New Matco distributor shares sales strategies

June 12, 2013
In business for a little over a year, Jeff Shriver shares why he listens to customers, and what he stocks on his truck.

Before becoming a Matco Tools distributor, Jeff Shriver worked as an electrician, while completing his own automotive maintenance work. He has since found his niche with customers.

Based in Winter Springs, Fla., and servicing the Orlando area, Shriver stops at a number of independent shops, including many body shops and four dealerships.

Here, Shriver shares his strategies for working with customers. 

(Read more about how Jeff Shriver got started as a Matco Tools distributor.)

Listen to customers

Shriver uses his tool knowledge with another important skill he emphasizes: listening to customers.

"The first year, I've just tried to learn what each of my customers do, and what they're looking for," said Shriver. "I try to listen to them, and I try to tailor what I've got on the truck to what people are asking for."

Even with some slower business in his area, Shriver says he's been having success with selling.

"I'm trying to listen to what the customer's telling me, so I can fill his needs. It seems to be working. I'm doing decent on sales, even though some of my customers are a little slow right now."

Sales strategies

As for what Shriver stocks on his truck, "It's all over the board." Battery-operated power tools have been a big seller for him lately, as well as hardlines.

Shriver said he tries to keep a good mix of inventory.

"Over the last couple of weeks, I've also sold a couple of major scanners."

Shriver has focused on selling Autel scan tools, and has also sold quite a few of the Launch GDS. Shriver uses a demo scanner on his truck to show customers.

"I bought one for the truck. I showed it to everybody that was interested, and I sold it fairly quickly. Everybody got to see it, and one guy decided he wanted it," said Shriver. "He's actually loaned it to a couple of people, and one of the guys he loaned it to bought (his own) Maximus."

In addition to the hand tools and diagnostics, Shriver said he also tries to sell at least two toolboxes per quarter.

To sell these boxes, he doesn't always have the inventory right on the truck either.

When Shriver attended the Matco Tools Expo in February, he explained "because I had a lot of customers looking at toolboxes, I went around and took digitial pictures of all the toolboxes that they had at the expo," said Shriver.

He then set up a display of all the photos on his truck.

"I've got (the photos) on an electronic picture frame. It cycles thorugh the different toolboxes."

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Editorial Director | Commercial Vehicle Group

Erica Schueller is the Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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