Think Big!

How are sales? How is your first half stacking up against first half of last year? How close are you to your personal sales goals?

If you're on target or ahead of your goals, congratulations! You've worked hard to get where you are. Take a few minutes to assess what you've done to grow your sales this year and keep doing it. But don't spend too much time basking in glory. Now's not the time to sit on your haunches. You've got less than five months to go!

If you're behind on your personal goals, don't fret. You've worked hard this year, but something has held you back. Take a few minutes to assess what you can do differently to bring the rest of the year on track and meet or beat your goals. But don't spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself. Now's not the time to sit on your haunches. You've got less than five months to go!

Where Do You Want To Grow?
One "Mobile MBA" tactic to grow sales, regardless if you're behind or ahead, is to sell more big-ticket items – for example, capital equipment to shop owners (like tire service equipment, see page 22).

I know what you're thinking: selling big-ticket equipment eats up a lot of time. It takes you away from all the other things you need to do to keep on track. You're on a tight schedule, and selling big equipment can be time-consuming.

But there are ways to pitch more equipment in less time. Making a few more quick equipment pitches a week can grow your
bottom line exponentially — and painlessly.

What would you rather sell: One $2,500 piece of equipment or 25 $100 tools?

One answer I've heard is, "Tools. It's always easier to sell cheaper stuff — and the margin on tools is

I challenge that thinking.

Let's assume you sell every tool you pitch. You'd have to do 25 times more work selling those tools than selling one $2,500 piece of equipment. Let's say pitching, paperwork, and restocking takes you just three minutes. That's 1 hour and 15 minutes on those tool sales. How many equipment pitches can you make in that time? (And chances are you don't sell every tool you pitch, you don't get $100 for every tool you sell, and you need more than three minutes to service each sale.)

Are you really making that much more margin on tools when you consider all your time?

Now I'm not telling you to walk away from your bread-and-butter and sell just equipment. That's foolish — the key is balance. I'm suggesting you try to make two or three more equipment pitches a week.

A system that can beat the odds
Some of the credits in your "Mobile MBA" come through becoming a "Business Advisor" to the shop owner. By showing him how a new piece of equipment can save him time, make him money or reduce his liability and increase the safety of his shop, you are doing more than selling a tool. You're giving him valuable business advice.

A lot of people sell equipment, but not many focus on helping the customer grow his business.

I realize your schedule is already tight, so to streamline your business advisory/equipment sales process, I've outlined a simple approach — based on input from several industry leaders.

In my example, you're selling equipment to independent shop owners. I've chosen them because owners tend to buy the most expensive equipment, and independents usually have full decision-making authority. With a few simple tweaks, this system can work for you to sell equipment to almost anyone you focus on.

Ask for the need
Begin by making it a point to talk to the owner of at least one or two independent shops every week. Ask if they are considering any new equipment purchases in the next couple of months. If they are, take a few notes. What are they looking for? When do they think they'll be ready to buy?

Bigger equipment decisions can take months to close, or minutes – depending on how ready the buyer is. Timing is everything.

Look around - and ask around
If the owner isn't available or can't think of anything they need, do some detective work. Look at the equipment they have. What's missing? What looks old and needs replacement? Ask the techs if the shop needs a new piece of equipment that's lacking or outdated. Again, take notes.

Hand out handouts
On your next visit to the shop, bring product literature and an ROI worksheet (the August issue of PTEN has some good ROI information and worksheets). Again take a moment to stop and see the owner. Let them know you'll be brief.

"I know you're busy, so I'll only take a moment …
"Last time I was here you said you might be looking for a ___."
Or, "Last time I was here I noticed you didn't have a ___."
Or, "One of the techs mentioned last week you could use a new ___."

"Here's a flyer on the model I like and return on investment worksheet I've filled out already for you. The worksheet shows the equipment payback can be less than six months based on your labor rate.
"Look it over. My cell phone number is at the bottom. Call if you have any questions. I can talk to you more about it next week when I'm here."

"Do you still think you'll be moving ahead with that purchase next month?"

Listen and take notes. Keep track of their timeline so you're ready to close when he's ready to buy.

Ask for the sale
Selling more equipment takes persistence. Try to check in every week until they buy something from you or a competitor. Don't be pesky, just ask if they have any questions, if they want a demo, if they need you to line up financing — whatever gives you a reason to just pop in for a minute or two.

Trying to sell more equipment may seem awkward, at first. Don't give up. After a few weeks the process will feel more natural. And the reward of a couple more big-ticket equipment sales every month can be well worth the few extra minutes invested.

Phil Sasso is the president of Sasso Marketing, an aftermarket advertising and public relations agency. Sasso is also a speaker, trainer and consultant. And he's ahead of his sales goals this year. Subscribe to his free marketing tip email at