Professional Distributor - 32

Make the most of
this year's trade show season
It's not just all about the deals and promos.

BY ALAN SIPE
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Alan W. Sipe has spent the last 42
years in the basic hand tool industry
including positions as president of
KNIPEX Tools North America, senior
vice president of sales and marketing at Klein Tools, manager of special
markets at Stanley Tools, and sales
manager at toolbox manufacturer
Waterloo Industries. Currently, Sipe
is the owner of Toolbox Sales and
Consulting, a company specializing
in sales strategy, structure, development, and training. Sipe can be
reached at alansipe@gmail.com or
847-910-1063.

O

ver my 12 years as president of KNIPEX
Tools in the U.S., I was fortunate to attend
about 45 major automotive and warehouse distributor (WD) trade shows. At those 45
shows I have seen it all, including attendees who
show up with a plan, questions from their customers, and a list of questions they have themselves. I
see attendees who really work the show and get
the most out of every moment. I also see attendees who work a little, but also spend much of their
time chit chatting and seeing the local attractions.
Then there are the attendees who walk through
the show briefly and waste the remainder of their
valuable time just having fun.
Sure, you want to have some fun and renew old
acquaintances at events like trade shows, but your
primary reason for being there is work. It is my
opinion that there are four reasons to attend these
events, and in descending order of importance they
are: education, more education, deals, and fun.
Manufacturers and company product managers put a lot of work into organizing and getting
ready for these shows. They are 100 percent ready
to answer every question you may have. They are
also ready to teach you the best ways to demonstrate
their products and handle objections.
What products are on your mobile store that
are not selling as well as you think they should?
What products are selling off other trucks and not
yours? What products do you just not understand
very well? These questions are important to consider - especially if you were not a technician before
becoming a dealer. If that is the case, you may not
know as much about working on vehicles as a former
technician would, but that is absolutely no reason
not to succeed as a mobile tool dealer.
So, what are some good ways to prepare for your
next major trade show?
* Let your customers know that the show is coming up and that you will ask any questions they
have of the manufacturers who are attending.
This would be a good email blast topic once
or twice before the show. It will also give your

32 Professional Distributor I February 2020 I VehicleServicePros.com

customers a heads-up that you will be gone for
a few days, and that paying in advance would
be appreciated.
* Make a list of the products you want to learn
more about and what your selling challenges are.
If you are consistently getting objections that are
hard to handle, this is the place to speak to the
manufacturers and learn the answers.
* There are products that are on special every year
with excellent deals: screwdrivers, consumables,
tool sets, etc. Do your best to run your inventories
down on those products before the show. Have
your own promotion to unload them. Use them
as a BOGO and create some fun. It would be a
shame to get to the show and be overloaded with
product X when the show has some super-duper
special and you can't take advantage of it.
* Every show I have attended has had several
classroom-style product training sessions.
Some are hosted by important manufacturers
and some are hosted by the company whose show
you are attending. Attend them. Yes, you might
have been selling that product well, but there
is always something new to learn ... and maybe
there is a new product they are introducing that
you know nothing about. If you attend a training
session that does not offer insight on a feature,
advantage, benefit, or demonstration, stay late
and ask for one. The best companies have their
demos in writing.
* Many of the booths will have someone demonstrating their products, particularly their new
items. Get them to train you on how to do the
demos yourself.
Allow me to interject some advice: Don't be the lug
nut who acts like he or she is so cool that they know
everything and doesn't watch the demos. I hate to say
it, but you don't know it all, and looking cool to your
friends won't get you any more sales.
* Some trade shows have software to help their
jobbers continuously tabulate their spending so
you don't go over budget. If you attend a show
that doesn't offer this helpful aid, take a break


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Professional Distributor

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Professional Distributor

On the Road to Cool Profits
Show Me Your Truck
In Focus Products
Driving Sales
Editor's Note: 2020 and Beyond
Most Wanted
Sneak Peek
Go Sell Something: Make the Most of This Year's Trade Show Season
Diagnostic Tech: Calibrating Forward-facing Radar Sensors
Tales From the Road: Bundle, Tote and Grow
Hand & Specialty Tools Supplement
Specialty Hand Tools: The Problem Solvers
Time to Multitask
Get a Hold on Hand Tool Safety
Electric Vehicle Tool Set
Tool Reviews
Products
M Eagles Tool Warehouse insert
Professional Distributor - 1
Professional Distributor - 2
Professional Distributor - 3
Professional Distributor - Editor's Note: 2020 and Beyond
Professional Distributor - 5
Professional Distributor - On the Road to Cool Profits
Professional Distributor - 7
Professional Distributor - 8
Professional Distributor - 9
Professional Distributor - 10
Professional Distributor - 11
Professional Distributor - 12
Professional Distributor - 13
Professional Distributor - Show Me Your Truck
Professional Distributor - 15
Professional Distributor - Most Wanted
Professional Distributor - 17
Professional Distributor - Sneak Peek
Professional Distributor - 19
Professional Distributor - 20
Professional Distributor - 21
Professional Distributor - 22
Professional Distributor - 23
Professional Distributor - 24
Professional Distributor - 25
Professional Distributor - 26
Professional Distributor - 27
Professional Distributor - 28
Professional Distributor - 29
Professional Distributor - 30
Professional Distributor - 31
Professional Distributor - Go Sell Something: Make the Most of This Year's Trade Show Season
Professional Distributor - 33
Professional Distributor - In Focus Products
Professional Distributor - 35
Professional Distributor - 36
Professional Distributor - 37
Professional Distributor - Diagnostic Tech: Calibrating Forward-facing Radar Sensors
Professional Distributor - 39
Professional Distributor - 40
Professional Distributor - 41
Professional Distributor - Driving Sales
Professional Distributor - 43
Professional Distributor - 44
Professional Distributor - 45
Professional Distributor - Tales From the Road: Bundle, Tote and Grow
Professional Distributor - 47
Professional Distributor - 48
Professional Distributor - Hand & Specialty Tools Supplement
Professional Distributor - A2
Professional Distributor - Specialty Hand Tools: The Problem Solvers
Professional Distributor - A4
Professional Distributor - Time to Multitask
Professional Distributor - A6
Professional Distributor - Get a Hold on Hand Tool Safety
Professional Distributor - A8
Professional Distributor - Electric Vehicle Tool Set
Professional Distributor - Tool Reviews
Professional Distributor - A11
Professional Distributor - A12
Professional Distributor - Products
Professional Distributor - A14
Professional Distributor - A15
Professional Distributor - A16
Professional Distributor - M Eagles Tool Warehouse insert
Professional Distributor - B2
Professional Distributor - B3
Professional Distributor - B4
Professional Distributor - B5
Professional Distributor - B6
Professional Distributor - B7
Professional Distributor - B8
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