Mobile tool distribution has a bright future if 28-year-old Carrie Lake is representative of the new generation. In just a few months, this intelligent, personable and innovative young woman has more than doubled the customer count in a semi-rural section of northeastern Michigan that had gone...
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In the future, she plans to do a raffle every other month with tools as prizes.
The key selling points she has learned are those that are common to all mobile distributors: product quality, name brand recognition, variety and convenience. “They (customers) pay the extra dollars because it’s convenient and there’s a lifetime warranty,” she notes.
She typically provides $300 in credit per customer, setting up weekly payment plans. For those customers with good payment history, she extends the limit. She has gone as high as $1,200 on a large purchase for a credit-worthy customer.
Lake recently began using a Square smartphone app that allows her to process credit payments with her mobile phone.
Receivables have not been an issue.
She thinks being a woman has been an advantage in minimizing receivables since men, who are the majority of customers, are inclined to demonstrate financial responsibility to a woman.
She also recognizes that her own communication skills, honed by her previous retail sales jobs, have helped. “I have a knack at being good with names and faces,” she says. “When you’ve done as many jobs as I’ve done, you know how to treat people.”
Her next focus will be on expanding her customer base to farms. In the meantime, she looks forward to attending the Mac Tools Fair in Dallas in the spring.
Tips on how to run promotions out of ever changing product displays to keep customers on their feet and increase impulse purchases.
Lake expected customers to ignore her, but she overcame that challenge with persistence.