Selling from the top down

Don't ignore the front offices on your route.


Don't ignore the front offices on your route. Stepping onto Phoenix-based distributor John Ozenich’s Mac Tools tool truck, one thing becomes immediately obvious – he knows what he’s doing. Everywhere you look on his truck, he’s got award plaques on display. Within 10 months, John became a Master Distributor and hit the Gold sales...


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Stepping onto Phoenix-based distributor John Ozenich’s Mac Tools tool truck, one thing becomes immediately obvious – he knows what he’s doing. Everywhere you look on his truck, he’s got award plaques on display. Within 10 months, John became a Master Distributor and hit the Gold sales level that he kept for three years before going Platinum (where he’s stayed since).

The Mac Master Distributor attributes his rapid rise and continued success to his customers, who seem to like what he’s doing. Part of that can be traced to his sales/service background, which he said is the key to his business – making sure the customers know you care about them and their ability to do their jobs.

“My case is interesting, I’m real proud of it,” John said. “I was the first Master Distributor in Arizona. I was the first Toolbox Expert in Arizona. I was the first Platinum Distributor in Arizona. I was the first certified field recruiter in Arizona. There have been a lot of firsts for me in this company. This company has really treated me well, but I’ve taken advantage of a lot of opportunities.

“If opportunity is knocking, and you’re not answering, it’s your own problem.”

John will freely tell you that selling tools is easy. He keeps a fairly laid-back approach with his techs, foremen and shop owners, and he is sure to check in with all of them at every stop.

“In my opinion, it’s easier to build the business from the top down, then the bottom up,” John said of talking with everybody at each stop. He said that’s the best way to get the purchase order “corporate” business, one of his business’ cornerstones.

“One of the most important things to me is working at the owner, supervisor, foreman and corporate level … Get the POs,” John said. At one of his many heavy-duty shops, he pointed to the tire guns, A/C machines, racks and racks of shop-use sockets that were purchased by the front office. “There’s nothing better than a PO.”

To get the front office, John tries to talk with those folks every week (and without fail for a new stop.)

“It’s got to start early,” John said. “For a new shop, a new supervisor, foreman, change of ownership, etc., I always go see those guys pretty much first thing.

“Of course you’re going to sell to the technicians and so forth, but if you go in and you only go after that business, that’s all you’re going to get. If you can work at the corporate level, and these guys then are using the Mac A/C machine, they’re using the Mac-branded sockets, they’re using the Mac breaker bar. …” then they’re that much more likely to buy Mac hand tools, toolboxes and more “because of the brand recognition.”

“It’s interesting, when corporate buys, the guys on the floor buy; but there’s also somewhat of a vice versa there,” John said. “The supervisors and owners, they see who these guys are doing business with.” John said he’s had owners tell his customers, “Have the Mac guy come see me.”

“Then you make the deal; get the PO,” John said. “And you don’t have to chase anybody for those payments.

“Some guys make a quick run through the shop, just ask the guys what they need at the mechanic level, and then they’re out of there,” John said. At a John Deere shop, the foreman once explained to John:

“You know why I do business with you? Not only are you a decent guy. You’re the only one who comes and talks to me. There’s probably five trucks that come through here a week, and you’re the only guy who even says ‘hi.’ ”

SELLING IS EASY. COLLECTING, HOWEVER …

John’s experience prior to joining Mac six years ago included training at the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in the late ’80s, and, more recently, doing worldwide sales and service on printing equipment. The mechanical and sales background has been important to his success on the tool truck.

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