Selling automotive parts is your business and it’s a stable business. Which is great. We all love stability, it’s safe. Growth, now that takes a little more effort and sometimes a little risk. What if there was an opportunity for growth that took a little effort, but there was minimal risk involved? Selling professional tools and equipment provides a great opportunity for parts stores to increase their revenue and enhance their customer relationships. Tool and equipment warehouses nationwide are prepared to support your efforts and minimize the risk.
How selling professional tools and equipment drive growth:
1.) Selling to the entire shop, not just the owner. There are over a million automotive technicians with responsibility to purchase a majority of their own tools. And while you likely hold accounts for the shop owners, don’t fear if you are not in the business to extend credit to technicians, there are a few elite tool and equipment warehouse distributors out there that offer financing all the way down to the technician level.
2.) Tools are just slightly sexier than parts. Parts are purchased based on need. The market will buy tools based on how “cool” they are. After all, our market is full of gearheads who love their tools. If they have a tool that someone else is envious of in the shop, all the better. For all of these reasons “tote and promote” is very successful for selling tools and equipment.
3.) Tools increase productivity on the job and provide an ROI to the shop.
4.) It makes you the “one-stop-shop”. If I can buy all of my parts, tools and equipment on one account, that makes life easy. If I only have to stop productivity in the shop, once per day to check out new tools and purchase the parts I need, that is a positive ROI.
Most parts stores are selling tools and equipment to some degree today. I spoke with two independent parts wholesalers who have had great success selling professional tools and equipment. Both agreed that selling tools and equipment enhanced their overall business offering and thus enhanced their relationship with their customers.
Greg, from a parts warehouse out of North Dakota (and multiple locations throughout the Midwest), found that having a tool special that was the hot deal of the week or month was a great motivator to increase tool sales. When you give the sales person something to talk about he has a great excuse to walk into his customers carrying that tool and starting conversations. Greg also equips the entire sales team with tool flyers to hand out to their customers.
The other parts store company I talked with was out of Minnesota with locations throughout the Midwest. They have a tool and equipment sales manager Jim, who works with the sales team as well as independently, calling on customers to make sure their tool and equipment needs are filled. While the sales person works with the shop owner on parts purchases, Jim can walk through the shop talking to the technicians and learning about their latest projects. This helps Jim to uncover needs for the shop and offer proper solutions. Jim said their stores also utilize a tool and equipment flyer; stocking the sales team with them to hand out to customers.
Having a tool and equipment sales specialist on staff is a huge step. But if you look at both of these stories, the same old principles apply and require very little investment: tote & promote and flyers. Both of these small activities will help increase your overall tool and equipment sales revenue.
Selling tools is not difficult and there are exclusive tool and equipment suppliers available to support your efforts. No need to make a huge investment in inventory. Many of the tool and equipment suppliers in the market are now able to ship 1-2 days and have will call counters at their distribution centers located across the country. They also provide the tool and equipment flyers for your sales team to hand out and have their own sales teams across the country to assist you in any capacity. The resources are available to make increasing tool sales easy. It only takes one phone call.