Mixing business with pleasure for the 2008 Tool Dealer Expo, Integrated Supply Network held its annual event at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort in sunny Orlando on June 27-28.
The show focused on building a better business. Dealers placed orders with multiple vendors, while checking out new products and registering for exciting prizes in one convenient location.
With famed guests like Rich Evans of Huntington Beach Bodyworks, racer Boris Said, and C.R. Gittere, Geico Motorcycle AMA Superbike rider, and attractions like the NHRA Schumacher dragster and Irwin Hand Tools NASCAR race car on hand, ISN welcomed upwards of 2,500 total attendees to the show floor.
More than 190 vendors were set up for the 500-plus dealers to browse through their products and see live demonstrations.
Orlando-area independent distributor Lynn Bazile enjoyed the ISN show, particularly all the new tools and information. In talking to vendors, there is “so much knowledge to pick up … you can learn so much from them,” Bazile said.
He also was a panel member on Saturday morning’s Dealer Forum. He found a lot of great ideas were shared there among the panel and audience members.
“I enjoyed talking to so many successful independent tool dealers,” Lynn said. “It is truly a great business to be in.”
“ISN also know how to take care of the ladies,” said Lynn’s wife, Ann, of the many “pampering” opportunities for spouses that ISN provides, like pedicures, manicures, massages and facials.
MULTIPLE TRAINING SESSIONS
ISN conducted free forums for distributors to learn more about how to run a successful business. Each of the training sessions allowed attendees to create a custom schedule, holding one clinic per day.
“The Ins and Outs of Mobile Trucks,” helped distributors on implementing different marketing ideas and selling tactics. Tim Herr, of Herr Display Vans, led the discussion on the history of mobile trucks, including truck construction, maintenance and display.
The “Independent Mobile Dealer Panel” featured six distributors available for questions and inquires on becoming and being unaffiliated with a branded tool franchise. Main discussion focused on the importance of building customer relationships as an individual, apart from the tools.
Lynn Bazile, an independent since the early 1990s, focused on ways to save time when working with customers, focusing on the importance of accepting credit cards. Other panelists included Matt Sledge, an independent for seven years; Jimmy Stinson, who’s son now follows in his footsteps; Dennis Shmall, who still handwrites his tickets; Jimmy Nells, an independent distributor for six years; and Jeff Pozzer.
Andrea Stricker, Vocational Program Coordinator for SK Hand Tools, held a learning session on selling to Vo-techs. Still in production, the program will help dealers find local instructors, learn about product options and implement payment programs for students.
Attendees could also register for free clinics and training led by SPX Hand Tools product managers. Topics included Robinair’s focus on evaluating A/C tools and equipment, a symposium on diagnostics, understanding heavy-duty and specialty tools and an EVAP clinic.
Saturday night allowed attendees to cut loose while enjoying free food and drinks. Prizes were also awarded to customers, who registered by placing orders during the show.
With every order placed, customers became eligible for one of the thousands of dollars worth of prizes, including a 1972 Chevy Corvette convertible sponsored by ISN, 2008 Chevrolet Corvette sponsored by Ingersoll Rand, a 2008 Yamaha Watercraft with trailer, $10,000 in gas cards and a 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C90T Cruiser.