Though it’s been more than 25 years since Tom Neamon got his start as a Mac Tools distributor, he still recalls just how difficult it is for someone new to the business to have success early on.
The Arcade, N.Y.-based distributor has not forgotten the struggles he endured during his first few years on the truck, the lessons he learned from them, and how he used those lessons to improve with time. So Neamon takes it upon himself to provide tips, advice and encouragement to those mobile tool distributors trying to gain a solid footing and turn a profit in their first few weeks and months in business.
“It’s very hard for a new distributor,” says Neamon, who became a Mac Tools distributor in 1988. “Customers want to be working with a very professional, very established guy.”
As one of those professional, established distributors, Neamon says inexperienced mobile tool distributors should try to learn as much as they can once they get their start. They also must avoid trying to go after their competition right away.
“You do not want to go head-to-head,” he says. “The other guy’s been in the business two years, five years, 10 years, or 20 years longer than you. Because you are a brand-new guy, he’ll walk all over you.”
Success, he says, comes to those mobile tool distributors who don’t pretend they know more than they really do and instead focus on one basic principle.
“Take care of your customer,” Neamon says. “If you take care of your customer, he’s going take care of you.”
The longtime Mac Tools distributor also readily admits that someone in his line of work can always find ways to get better and sell more. This, he says, is done by “staying up with the times,” attending tool fairs, participating in training sessions and seeking out seminars.
At this point in his career, Neamon is doing quite well. He describes his business as “very healthy” right now. But though he’s been in the business since the late 1980s and has put his early struggles behind him, Neamon is still motivated to go about his job every day and continue to serve his customers. “Where can I go, make the money that I’m making, come and go as I please, and have fun doing it?” he asks.
The business of selling tools has changed quite a bit in the 26 years since Neamon left his job as a service manager at a car dealership to sign on with Mac Tools. Increased sales of cordless tools is one of the biggest trends he has seen during the past decade or so, and he projects electronics to be an area where his business will continue to grow in the near future.
“We can already see it,” says Neamon. “We’re going to have electric brakes within a couple of years. We already have electric steering assists.”
There are aspects of his business that he doesn’t expect to change, though: taking care of the customer and enjoying every new day on the job.
“You’ve got to have fun selling tools,” he says.