I’ve been on a few routes now where the tool dealer was running, or prepping for, a big sales event. In these cases, it’s always fun to watch the tool dealer build momentum with customers, prep their inventory and their space, and finally, reap the rewards of an event that shakes up the typical routine.
A few weeks back, I was on the truck with Independent tool dealer Steve Johnston in Boaz, Alabama. He was spreading the word and setting up shop for his GEARWRENCH sale with the Street Team, an event which Johnston says he’s had “very good success with.”
Here are some of the ways Johnston makes the most of this opportunity (because it is an opportunity – for him and for his customers):
Hype it up
The big sales day was still a few weeks out, but Johnston made it a point to constantly remind his customers the event was approaching. He was casual but positive about it, and his high energy in talking about the sale was contagious. He wasn’t just making small talk – he was planting the seed in his customers’ heads to ‘get ready.’ It started them thinking about their ‘wish list,’ and how to maximize their dollars.
Speaking of dollars, another aspect to Johnston’s approach was that he would help customers ‘prep their wallets’ so to speak with gentle reminders to get their balances down so they have room to buy when they can get the best bang for their buck.
Sometimes, after planting the seed of a good, upcoming event, you don’t have to worry much about reminders ... your customers might start to follow-up with you!
“I started talking up [the sale] a little too early this time,” Johnston laughs. “And a lot of people have paid off their balances and are chomping at the bit.”
For maximum exposure, consider doing what Johnston does and get people talking by posting reminders, updates, and even videos about the sale on your social media page.
Prep your inventory
The customers are ready to buy; now it’s time to check your inventory. Johnston briefs his customers and gets an idea of what they’re looking to purchase. He also pre-orders certain items. For the GEARWRENCH sale, he says, “You have that GEARWRENCH truck right behind you. [If a customer sees] something they want, [it’s no good to say] ‘I’ll bring it to you in a week or two.’ That’s not going to work; you might not sell it. You’ve got to hit that iron while it’s hot.”
Make it count
Finally, when running a special sales event, put a smile on your face and make it a great day. One well-planned event can have a number of benefits besides extra profit; it can help encourage customers to pay off their balance, push inventory (for example, having a ‘toolbox day’), and of course, help customers buy great products at a discount.
For more about Johnston’s business, check out this month’s cover story, “Reliable Sales,” starting on page 7.