Sales tip: Reach a younger customer base

Boyd Sutfin, Cornwell dealer of Madison, WI believes success is in setting the standard.

A big part of Sutfin’s game plan is to build a younger technician customer base.

Sutfin explains that he sees his age as an advantage, being only 31 years old himself.

“I’m young. And I (like to) joke with those guys a little,” says Sutfin. “I’m not an old guy just getting into it. These younger guys, (they can start thinking) ‘that’s my dealer for the rest of my life.’”

And you can see how he relates to the younger techs in the shops.

At some stops, groups of younger technicians crowd around Sutfin to see the tools he has carried in his tote. They appear just as eager to hear about the tools as Sutfin is to present them.

Sutfin has a passive sales approach. He’s not at all pushy. He focuses more on being relatable with the customer, and doesn’t like to pressure his customers into making a purchase. 

“I get along with everybody, but the younger kids are more excited to buy. They need the stuff,” says Sutfin.

Larry Moskalyk, independent distributor of Largo, FL gives a key lesson he learned in his early years.

A key lesson he learned in his early years was a laid-back sales approach. He walks into every location and strikes up a conversation about topics not related to business. After this, he moves slowly to business topics.

He has never "toted and promoted" as a regular practice. He only brings a new tool into a shop if it has a new feature. "Carrying stuff in is pretty tough for what the take is," he says.

"Don't be pushy with the guys," he says. "Guys will tell me what they want. In his (the customer's) mind, there's a reason why he's not taking it right now. It's easy to sell the stuff, but collecting the money takes tact."

He made it a point to find areas of common interest with his customers. As a smoker, he asked them for tips on how to quit smoking. As an occasional lottery ticket buyer, he found lotto a popular topic among service techs.

As a race car enthusiast, he made it a point to talk about drag racing with the many techs that share this interest, particularly those in the restoration shops that are prevalent in Central Florida. He carried around pictures of his 1977 Corvette which he had rebuilt and repainted; a lot of guys loved to see it. "Buy someone a beer at the race track and it can go a long way," he notes. "It's all PR. They will pay a little extra because of you, yourself."

He even began carrying dog biscuits for the shop owners' pets; in some cases, the way to a man's heart is through his dog.


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