Craig Starks
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Swinging for success with your mobile tool truck

April 4, 2024
Evaluating yourself on the basics of your tool truck game, from your dependability to planning your sales pitches, will lead to a successful season.

Officially, Major League Baseball's 2024 spring training started on February 13. And, like any seasoned baseball team, mobile jobbers swinging for a successful season should make sure their 'spring training' covers all their bases and looks for ways to improve their performance in every aspect of their job, from professional appearance to market research. 

Every year at spring training, the first thing the players work on is physical fitness, catching, fielding, throwing, and batting. They do this to get the rust off and ensure they are doing the baseball basics correctly. It doesn’t matter whether the player is at the 2023 MLB base annual salary of $720,000 or at the level of the Dodger's Shohei Ohani at $70,000,000 per year.

For a Major League Mobile Jobber, the spring training basics are:

Cleanliness

Dependability 

  • Are you dependable? If you say you’re going to do something, do you write it down so you remember and do it? If you can’t do it as promised, do you call the customer and let them know? Do you show up on time on a regular schedule?

Planning

  • Do you really plan each sales call? Before you walk in the door, be prepared for each customer interaction.
    • Try this: Review a previous presentation where the customers did not buy what you were selling. Then consider how you can use your last visit to offer new products.
      • “Last time I was here, we talked about a new impact wrench, and you said you really liked the XYZ product I showed you. Since then, I’ve sold several more and the technicians seem to really like (insert some important feature and benefit). I have one on the truck. Would you like me to get it for you?”
    • Know the cool, new tool that will be of benefit to their job. And be darn sure you really know all the features and benefits of the products you will be showing on each call. 

Read more: 5 tips for keeping your tool truck fresh

Accountability 

  • Don’t blame an outside influence for your lack of sales.
    • “My prices are too high.” Your prices were high last year, the year before, and your prices will be high tomorrow. Remember, you're selling service and knowledge.
    • “My company is driving me nuts.” They probably did before and will again in the future, and your business with your customers is exactly that, your business.
    • “My wife, kids, parents, partner, in-laws, district manager, etc. are on my back.” Everyone has real-life issues. Use your selling time to forget about them and concentrate on your customers.

Self-evaluation

  • Be your own critic, sales trainer, and coach.
    • Directly after each sales call do a thorough review of the event. This is especially true for your major, big-dollar sales presentations. Exactly what went well during each customer interaction? Did you open well? Did you capture their interest? How did the presentation or demonstration go? Did you explain how the products benefited them? Did you trial close? Did you ask for the order?  
    • What during each of the calls could have gone better? Were you prepared to smoothly answer the customers' product questions/objections? Were you able to get the customer involved in the discussion with trial closing and asking questions? Was your demonstration first-rate? 
    • After reviewing what went well and what didn’t go so well, decide precisely what you will do differently next time to hopefully produce a better outcome.

Ask for help

  • Ask for help. No one is too cool or macho to ask for assistance and advice when they need it, nor does leaning on your peers make you look weak or helpless. You will look a lot worse when you miss your next truck payment.
    • A request for help from your DM or company trainer can’t hurt since that is what they are there for. You likely know some of your brand's superstars. Call a few of them and ask for help. Overall people love to be able to help a friend or associate in need.
    • Here’s an idea you probably never thought of invest a day or two and do a ride-along with a successful mobile jobber in your area. It could be fun, relaxing, and you may learn a trick or two. Just a day or two off your truck may be all the spark you need.

Research 

  • There are plenty of resources and tips in VehicleServicePros.com's 'Go Sell Something' archives
  • Go on Amazon and type “The One Minute Salesperson.” It’s one of the best sales skills books available.

A final thought. The MLB hit average in 2023 was 2.5 hits for each 10 times at bat. The league leader was only one hit more per 10 times at bat at 3.5 hits. Only one hit more. The basics of sales, like baseball, are pretty simple. It’s the execution every day and every play that separates the base salary players from the superstars.

So, set yourself up to be a Major League Mobile Jobber leader in 2024 by focusing on the following:

  1. Know your products.
  2. Take care of your customers.
  3. Take care of your employees. That is, you and your partner, your spouse, your helper.
  4. Keep your truck looking sharp and up to date.
  5. Ask for the order.

Now, go sell something.


This article was originally published on VehicleServicePros.com.

About the Author

Alan Sipe | President

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. 

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