Hardware Retailing

FEB 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | February 2018 44 What Can Outside Sales Do for You? The goal of any sales team is obvious: growing sales and building business. What sets outside sales apart is the proactive nature of the position. The outside salesperson can seek out businesses and clients to offer services and products offered by a retailer. These clients may not have been aware of the option to use a hardware business for their needs or even that such a service was offered. For Rob Arnold, general manager of Florence Hardware, outside sales fills a needed category in his business's chain of responsibility. The outside sales team is part of a business plan that is designed to both capture new business while also promoting the culture of Florence Hardware in the surrounding areas. "All really good companies have behaviors to increase the likeliness of success, and we decided outside sales had to happen to accomplish our goals," Arnold says. "Every department has responsibilities. If you're in purchasing, it's making sure you're in the habit of taking advantage of deals and margins. For sales, it's increasing sales and margins while selling a full assortment of products. We decided we wanted to invest in ourselves, and that's where outside sales comes in." Arnold points to his business's focus on heavy commercial and industrial industries, such as manufacturing, local school systems and business maintenance departments as a key factor in maintaining an outside sales team. The salespeople in the community can help sell the kinds of products and services that a client might not think a store with "hardware" in its name can provide. "You look at today's age of hardware stores and what we can offer, and it's light-years different from what it was in the past. We are the choice for Northern Kentucky in our customer base," Arnold says. "We realized we were finding success locally here in the community. We asked, 'What could we do if we had people out raising awareness of our services and products?'" Florence Hardware in Florence, Kentucky, has built its business and brand recognition by emphasizing an outside sales force. The company's training program has helped develop talent that can bring sales into the business.

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