Driven To Get The Right Tools In Customers’ Hands? What About ‘Selling Tools’ You Need?

Tool trucks show up in the most unusual places. As I surfed the Internet researching selling strategies for a future article, the colorful image of a well known flag’s truck emerged across my computer screen. Along with a thought-provoking article about – of all things – tool trucks.

To convey the concept of having a tangible resource for things sales people need for strengthening their selling skills, the writer used the analogy of a tool truck. (To read the article, go to

The writer, sales coach Miles Austin, related his excitement when he saw a flag’s truck in action. He stood in awe as technicians converged on the truck to learn about new tools and talk shop with other techs. He compared this to the energy he sees when salespeople get together to “talk shop.”

Austin then wondered if a resource similar to a tool truck could exist for his readers, most of whom are traditional sales reps working for someone else. He asked his readers to hypothesize what a tool truck catering to sales professionals might carry.

Austin’s insight caught my attention. Not because I work with mobile distributors, but because I was intrigued by the analogy he made between a tool truck and sales coaching. He used the analogy to help his readers grasp the importance of having the things they need as salespeople to do their jobs better. His article alludes to tools such as sales training books, magazines, audio and video training CDs, seminars, webinars and subscriptions to sales coaching websites.

Reader after reader praised Austin’s tool truck analogy. Many went to great lengths in their online comments. It is obvious that many sales professionals are passionate about the need for more and better tools to support their sales efforts. Primarily ongoing sales education.

One reader noted that many of his fellow salespeople fall short when it comes to investing in their own skills and techniques; they wait for their company to provide the tools.

Another wrote: “What a great concept for sales managers to teach and have expectations for their salespeople – it is your responsibility to add to your toolbox.”

Another reader, a sales coach, noted that her trainees often ask her to urge their employers to invest in sales tools such as subscriptions to sales coaching websites.

Readers loved the tool truck analogy

Austin’s readers loved the tool truck analogy and they found it useful in conceptualizing their own training needs. But I couldn’t help but wonder how many mobile distributors out there will grasp this analogy, which applies to them as much as anyone.

The tool truck selling environment is unique in many ways. But the mobile distributor needs the same selling tools mentioned above. Some of the selling tools mentioned, namely sales training CDs, are even more useful to the mobile tool distributor than a traditional sales rep since the mobile distributor can listen to the CD while he’s driving, thereby making productive use of his “non-selling” time.

There are many skills involved in mobile tool distribution, as I noted in last month’s column. But the most important skill is salesmanship. And to sell effectively, distributors need to invest in things like raffle tickets, St. Patrick’s Day decorations, credit card readers, business cards, video monitors on the truck that run demo videos and advertise specials, etc.

But the most important investment of all is in sales education. A distributor has to make a lifelong commitment to educating himself or herself in order to hone their selling skills. The tool truck itself offers a great analogy.