Competing at the Top

Derick Turner, a Matco mobile tool distributor since 1998, readily admits his competitive spirit has been essential to his development of his Vineland, N.J., territory. The former drag racer started as a Distributor Plus when another Matco distributor hired Derick for the territory. He began selling...


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Derick Turner, a Matco mobile tool distributor since 1998, readily admits his competitive spirit has been essential to his development of his Vineland, N.J., territory. The former drag racer started as a Distributor Plus when another Matco distributor hired Derick for the territory. He began selling Matco tools in April, and by December had bought the route.

“From day one, I loved it,” Derick said. “I knew it was what I wanted to do and when the time came I ended up buying the route.”

Derick recently was named a Matco Top 200 dealer for 2006; in fact, he was No. 93 on the list at $455,759 in sales. That’s a heady achievement for a guy with what appears to be a laid-back approach to selling. But Derick isn’t laid-back in his approach to the job, from the cleanliness of his truck to the incentives he dreams up for his customers.

Promotions/incentives

One of those promotions helped Derick with toolbox sales, a big element of his 2006 sales he credits with propelling him into the top dealers. A bonus for techs who pre-qualified allowed Derick to target customers who would be able to spend money on the big-ticket items, rather than spend a half hour or more with a tech who wouldn’t qualify for purchase after all that time was spent.

Every customer who filled out a credit application received a hat, a T-shirt and one raffle ticket for a chance to win a service cart. Techs who were approved, and made a purchase on a Matco PSA account, received five additional raffle tickets. Those who bought a toolbox received an additional 10 raffle tickets.

“At the same time I ran the contest, Matco had a reduced-interest promo running on toolboxes,” Derick said. “The timing was perfect and the contest produced nearly $50,000 in sales.”

Another incentive Derick used last year (credited to his fiancee, Janice Malone, who also helps decorate the truck for promotions and holidays and with creative thinking about the business), was an Easter egg giveaway. The contest was designed to improve collections, and any tech who paid at least $10 above his normal weekly amount received a candy-filled egg. Though Derick thought the eggs would make it home to customers’ kids, he discovered many eggs didn’t make it out of the shop.

After returning from the Matco tool expo in March, Derick started a raffle with a cash prize hot on the heels of some lottery fever. He bought 15 Matco four-piece pliers sets at a $20 discount, and was selling them packaged with a raffle ticket potentially worth $200 cash. So techs who purchased the pliers also received a 1 in 15 chance at $200 cash (not merchandise credit). Derick sold two at the first shop where he made the offer.

Attitude and discipline

Aside from promotions, Derick relies on a positive attitude to help him sell and discipline in his approach to the job.

“We’re responsible for our own success,” Derick said, more than once. He treats his route as if he were punching the clock for someone else. He’s up about the same time every morning, checking his Matco accounts and invoices, checking inventory and then he’s out the door.

He finds it essential to be at the same stop at the same time every week. Keep the customers on a schedule and they will get in the habit of looking for Derick every week, and hopefully make habits of buying tools and paying on time.

Derick runs his days on a 1,200/1,200 schedule: He doesn’t intend to think about going home until each day hits $1,200 in new sales and $1,200 in collections. (A quick look at his numbers for 2006 shows he’s been beating that goal.)

In addition to his disciplined approach, the positive attitude helps. Derick strives to keep problems at one shop from carrying over to another and seeks to greet everyone with a smile.

“When I pull into a stop, I want the guys to be happy to see me. I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh man, here comes the Matco guy. I wonder what happened to him this time.’ ” And that’s good for Derick and Matco.

“You have that Matco name on the side of your truck,” Derick said. “I want everybody to have a positive view of the company in general. I want customers to have a good experience with me. ... if they happen to move on to another Matco dealer’s territory, when he pulls in there, I don’t want him to have to work to gain their business.”

His truck

Derick’s truck is an essential tool in his success. He keeps it clean and organized. He bought a new 18’ truck two years ago, which he said was essential to display more inventory. The upgrade gave him better shelf space and lighting, and made a “huge difference.”

A well-stocked, cared-for truck helps silently sell the techs on the route who can’t ignore his investment in himself and the business. But as much selling that happens on the truck, Derick doesn’t ignore the importance of bringing tools into the shops with him.

More than just passing out sales fliers, Derick is sure to display new tools for his customers when he walks in — after all, “if they can’t see anything, what are they going to buy?” Derick sees bringing tools into the shop as a good way to pique interest.

Corporately speaking

Derick gives some of the credit for his success back to the company, from the Matco managers and service reps to his own district manager, Gary Goglia, and regional manager, Drew Laporta. Derick describes both the company and Goglia as “available.”

“If you have a problem during the day ... you can get somebody to help you. You don’t get the runaround or somebody dropping the ball,” Derick said. “They’re always there to help you with whatever you need ... from the managers to the customer service reps to the financial reps.”

If Derick stays focused on his 2006 keys of consistency, incentives, and flexibility, there’s no reason he won’t improve upon his No. 93 standing at the next Matco expo in early 2008. If you’re there in Orlando, take a look up on the Top Sales stage and see for yourself where he stands.

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