Philly area mentor uses low pressure sales, focus on capital equipment

Tom Zummo, a Conshohocken, Pa.-based distributor, has become a Mac Tools master distributor and mentor distributor using low-pressure sales tactics and focusing on opportunities to sell capital equipment such as lifts, tire changers and compressors to his shops.

(Read about Mac Tools distributor Tom Zummo's collection and skip strategies.)

As a master and mentor distributor in the greater Philadelphia area, Zummo shares some of these same strategies with the dealers that ride along with him to learn about the business.

Zummo seems to sell more toolboxes and shop equipment than the average distributor. But he utilizes the same, low-pressure tactics, whether it be power tools or lifts.

"I don’t push the tools. The techs know what they’re looking for and what they want," says Zummo. "I think through Mac we have a lot of great deals. If I think there’s a deal that I can't pass up, I’ll show it to them. But other than that, I’ll hand out the sales flyer once a month, and they’ll tell me once a week what they need."

Zummo also focuses on selling lifts through Challenger Lifts, affiliated with Mac Tools. He explains that he'll do the legwork on making the sale on the equipment, and lets the customer choose if they'd like to go through his Challenger Lifts contact for installation, or if the shop would prefer to use their own installer.

"Challenger Lifts will recommend somebody in the area to come out," says Zummo. "Sometimes the customer already has a lift in their shop and they have a good rapport with someone that does the installation."

While Mac Tools offers financing options for some customers, not all are approved. Zummo uses his discretion on customers he thinks still qualify, based on his relationship, to extend a form of credit through Zummo directly.

"If you were coming onto my truck for the first time, I wouldn’t be financing tools for you. I only finance tools for people that I’ve been dealing with for a fair amount of time," says Zummo.

"I’ve been brought up in this area, I went to school here. I know some techs that I went to school with and have grown up with. They would be the ones I’d be likely to finance if they don’t have credit."

Zummo explains that he'll sometimes have customers ask him about getting into the business.

"I do recommend it. I always have guys that ask me. And once they show an interest in the business, I try to get them in contact with someone," he says. "It’s not recommended to everybody. You have to have something special to deal with the different types of customers."