Pennsylvania tool dealer cites focus and positive attitude as reasons for success

Oct. 29, 2014
Staying focused and remaining positive allowed Pennsylvania-based Matco Tools distributor Dean Ulsh to thrive in the business of selling tools.

“Stay focused on what you’re doing and stay positive.”

Those are the words northeast Pennsylvania-based Matco Tools distributor Dean Ulsh has lived by ever since he began selling tools almost six years ago. Times were tough when he got his start, but Ulsh’s patience and focus eventually allowed him to find his footing in the business.

“When I first got started, things were actually a little slow,” he says. “It took some time to build relationships.”

Ulsh readily admits he was at first a bit intimidated by the idea of approaching potential customers and trying to sell tools to them during his first few weeks and months on the job. This was especially true, Ulsh says, with shop owners. Now looking back, he wishes he would have been a little more assertive in those early days on the job.

He recalls one particularly rough day that occurred not long after he became a mobile tool dealer that made feel quite discouraged and left him wondering if and when success would ever find him.

“I think I did about 15 dollars worth of sales,” he says, laughing now at the memory. “I called up my DM and I hollered at him. My first six months, I shouldn’t say I wasn’t happy, but I was new to the area and the competition was tough.”

It eventually became clear to him that a fear of failure would be something his potential customers would pick up on, and one bad day would turn into two, three, four or more bad days.

“If you are having a bad day, it’s hard to brush off,” says Ulsh. “The other week, I was really irritated about something and my customers knew it.”

While there are aspects of his job that have remained constant since Ulsh got his start about five-and-a-half years ago, he is quick to point out how the evolution of technology has affected mobile tool distributors.

“With the Internet, it can be your best friend, but it can sometimes be your worst nightmare,” he says. “Now you have guys with smartphones that are price-shopping on Amazon.”

This recent trend has forced Ulsh to study up on the latest products and develop a strong understanding of why and how their new and innovative features will benefit his customers or potential customers. Even a basic tool like a flashlight may be something that more than meets the eye, and Ulsh needs to stay educated on the most recent trends.

“Things are changing so fast,” he says. “You’ve got to get behind whatever wave is running at that time and go with it.”

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