Though Mac Tools Master Distributor Joe Poulin is based in Portland, Maine, his influence on the company's brand spans the states through his work as a mentor for new distributors and as an instructor in company training pieces. Joe is a high energy guy, as almost anybody needs to be to...
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"Not only did that take off helping those [rookie] distributors, but every one of the 12 [mentors] in the first group saw their business grow 10 percent over the prior year just by talking with people. They say teaching is the best way to learn."
And all that's without having met each other.
"Three of the guys I had done, I'd never met them until the next tool fair. … So that's pretty cool to impact somebody's life and business like that," Joe said.
Joe also was instrumental in creating a new route in his Portland area by carving away some of his territory he wasn't able to service enough, and getting other Mac distributors there to do the same. They now have a new territory that helps keep the brand focused and active throughout the region, and the original distributors are freed up of some time they can use to focus on their traditionally strongest customers.
"It's exciting; I love bringing people in like that," Joe said of Rodney Boynton, who has now been a distributor for Mac for just over a year. He even partnered with Rodney to organize a combined Macstravaganza selling event for their customers.
Using Mac programs
Though Joe helps Mac by mentoring and training other distributors, he finds that the company has programs in place that make his job easier, too, including the Mac Card, the Macstravaganza program and the annual tool expo.
For their Macstravaganza show, Joe and Rodney set up at a local karting track, which provided some extra interest on previous events held in hotel conference centers.
"Rodney and I had our show last night, and we've already had conversations on what we can do different next year and maybe totally new and different taking it to the dragstrip and tying it in with a whole day up there," Joe said. "You always have to try different things to see what works. … We're looking for feedback from the customers."
The biggest bonus to the event for Joe is that customers "see products they normally wouldn't see on our tool trucks," from the large toolbox setups to capital equipment and diagnostic tools.
In addition, they brought in reps from Motorvac, OTC and Robinair to talk about their products and offer items for door prizes and more.
"It's a great way for customers to come in, have something to eat after a long workday, and, under low pressure, look at new products," Joe said. "And it's more one-on-one."
Mac helps with the Macstravaganza by providing product sheets with show prices that include 10-percent off, and even additional incentives for using a Mac Card or being a first-time Mac Card user.
"So some people, theoretically would get 35-percent off," Joe said. "So how do you beat that?"
And Joe is a big supporter of Mac Card for the collections weight lifted from his shoulders for big purchases.
"It really frees us up because with our old system, we were responsible for collecting the money. … So, obviously it kept you aggressive because you had to go collect the money, even if that meant going to repossess stuff.
"But now we can focus on selling, and that's where we should be," Joe said.
Another bonus of the Mac Card is with shop owners.
"If times are tough for me to go out and sell something that's $800 or $1,000 more, this really helps when I can offer them six months no interest, no payments," Joe said, and combined with the Macstravaganza, "I can offer them 10-percent off for the buying and another 10 percent from the show.
"It gives us more leverage to approach a shop owner at the end of the year … to make some purchases for the write-offs," Joe said. "Then we can also offer the six months of no payments and the extra 10-percent off."
Then at the beginning of the year, Joe looks forward to the annual Mac Tools tool expo.
"It's just a great way for distributors to go there and recharge after a year of wear and tear … they're trying to bring people back to the basics. They get a chance to talk with the vendors, tell them the good and bad that they've seen with some of the products … They get to find out what's new and Mac has a chance to have everybody under one roof and say this is what we'd like to do."