I'm not a salesman. I'm a toolman," explains Nikol "Nik" Satenstein. "My job is not to sell them something, but to listen to their problems and offer advice on tools and equipment that can help solve those problems." To some this may seem like just another sales technique. But to Satenstein...
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"I also try to do what's in the customer's best interest. I won't overload a young guy or get someone into debt that I know can't afford everything they're putting on the account.
"Part of that is knowing how to read people, and recognizing those who want to take advantage of the situation, but the other part is serving as an advisor to those who don't know any better. In these instances, it might mean investing a little more time at the stop."
Other elements of Satenstein's approach to customer service include no-hassle warranty coverage and a cooler that's always full of cold soda and bottled water.
"The goal is to make things easier for the customer, so that they know they're being serviced. This helps keep them loyal and protect my price points, while reinforcing the benefits of buying from a mobile dealer."
Backing It Up
Supporting Satenstein in all of his customer service initiatives are Matco's customer service personnel, which he describes as especially well-organized in getting repairs and warranties processed quickly. "Matco works with me and keeps my best interests in mind.
"They're not afraid to fix mistakes and they've always been really easy to do business with. I also appreciate the fact that top management is accessible and, regardless of when I call, someone immediately answers the phone. Back orders are a non-issue. They just take care of all the little things so that I don't have to," states Satenstein.
In addition to constantly investing and re-investing in his business, Satenstein says some of his keys to success are the commonly cited reliability, cash flow management and simply trying to do the right thing. After 25 years, however, Satenstein says he's still learning.
"The only mistake is not to learn from them," he states. "This business takes a lot of courage when it comes to re-visiting shops that didn't work out so well, or trying to get business from a new shop. But every time one of these situations didn't work out, I learned from it. It's a strange dynamic, but sometimes this business is the most lonely when you're surrounded by people. That's why it's important to keep smiling and have fun."
While many mobile dealers have a tendency to skip lunch or dinner due to the frantic pace of their route, Satenstein says he eats three homemade meals every day. It's an important part of his routine that he takes time to enjoy. Similarly, he says it's up to each mobile dealer to set priorities and organize their time according to these priorities. Whether it's hitting a certain number of shops or reaching a given dollar amount, organization, preparation and investing accordingly are his keys to success.
Nik Satenstein owns six of the nicest MOPAR muscle cars you'll ever see, including the 1969 Daytona Charger and 1970 440 Six Pack Challenger R/T on the cover of this month's issue. While the reasons behind owning these cars are simple for Satenstein, they're also symbolic. They represent another way of re-investing in something he loves.