Professional Distributor - 24
A natural fit
For Mac Tools dealer Robert Tolbert, selling tools
has been a perfect match over the years.
by Kayla Oschmann, Assistant Editor
or over 28 years, Robert Tolbert has been selling tools
from a truck. The last three years, he's been with Mac
Tools as a tool distributor. And before that, he's worked
for every flag as a tool dealer or district manager with routes
spanning across the Southern U.S., including Georgia,
Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and now, Louisiana.
In July 2020, Tolbert upgraded his truck and went from
a 2004 18' Isuzu NPR to a 2019 28' Peterbilt 337, Black Wolf
edition built by Tim Herr, a custom truck upfitter who specializes in the mobile tool industry. The Black Wolf edition
features an all-black interior with red bungee cord lacing
on the ceiling.
Tolbert purchased his new truck from a tool dealer in
Chicago. The only thing he had to do was simply load tools
onto it. The previous tool dealer left everything - from the
TV to all the magnets.
In Tolbert's old truck, he says, the space was cramped
and he wasn't able to display many products. His desk was
in the middle and often in the way. This is no longer the case
with his new set of wheels.
"[This truck has] a lot of magnets, so I can display a lot
of chrome ratchets and wrenches," he says. The additional
space means Tolbert can also feature more open and outof-the box items.
His desk is now in the corner, on the right when you first
walk in, allowing more space for customers to walk around.
Although Tolbert didn't have to change anything within
the truck, he did have to learn how to drive it.
"The only thing different is learning how to move a 28'
truck and how to navigate through some of my customers'
parking lots and driveways," he says.
To keep his name in front of his customers, Tolbert is
known for his promotions and contests. This year, he's running a weekly contest called "522020" where customers
receive tickets for purchases and payments. He then posts
the winners, and a picture of him handing the prize to the
winner, on his social media page.
"The way my contest works is there is always a different
winner," he says. "No one can win twice. Everybody has a
legitimate chance to win."
Prizes range from mugs, hats, and footballs to beach balls
and beach towels, all of which Tolbert purchases himself.
Tolbert enjoys his job and his customers. On average, he
puts in 12 hours a day and works most weekends.
"A lot of customers see the hours I put in and they recognize my work ethic," he says. "They know I'm out here
working just as hard as they are."
In the coming year, Tolbert plans to expand his route. A
local tool dealer with a route next to him is looking to retire.
When he does, Tolbert's wife will assume that route and run
their previous truck, the 2004 18' Isuzu NPR, that's already
stocked with inventory.
Fortunately for Tolbert, his sales haven't been affected
"It's given me more time to visit with companies that
have chosen to close down for a week or two because of
[COVID-19]," he says. "I've actually gained more customers
and more new business just by having the extra time to go
visit other shops."
Selling tools is a people business, and one must have
a great personality, attitude, and strong work ethic, Tolbert
"This business is a great fit for who I am, what I do, and
how I go to market," he says.
To view more photos of
Tolbert's truck, visit:
24 Professional Distributor I October 2020 I VehicleServicePros.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Professional Distributor
Editor's Note: A Lesson in "Go With the Flow"
Cover Story: The Business of Tool Storage
2020 PTEN People's Choice Award Winners
Show Me Your Truck: A Natural Fit
Go Sell Something: Impulse Add-ons Sell Even More
In Focus Products
Diagnostic Tech: Navigating Today's Voluminous Data Sets
Driving Sales: Lighting
Tales From the Road: Breakfast in the Bay
Professional Distributor - 1
Professional Distributor - 2
Professional Distributor - 3
Professional Distributor - Editor's Note: A Lesson in "Go With the Flow"
Professional Distributor - 5
Professional Distributor - Cover Story: The Business of Tool Storage
Professional Distributor - 7
Professional Distributor - 8
Professional Distributor - 9
Professional Distributor - 10
Professional Distributor - 11
Professional Distributor - 12
Professional Distributor - 13
Professional Distributor - 2020 PTEN People's Choice Award Winners
Professional Distributor - 15
Professional Distributor - 16
Professional Distributor - 17
Professional Distributor - 18
Professional Distributor - 19
Professional Distributor - 20
Professional Distributor - 21
Professional Distributor - 22
Professional Distributor - 23
Professional Distributor - Show Me Your Truck: A Natural Fit
Professional Distributor - 25
Professional Distributor - Most Wanted
Professional Distributor - 27
Professional Distributor - Sneak Peek
Professional Distributor - 29
Professional Distributor - 30
Professional Distributor - 31
Professional Distributor - 32
Professional Distributor - 33
Professional Distributor - 34
Professional Distributor - 35
Professional Distributor - Go Sell Something: Impulse Add-ons Sell Even More
Professional Distributor - 37
Professional Distributor - In Focus Products
Professional Distributor - 39
Professional Distributor - 40
Professional Distributor - 41
Professional Distributor - Diagnostic Tech: Navigating Today's Voluminous Data Sets
Professional Distributor - 43
Professional Distributor - 44
Professional Distributor - 45
Professional Distributor - Driving Sales: Lighting
Professional Distributor - 47
Professional Distributor - 48
Professional Distributor - 49
Professional Distributor - Tales From the Road: Breakfast in the Bay
Professional Distributor - 51
Professional Distributor - 52