Stortz Tools printed a new catalog and one of my jobs is distributing it. I spent the last 3 days on the road and you may, but more likely may not, find this worth reading.
I woke up at 5:30am on Monday and ran, literally ran, to the shop to get my car which had about 5k worth of inventory in it. I drove the car to the gas station to fill up the front right tire with air because a brand new tire not installed correct had a small leak. This gave me anxiety throughout the entire 3 day trip.
I showered and put on slacks and a button down which I’ll comment on later and set off. My first stop was in Trenton. I drove the 45 minutes North on 95 and got a 20 oz coffee and 2 Sizzli’s from a nearby Wawa. I won’t bore you with my sales pitch or how people reacted because it’s truly not that exciting.
I ended up making 18 stops on the day which is pretty damn good. It shows that good planning and mapping out your location ahead of time pays off. I essentially went from Trenton, NJ to Scotia, NY, making stops along the way, all in one day.
I stayed in Saratoga Springs, NY because I know the Pres had been there. I got a room at a Best Western for $115 and went for a run around the area. I felt really good after the run and ate at a local brewery called Druthers. I drank 4 beers, watched the NFL, and talked to this one bro who claimed that the Space X explosion was caused by aliens. Maybe?
I fell asleep at 10 pm after losing 4 units on the Redskins and not betting the Rams (thankfully).
I got up at 6am and got the Best Western’s continental breakfast. The coffee was horrible and the best part of the meal was the Frosted Flakes.
I headed out around 7 and listened to Howard on my way to the next trip in Poultney, Vermont. If you aren’t familar with Poultney, or Granville for that matter, it is where all of the slate comes from in the USA. I made a few more visits to people we sell to and then met up with the people who were the reason for my trip at 10am.
Once again without boring you with details about my work, I partook in an instructional class in slate roofing. We viewed the mill process of slate and even had dinner at the Slate Museum in Granville. I went to sleep around 10pm but once again was exhausted from the day.
I awoke to an awesome sunrise at the Panarama Hotel in Hampton, NY. I then did a little presentation on slate and metal tools and made my first mistake of my trip. Instead of getting footage of the instructional class, I left to make more sales calls but I didn’t realize they were too far away.
I left Vermont and traveled 3.5 hours to Somerville, MA. I hit some traffic on the way and by the time I had made 4 stops in Boston and Brockton, it was already 2:30 pm and I was an hour and a half away from any stop to make that I knew of. I trekked the 6 hours home through GW bridge traffic and nearly peed myself. I had a 32 oz Gatorade bottle but was pretty sure I’d fill it up. I was lights out when I got home.
It was odd when I’d walk into a store with my nice clothes on because the people would immediately get intimidated. The 3rd day when I was making stops I was dressed in a polo and jeans and it felt much more comfortable to all parties involved. I’ve read before that you should be dressed a little bit better than the person you are selling to and when your customers are 9-5 customer service people, the nicer is not better.
- Driving too far out of the way is not smart. The furthest stop away from each stop should be 30-45 minutes. If places are spread too far, you end up driving more than you want to.
- Sirius radio is a life saver because it never lose the signal. Google Maps is also essential to traveling to the unknown. I swapped between Howard, Fantasy Football news talk, and music the entire way. Google Maps is also on point with timing and directions. No complaints.
- Pounding the pavement is an outdated means of salesmanship. It’s too slow. The pro’s are that you actually meet people face to face and see the locations of where your products are being sent which you cannot do from inside a room. The con’s are that it takes a lot of time and you are primarily speaking to people who aren’t that interested. I know that sounds stupid but you try to open up new accounts. It’s not an easy task.