Part II: Matco newcomer shares tool expo strategies

Matco Tools distributor Rick Ressler has been running his Elk River, Minn.-route for six months, and attended the Matco Tools Expo for the first time this year, in San Diego. He shared insights on how he made the most of his time at the show, and sales strategies he used when he returned to his business afterward.

Tool expo strategies

Many distributors use toting and promoting to show off tools to customers, and Ressler is no different. However, he does implement some different strategies on what tools to bring into the shop.

"Sometimes it's the basic things you've got to bring into the shop, because they wear out and they get lost. It's not always the latest and greatest tool," said Ressler. "Sometimes you've got to go back and bring something that was a great, popular tool, even a few years ago."

To find that balance of controlling his inventory and showing off new tools, Ressler employs a strategy for both that he used after seeing new products at the Matco Tool Expo in San Diego this past February.

"What I liked, I brought back one of, because I knew I didn't have enough money to bring back everything that I wanted."

Ressler would show off and give tool demonstrations for the one tool he purchased at the expo to his customers.

"I toted that (tool) around and said, 'Hey guys, this is what I found when I was in San Diego. I really like this tool, and this is how it works."

Ressler then took orders for customers who were interested in having a tool of their own.

In particular, he found success with a Cal-Van Master Brake Flaring Tool Kit he found at the show.

"Everybody has a brake flaring tool in their box, of the older style, and that works," said Ressler. "But this updated version is a no-brainer.

"I showed the guys how to use it. I had good luck with it."

Ressler said this tool was an update for some techs' toolboxes, and also a lighter weight tool to complement the hydraulic version that some shops already had. Overall, Ressler said he sold about 17 of the product by using the one demonstration tool he purchased at the Matco Tool Expo.

"Next year, I'm going to do some more homework and try to bring even more stuff back for these guys to help them out here," said Ressler.

(Read now about how Ressler keeps control of tool truck inventory.)