When you look at the traits that have made Glenn Engelmann successful, no single one seems all that unique. He’s consistent in the way he runs his route. Focused on doing what it takes to operate a successful business. Disciplined to properly manage his cash flow and inventory. Energetic in...
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When you look at the traits that have made Glenn Engelmann successful, no single one seems all that unique.
He’s consistent in the way he runs his route. Focused on doing what it takes to operate a successful business. Disciplined to properly manage his cash flow and inventory. Energetic in servicing customers and tracking down product requests. And personal in the attention he gives to every customer, regardless of how long they’ve bought from him or how much they can spend. Individually, none of these attributes may seem that special, but combining and refining them are what have elevated Engelmann's business.
Furthermore, if you review Engelmann’s background, these traits and approaches are not too surprising. His five-year stint in the Air Force, which included 3 months in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, helped reinforce a sense of discipline and focus on the task at hand.
After the Air Force, Engelmann stayed in the state of Washington and ran a towing company, which brought out an appreciation for the independence of running one’s own business. Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Engelmann returned to his roots in Jacksonville, IL.
“When you combine my Air Force background with the fact that I'm a do-it-yourselfer with a love for tools, and that I previously ran my own business, the mobile tool market made a lot of sense for me,” recalls Engelmann.
He continues, “After we moved back to the Midwest, I was working for a company that serviced a number of shops, and sometimes I was there at the same time as the tool dealer. The district manager, Glen Vanderwall, saw something in me and we started to talk about becoming a mobile distributor. That was nine years ago. Matco and this business have been very good for my family and I.”
Consistency: When, Where & How Much
“The biggest thing for me is consistency,” states Engelmann. “I’m there at the same time every week, and I always go around the shop in the same way. So the customers at each stop know my routine and plan accordingly. Not only do the individual techs like this, but shop owners appreciate a toolman that saves time and doesn’t keep their employees wondering when or if their distributor will show.” In addition to keeping the purchasing, payment and customer service processes more efficient, Engelmann’s reliability offers another key benefit.
“Competition is not an issue when you’re consistent and deliver a high level of customer service,” states Engelmann. “When they start talking about my pricing, I just ask them, ‘Did they (the competition) just pull in the parking lot?’ That helps to reiterate what I bring to the table, which is service. If you sell on service, and back it up, the other guy becomes less of an issue.”
Finally, being in the shop on a regular basis leads to a better overall understanding of the customer, their habits and the type of work of they do. So following up on wish lists or offering new products designed for a specific job becomes easier, and results in more sales.
Focus: Attention To Retail
“When I first started,” recalls Engelmann, “my goal was to pay off the business as quickly as possible. It took a lot of hard work, especially in the beginning, but Matco’s support was unbelievable. I give a lot of credit for my success to (Matco president) Tom Willis, (Matco vice president of sales) Tim Gilmore and my current district manager Glen Vanderwall. Jimmy Turner, a fellow Matco dealer in the area, is also a great coach.”
This focus on achieving a goal, as well as the support from those around him, which includes wife Terri and daughter Savanna, helped Engelmann reach number 60 in total sales for Matco his first year in business. He’s been in the top 25 ever since, including a 10th place finish last year.
“I just try to stick to the basics and don’t make things any harder than they are. You don’t have to try and re-invent the wheel every day - just use the one you’ve got as well as you can,” he explains. “And what they say is true. Behind every good man, there’s a better woman. My wife and daughter are involved in the business and help me a great deal.”