Tales from the road: 10 years and counting

May 5, 2016
A number of factors have contributed to Sam Boyles’s decade-long evolution into an accomplished Cornwell Tools dealer.

Sam Boyles has learned a lot during the 10 years he has spent selling tools for a living.

The Savage, Minn.-based Cornwell Tools dealer initially faced the challenges of trying to build a successful business from the bottom up, but he found ways to overcome them. When the economic downturn hit in the late 2000s, Boyles battled his way through and endured some serious financial trials and tribulations, all while trying to remain patient as his business grew and developed at its own pace. Now, a decade later, he’s enjoying the kind of success he could have only hoped for just a few short years ago.

“My business grew just a little bit at a time for so long at the beginning,” says Boyles. “But before you know it, you are 10 years in and you see how far you came from.”

About a year after he got his start as a tool salesman, Boyles began to experience a measurable amount of consistent success, but his momentum stalled due to the economic recession. The tough times wreaked havoc on his business, leaving Boyles to wonder whether he would be able to weather his financial struggles and continue servicing his customers.

“I would run around all week and my business account would be getting pretty low,” he says. “I’d throw the little bit I made into it, pay my tool bill, and then there wouldn’t be all that much left over after I made my truck payment. I couldn’t help but ask if this was really the job for me.”

He refused to quit, though. Having been laid off from his previous job conducting maintenance and repairs on airplanes, Boyles refused to fail as a mobile dealer.

“I just kind of trudged through it and hoped for improvement,” he says. “It slowly turned around and got better and better.”

A number of factors contributed to Boyles’s ability to eventually find sound financial footing and set himself up for sustained success in the tool business, not the least of which was his unwavering confidence in his approach toward his customers.

“I’ve never been a huge salesman, but I’ve learned ways to sell without being pushy,” says Boyles, whose hard work has helped him achieve the status as one of Cornwell’s Top 30 distributors in six of his 10 years on the job. “And I think you always need to be yourself in this business, because your customers can see right through it if you aren’t.”

The longtime Cornwell dealer also credits his strong interest in tools as contributing to his longevity. Boyles says he is always seeking out information on the latest tools and technologies, and that he enjoys passing on what he learns to his customers.

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