Levy explains. "We try to give the instructors whatever they need in terms of training support. We like to conduct seminars on new products, providing usage tips and showing students how a product can help them. Schools don't always have the resources to adapt to industry changes as quickly as shops do. So both the instructors and students appreciate it when we can show them what's coming down the pike."
They also appreciate it when you work with them to make tools, equipment and other supplies more affordable. Money is often tight for a vocational program, not to mention the students participating in it. Chances are, some of your suppliers have programs designed for the votech market, enabling you to extend special pricing and payment plans that can help win business.
An example is SK Hand Tool's recently revamped Vocational Program. Matco Tools also supports their mobile dealers with a special Votech program. While discounting isn't recommended, some distributors will offer price breaks on certain items when full payments are made.
One of the reasons Scharping has had success with the votech market is because he treats students the same as he would any customer. "Every student is invited to have a truck account, and if they do, they pay the same prices any professional technician would. I give students all the respect of a normal technician. It's then up to them to keep that respect," he states." I look at it like part of their training is understanding how to work with a tool man."
Patience and respect can have lucrative consequences.