if they know you, and they like you — they’ll buy from you,” Mark said.

One of the best benefits of familiarity and trust: “Price will rarely be an issue.”

“A lot of my sales will come from guys who don’t even come out to the truck anymore,” Mark said. “As I’m walking through the shop, they will say, ‘Give me one of these, one of these and one of these,’ and to put it on their account … and they never ask the price.”

This kind of customer trust doesn’t happen overnight. It has to be built slowly, though the method is easy to follow.

“The first thing you have to do is, one, show up,” Mark said. “I have been very consistent showing up at these stops for nine years. I don’t take a day off, unless it is a planned day off.”

Mark said his biggest headache in any given week is if he misses a stop for some reason.

“My customers count on me walking through the door at the same time every week,” Mark said. “Persistence was a key in growing the business; I knew I was doing well when customers started to ask if I ever took a day off.”

And other than the Tool Expo every year, Mark typically only takes about two weeks off the rest of the year.

BIG-TIME BOXES

When he is at Tool Expo, Mark doesn’t spend too much time living like the locals or admiring the scenery: he is working. One of the things he does leading up to expo is to pre-qualify customers who are looking for new toolboxes.

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