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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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 excel in this work, and has been giving his all to his business and Mac for nearly 10 years. He started as an employee with the company and sold that way for nearly three years before buying his business.
As far as Joe is concerned, being on the road and helping shop techs do their job is close to the best job he could have.
"I like the interaction with the customers; I like not being tied to an office cubicle," Poulin said. "This gets me out, involved in what's going on in the world."
For Joe, it's just not really work.
"The interaction with the customers is great; there's always something happening. …. I'm a firm believer that if you enjoy what you do, you truly don't work.
"We all don't want to get out of bed in the morning, but once you have that cup of coffee and you get going, you just put a smile on and have fun."
Once Joe does get his Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee though, his phone is ringing off the hook and he loves it. From helping customers to advising and mentoring other distributors with their questions, Joe seems to spend as much time with his phone as with his live customers. And he always has an answer for people (as long as they aren't being negative).
"Negativity spreads like wildfire," Joe said, and he looks for people who want to make things better rather than dwell on what's wrong — whether they're Mac distributors or customers.
Joe is adamant that distributors need to create a solid relationship, from day one, with any new customer. It's important that the distributor maintain an upper hand in the selling and collecting, so that the tech never feels like he can pull a quick one.
"If you become consistent, you train them," Joe said. "If you become inconsistent, they're going to train you — and then they run the truck. You can't have that."
Joe said the consistency should start with each customer the first time they buy something. Before that first sale with any tech, having The Conversation is imperative.
"Selling is truly easy; it's going back and collecting your money and doing it tactfully so that you don't upset somebody, but that all begins when you sell," Joe said. "You have a conversation about how the money is going to be collected.
" 'This is what I expect.' 'Can you do this?' 'Will you do this?' OK."
Joe said the distributor's follow-up on The Conversation is to show up when expected, and ask the tech to do the same. Besides The Conversation, Joe said it is vital to know your customers. Know what they want, what they like, what they need.
And especially what they can afford.
"When you're putting money out there on the streets, you just can't be loading people up and thinking you're the man," Joe said. There's a certain amount of responsibility in knowing what your customer can afford, Joe said, and if you drown him in a toolbox and tools he can't afford, pretty soon he's ducking you and getting further behind.
"If it's in their toolbox and it's moving around this state," Joe said, "I've gotta chase it. That's the money I'm using as capital."
Big spenders are fine, provided you know they're good for it every week.
"It's nice to have those big players, guys who hand you $100, $200 a week … but you just have to be cautious," Joe said. "You can't do it to just anybody, you've got to do it to people you've had a relationship with and you know that he isn't going to stick you."
Joe said he's seen people lose focus on the customer relationships to target the money.
"They're worried about keeping their sales numbers up, but if you put your sales numbers through the roof and collections keep going down, you're going down.
"It's crucial that you be mindful of what you're putting down and what you're bringing in."