Sometimes being in the right place at the right time counts for a lot. For Mac Tools Master Distributor Todd Smith, being in the right place at the right time wouldn’t have amounted to anything if he hadn’t spent years laying down the groundwork. Todd’s territory covers the Uintah Basin in...
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‘Hey, step up to the plate. We agreed on this. You’re not going to skip a car payment, why are you going to skip your tool payment? What makes your car payment? The tools I’m providing you with. I should be the first person you pay because it’s those tools that are making you money.’ ”
Aside from the good-paying customers, Todd said the prevalence of credit cards are important to tool distribution.
“Credit cards are a tool man’s dream come true. … Every guy carries a credit card, or banking card or debit card,” he said. And that eliminates the silly excuses, like “the wife didn’t give me a check,” etc.
“We get a two-percent hit, but we get our money on the spot.”
CHALLENGING, BUT FUN
Todd said he likes being around tools all day, the satisfaction of selling and maintaining relationships with customers. But he feels there’s always more he can do.
“I’m competitive, I love to force myself to do better,” Todd said. “There’s always a guy that I want to sell a toolbox to … you know, work on him, get him to buy. That challenge, that’s something I really enjoy.”
He also enjoys the family involvement of the business. All five kids and his wife help with the business. His wife helps with the book work on the weekends, and his younger kids earn pocket money by building tool carts and toolboxes for him (the same as their older siblings used to).
“That’s their job, if they want to have some money to go do something, they’ve got to build a cart.
“My kids are very involved with the business,” Todd said. “That’s something we kind of do on Saturdays. We’ll take Saturday morning, go out and wash the truck and clean up and get ready for the next week. Then we have the rest of the weekend to go to the lake, or go four-wheeling, or do what we want to do.”
All in all, Todd Smith is in the right place at the right time for his business, but it would have been wasted if he didn’t love what he’s doing and spend years laying the groundwork.
Toolbox Sales vs. Everything Else
“I do a lot of toolbox sales … about 25 percent of my business,” said Todd Smith.
But Todd doesn’t sell every box in the Uintah Basin.
“There’s not a worse feeling in the world than walking in the shop and seeing the competition’s box sitting there. … It frustrates me more than anything, ‘Why wasn’t I paying attention to that?’ Surely he talked about it somewhere, and I must not have been paying attention,” Todd said of missing a sale. “Bottom line, I blame myself for losing, passing that sale by.”
He said the key is to always pay attention when your customers talk, even their throw-away comments. Todd said sometimes it’s as simple as a tech putting a new socket set into an overfull drawer and muttering “I’m just running out of room” or “I don’t know where I’m going to put this.”
Little comments might be the only clue you’ll get someone wants a toolbox, potentially before they realize it themselves.
But always look for more business, even when you miss a big toolbox sale.
“If you pouted it up and went out on your truck and drove off … yeah, you’ll lose that business,” Todd said of losing out on a toolbox sale. But look your customer in the eye, even with another brand of toolbox behind him, and say, “Oh good, now I can help you fill that box.” That will break the ice and help the tech spend money with you for the tools, Todd said.