WTD Supply, headquartered in New York City, is reaching out to mobile distributors in new ways, including greater product offering, more frequent publication of its sales brochure and helping jobbers organize sales clinics. Change (for the better) seems to be the mantra at WTD.
"Years ago when we first started, we were mainly tool distributors," said Bruce Safran, director of marketing. "But today, we sell everything from tools and equipment to industrial supplies."
"Whether you're an automotive repair shop, a golf course or a factory, you need products for your business. We recognize that demand and, although we are still focused on the automotive business, carry a large selection of industrial supplies," said Neil Staub, WTD president. "Whether it is a tool or industrial supplies for your customer's shop — we have it in stock, ready to ship.
"Faced with the challenges of slow industry growth, many mobile jobbers are starting to say, 'Hey, I'm servicing these shops and they're looking for stuff that I don't have in my traditional offering, so I'll find a distributor who can get it for me.'
"And we're the guy," Staub said.
Even though WTD is expanding into other areas, they are not compromising their more than 10,000 tool and equipment SKUs.
"Our automotive tool SKU count has actually grown in 2007," Staub said. "But in a difficult market … we're trying to give that mobile jobber an opportunity to sell the products that their customers have been buying for a long time from someone else."
More tools, more often
One of the most important ways WTD Supply is communicating its new products available at their distribution centers (New York, Jacksonville, Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas) is through the company's sales brochure. The WTD Supply brochure is a 112-page full-color catalog that mails every six weeks.
"With new products coming out constantly we wanted to get the information into the hands of our customers quickly," Safran said. "The sooner we could do that, the better it would be for us and our customers.
"One of the things we recognize is that new products are the lifeblood of this business."
"Only active customers will be receiving brochures every six weeks," Staub said. Customers can be added to that list by contacting the company.
Touting the WTD brochure's content and attractive layout, Staub said it is "a strong selling tool for the mobile jobber, one that can help sell after the jobber has gone on to his next stop.
"Our sales brochures allow our customers to sell product without having to invest in inventory or spend extra time explaining the features and benefits of each tool. It is their 'silent salesman.' "
WTD Supply also can provide mobile dealers with customized catalogs to fit their unique needs.
"We turn out many different versions of our catalog," Safran said. "There is the WTD version that contains the jobbers' net pricing, then two retail versions containing the same product where the pricing provides a 30-percent profit and another version with 40-percent profit."
The retail catalogs have a place
where the jobber can customize their name and business information on the front
and back cover, or use a label on the back cover.
"More and more, people are accessing information not just from print catalogs, but also through the web," Staub said. "We've been at the front of the line in providing information to customers via the Internet."
The WTD Supply secure website, www.wtdsupply.com, includes a login area for current customers. Once mobile jobbers log in to their accounts, they can view products, check pricing and availability and place orders. They can also browse the site without logging in and see products along with MSRP pricing. This allows the jobber to print information for their customers without allowing the technician to see the jobbers' actual cost.
Back to school
Beyond getting the information to the mobile dealer in print and online, WTD is looking to make sure their customers are knowledgeable on what they sell.
"It's all about education; it's about us educating our customers on what sells well in the market and how to sell that product," Staub said. He cited the clinics they're helping jobbers coordinate to sell the SPX/OTC Genisys diagnostic tool and related software.
"We've created a step-by-step program which will enable a jobber who is not an expert on diagnostic equipment to go out and sell the Genisys and related software," Staub said.
Typically, the mobile jobber signs up eight to 12 interested technicians and coordinates a time/place when they can meet for a few hours (usually at a customer's shop).
The jobber then forwards the names of the techs to WTD Supply.
"We arrange for an SPX sales representative to attend the clinic and teach the technicians about the Genisys," Staub said. "We also provide reimbursement of expenses, for items such as food and drink, up to $200.
"What we also do before the clinic is to send the mobile jobber a variety of Genisys hardware and software." Staub said. "Now the jobber has the product on hand and sales can be made on the spot. The mobile jobber doesn't do anything except coordinate the effort and book the sale."
And the clinics aren't just to sell new units.
"Some technicians may own a scan tool with older software. Once they purchase the newer version of the software, the manufacturer's representative will update the scan tool on the spot," Staub said. "The technician is ecstatic because he has the newest software available at a great price, and he also got it installed on his Genisys unit. Now he doesn't have to spend several hours at the shop installing it himself.
"The manufacturer's representative will also take a technician who doesn't own a Genisys, and using his demo unit, show the interested technician what the unit is capable of doing.
"Every time you hold one of these clinics, you're probably booking between $5,000 and $10,000 in sales," Staub said. "Programs like this build strong relationships with the mobile dealer. … We figure that if we can educate the technician, it's a lot easier for the jobber to make the sale."
In the warehouse
The thriving business also continues to improve its physical locations to support mobile dealers.
"We're updating all of our racking and warehouse planning, so that we can be more efficient and stock more merchandise," Safran said. "We have moved to a bin location system at most of our locations, which helps us process orders faster. We guarantee that any order received before 2 p.m. will not only ship the same day, but the jobber will receive it in one to two days.
"The mobile jobber is dependent on their suppliers being able to deliver quickly with few back orders," Safran said. "We've done surveys that show we have the highest fulfillment rate and quickest delivery in the industry."
Doing their best to serve mobile tool and equipment distributors is nothing new for WTD Supply.
"We've been at this for a long time," said Jerry Staub, WTD chairman. "But we're still singing the same song: price, availability, we get it to you quickly. … We have been consistent for over 20 years."
WTD Supply is actively working to serve mobile jobbers better through improving their product offering, sales brochures and more.