Over the past year I had the opportunity to meet with 10 different tool distributors and ride with them during one day of their working life. Most are affiliated with a major flag, but a few are independent.
Their routes range from high-density metropolitan areas to a rural route so spread out that it literally covers an entire state. While a ‘ride-along’ is not walking a mile in their shoes, each of these kind folks has taught me much about the business and the people in it, and I feel privileged to have shared their world even for just one day.
I learned that as professional sales people, tool distributors are an unusual breed. Their never-ending attention to their customers’ needs is only partially motivated by profit. There is also a strong social bond between distributors and their customers, sometimes almost tribal. Maybe they see each other so often that personal relationships are almost unavoidable. But there’s a keen sense of duty to the customer that I haven’t seen in other sales professionals.
In other ways, the tool distributors I’ve met are just like other sales professionals, particularly in their instant ingenuity in the art of making the deal. Some are relaxed and easy-going, some are high-energy, but all are completely professional, worthy of the trust their customers place in them. They don’t just sell tools, they are what they do; they solve their customers’ problems.
It’s time once again to recognize one of the industry’s best, as we begin our search for the 2013 Mobile Tool Distributor of the Year.
We’re looking for an ambassador, someone who projects a positive image of the profession, someone that people from outside the industry feel comfortable doing business with, and that people from inside the industry would recognize as a true professional.
The contest winner doesn’t have to be the top sales person with the highest earnings, but we will look at percentage of growth over the past year. We’ll also look at attitude, appearance and a number of other criteria, including involvement in community outside of the profession.
Over the next few months we’ll be taking nominations from subscribers of Professional Distributor magazine.
Nominations must be completed and received on or before September 14, and the winner will be notified in late December. The winner will be featured in the April 2013 issue of Professional Distributor and will receive a plaque suitable for hanging in the truck.
So if you’re a distributor, district manager, shop owner or a tool truck customer, and you know a tool distributor who belongs in our search for 2013 Mobile Tool Distributor of the Year, go to the Website and fill out a nomination form. If your nominee wins, you’ll receive a little something too, just to say 'thanks' for helping us recognize The Best.
Have a distributor in mind? Submit your nomination form now.