Although Ferguson will fill nearly any equipment request, they site lifts from Mohawk, Coats, Forward and Accu among their core offerings. They’ve also provided RTI Technologies and Hennessey Industries equipment right from the start, along with Corghi tire changers. “In addition to being able to service what we sell, we also look at things like durability, fit, finish, construction and other product quality dynamics in deciding what we’ll sell,” explains Schildtknecht.
Although most sales come from repeat business, the company also takes several pro-active measures in selling new products and services. They include:
- Suggesting the replacement of 20+-year-old lifts, due to vehicle designs that now place more weight up front.
- Selling preventative maintenance on lifts, which includes checking the cables and hydraulics. “We sell 300 – 400 lifts a year, so it’s big business for us,” states Ferguson. “But we only sell ALI and ETL-approved units.”
- Producing fliers and catalogs that are sent to area shops.
- Reminding shops of Maryland’s state inspection specifications, for which they sell the necessary equipment in performing these services.
- Helping shops determine their need and what they can afford in meeting that need.
- Working with warehouse distributor Integrated Supply Network (ISN of Baltimore) to fill any inventory gaps.
- Free trial periods before deciding whether or not to purchase. These units rarely come back to Ferguson.
- Partnering with mobile dealers to install or service equipment, even if it wasn’t bought from Ferguson, although they will sell to this group as well.
- Staying in touch with changes taking place in the market by working with a local tech school and other automotive organizations.
Notice that none of these approaches address discounting a price or making a deal. Countless distributors will tell you that service will almost always overcome price objections, regardless of what’s being sold.
The key is making sure that you stand behind what you’re selling, believe in its usefulness and won’t forget about it once the transaction is complete. Basically, just like Ferguson, the sale needs to include … you.