Same old, same old blues

May 30, 2024
If things are feeling a bit mundane for you, try making just a few small changes in your routine — you'll be amazed what a difference they can make.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The days, weeks, months, and even years as a mobile jobber can sometimes feel like washing your hair…wash, rinse, repeat.

For some, this repetitiveness provides a comfortable daily pace, security, and steadiness in your topsy-turvy world.

But for many of you, those same attributes of daily pace, security, and steadiness can turn into mind-numbing drudgery and be just plain boring. For those of you who are in this frame of mind the task of putting on a happy face of enthusiasm in your sales calls can be just about impossible. The result is often a downturn in your sales performance which only makes you feel worse.  All leading to the downward spiral … ugh!

First off, you’re not alone.  Just think, how many times have the Rolling Stones sung “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction?" Released in June of 1965 it must be an astounding number. Yet it always sounds fresh and fun. How do they do it?

There is no magic elixir, and except for an occasional Budweiser with friends, the cure is up to you.

Shake things up

So, start with the facts. You must make your calls, you must show your products, you must ask for the order, and you must restock your mobile store each day. But, you can make changes that will help you make your daily wash, rinse, and repeat cycles more interesting and maybe a bit more fun.

Speaking of change, people tend to resist change due to the perceived loss of control or the disruption of established routines. Change threatens individuals' comfort zones and challenges their beliefs, triggering a defensive response aimed at preserving the status quo and what they stand to lose rather than the potential gains of change. Resistance to change can hinder progress and innovation, but acknowledging and addressing these psychological barriers are essential steps in facilitating successful growth. So, if you are in the doldrums of wash, rinse, repeat, a disruption in your established routine is just what the doctor ordered.

I was just looking at change resistance cartoons for this article and the one I liked best showed a downward sales results chart with the words, “What if we don’t change anything and just hope something magical happens!”  It won’t.

Change starts with you

Let’s start our daily enthusiasm project with something simple….you.  When you look in the mirror each day do you look exactly like you looked yesterday? Black jeans, a logoed sweatshirt or T-shirt, and a baseball cap. Try something different. Even if it is something simple like a freshly laundered white logo shirt. I rode with a mobile jobber in the Chicago suburb of Schamburg who wears a dry-cleaned white shirt every day.  He wanted to carry his brand on his shirt, and he thought wearing a dressier-looking clean, crisp shirt each day showed professionalism and respect to his customers. Are you sure that scruffy beard is the professional look you want?

Take the road less traveled 

How about taking a look at your weekly or even just your daily route?  Driving the exact same route each day and seeing the same buildings can easily make you feel like a postal delivery person. Taking a different route between stops will give a bit of a refreshing change to your scenery, perhaps a new restaurant for lunch, and who knows, you might stumble upon a newly opened shop that would love to see you.

Additionally, take a look at totally changing your daily and weekly routes. If you’ve been calling on the same shop every Monday morning for years it’s sure to feed your "boring Monday syndrome," which is a feeling many people experience at the beginning of the workweek. It's characterized by a lack of motivation, energy, and/or enthusiasm. 

As long as you tell your customers in advance that instead of Monday you will be seeing them on Thursday, I guarantee that it will not hurt your revenue, and the change in pace will help you be a bit more enthusiastic.

Refresh your workspace 

Another simple and effective mental uplift is to rearrange your mobile store. If you’ve been getting on your truck multiple times a day for months and months and seeing the same socket sets or wrench sets staring you in the face, it’s time for a reset. Just think of your local Costco or Sam’s Club. Every time you enter the store they have rearranged many of their impulse items. Many mobiles have had success by having a “what’s new” section just inside the entry door. Moving your products around will not only help your mindset, it may also expose your customers to additional products they may be interested in.  

Expand your customer base 

In previous columns, we have talked about sales results, which are really simply a matter of numbers and skill. Making more calls will eventually produce more sales. Improving your selling skills and making more calls will always increase your sales results dramatically. Now use those skills to get some new customers.

In every large dealership you call on there are your steady customers, your occasional customers, and those technicians you just can’t seem to crack. Set yourself a daily goal of investing ten minutes of one-on-one time with “that guy” who just won’t buy from you. You know who they are so create a list with all of their names and develop a conversion plan for each. Start out slowly with just some friendly conversation. Next week maybe give them a hat or some other promotional item you’re giving away. Keep at it. When your company comes out with something that is “new and exclusive” show it to them. Your persistence will eventually pay off.  Even if you only get one additional customer every two weeks a total of 26 new customers this year will make a nice difference in your sales and help cover those technicians who quit the trade or move out of town.

Make a difference 

Talking about real change to make your day more interesting, I read this LinkedIn post from a Mac Tools Double Diamond distributor from Monroe, Louisana, Robert Tolbert.

366 Days of FULL BLOWN PINK!!!

Out of pure respect for patients and families that deal with Breast Cancer, I have to share this. These people deal with this disease 365 days a year where those that aren’t affected only promote awareness for the 31 days of October. I am proposing this for the 366 days of 2024 to wear something PINK every day to promote awareness to show those affected we are with them year-round and not just the 31 days of October! Who’s with me???

The point is. If you’re experiencing the wash, rinse, repeat blues then do something about it. A little change in routine, sales presentations, or even your appearance can make a big difference to your attitude and your sales results.

Now, go sell change  something.

About the Author

Alan Sipe | President, Toolbox Sales and Consulting

Alan W. Sipe has spent the last 42 years in the basic hand tool industry including positions as President of KNIPEX Tools North America, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing at Klein Tools, Manager Special Markets at Stanley Tools and sales management at toolbox manufacturer Waterloo Industries. Currently Sipe is the owner of Toolbox Sales and Consulting specializing in sales strategy, structure, development and training. Sipe can be reached at [email protected] or 847-910-1063. Connect with Sipe on LinkedIn.

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