Recruit your spouse for extra help

Whereas many distributors have help from their families from washing the truck to inventory, billing and more, Matt Sledge's wife, Shannon, will actually drive his truck and do his route on days that he is unable to, whether sick, at a tool show, etc.

“I just pull up, and honk the horn,” Shannon said. “I come in like, ‘Toolman’s here!’ They say, ‘Yeah, you’re a lot better looking than the toolman.’ ”

Shannon admits, though, that she concentrates much more on collecting than selling when she’s on the truck.

“I sell, but he’s a better salesman,” Shannon said. “I’m always hardcore [collecting]. I mean, when a guy says, ‘I don’t have any money,’ I say, ‘Are you really going to tell a woman that you don’t have any money?’ ”

Shannon has even done Matt’s route for a full week. 

“The thing about this business, if you don’t run it, nobody’s going to,” Matt said of how lucky he feels to have Shannon helping out. “She’ll run it, maybe five days out of the whole year.”

One of Matt’s keys is consistency, as with any successful distributor, and that’s a big part of the help Shannon offers — being consistent.

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