Dennis Conway is a Matco Tools dealer serving the Brownstown, Mich. area, near Detroit.
As a mobile tool dealer, it’s important to be on the lookout for ways to promote yourself. Back in 2007, I came across an opportunity that not many distributors experience: the chance for a starring role in a career opportunities video.
You can imagine my surprise when I got a call from the Ford Motor Co. I serve the Brownstown, Mich. area, which is near Detroit, the home of Ford Motor Co. No, Ford wasn’t asking me to come to their manufacturing plants to sell tools. In 2007, they were offering employee buyouts. They wanted to know if I would help them with a video about the tool distribution business.
The Ford representative explained that they were making a video to show employees what opportunities were available if they left Ford. Being an automaker, they knew about the mobile tool business and they recognized it can be a good opportunity for someone who opted to take a buyout and needed a new job once they left.
A way to help my flag
I was interested. I saw this as a way to help my flag recruit more dealers. I always believed that the stronger my flag organization, the better it is for my business. If I can help bring a person into the organization who succeeds, then my business gets stronger.
I told the Ford representative I would be glad to help. The plan was to have a camera crew ride with me on my truck and film me in action.
My district manager was involved in these conversations as well. The plan was okay with Matco Tools.
It was an interesting experience. There were three people who rode on my truck while a fourth person followed us in a car. One of them interviewed me as I drove to my stops. Her assistants helped carry the camera equipment.
The camera crew followed me into my stops. I made it a point of asking the shop managers if it was okay to bring people with cameras into the shop. Most of them had no problem with this.
The interviewer asked my customers why they bought tools from me. My customers explained why it was important to have someone come by with new tools periodically because they always needed new tools working on cars. They told her that a tool dealer is in a position to know about new tools that can help them get their work done better.
At the end of the route, the crew came into my shop and the interviewer asked me more about my work. I emphasized the fact that there are many skills required to succeed in mobile tool sales. I didn’t want them to think that all I did was drive around and have people throw money at me.
I wanted them to realize they could not have an “entitlement” mindset and succeed in mobile tool sales. The job takes a lot of discipline and self motivation.
Once the video was made, Ford sent me a copy. I was disappointed that they edited out a lot of the comments I made about the need to be disciplined. The video didn’t oversell the opportunity, but it could have given people a more complete understanding of what the job requires.
In the end, the video didn’t result in any new dealers. So in a way, I’m glad that while I was disappointed with the final product, the video didn’t oversell the opportunity.
Plus I got something interesting to show my friends and family.
Would I do it over again? If the opportunity were to present itself again, I would want the interviewer to have a better understanding of the business before they rode with me.
There is certainly a need for educational videos about the mobile tool industry. Our industry offers a great opportunity for people who are self-starters and have a good idea what the job requires. The mobile distribution industry itself should be doing more to educate prospective dealers about the industry.
In addition, I’m glad I made the effort to help my flag. The stronger the flag organization, the stronger I am.