Train Employees to Sell More Consumables

What are you doing to promote the consumable supplies needed by customers renting your equipment? It doesn’t make sense to keep sending your customers down the road to pick up the consumables needed when renting equipment from your company. It’s possible that you are inadvertently introducing your customers to rental competitors who carry the consumables. Some selling of select related consumable items can not only generate more income, it can also help increase the number of rentals as you provide the convenience of one-stop-shopping.

Here are a few examples of practical ways to sell more consumables at your rental company:

Ensure employees are trained in the correct supplies needed to use with the rental equipment you carry. Often, employees are not familiar with what bits, blades or abrasives go with the rental equipment they are dispensing to customers. At times employees might know what merchandise goes with the rental equipment, but do not know how to attach the bit, blade or abrasive. It’s not wise to rely totally on the knowledge your employees have picked up along the way. Combine informal training with formal training — and retrain your employees often.

Be sure you stock the correct related retail items. Be certain you have enough of the supplies to accomplish the task. Some rental businesses only have a representative sampling which is commonly not enough to do even a small job. You need to show that you are indeed in the business of selling the merchandise.

Arrange related retail items and accessories near the actual rental equipment whenever practical. Customers, as well as your employees, will tend to remember the entire package needed to do the project when they see it all displayed together.

Give incentives to employees to sell more consumables. Rewarding employees with little incentives helps to make the sales training stick as well as making the initiative fun, rather than just something else they are required to do. Teach employees some basic selling skills to help them overcome the prospect’s reluctance to use the necessary retail merchandise along with the rental equipment itself.

Keep the merchandising plan sustained by taking photos of the finished wall, shelf and floor displays. When the display starts to fall into disarray, show employees photos illustrating the correct way to display. Without photos, you will be frustrated when employees just don’t seem to be able to reconstruct the highly effective merchandising plan the way you had it.

Train your employees to hand the items being considered to the prospective customer. This is a practical and effective sales training idea that works in tandem with merchandising. Prospects are much more likely to make the decision to rent or buy items from you when they hold, touch or sit on the seat of your equipment.

Remember, it’s important to discover if your employees are really well trained in the area of suggesting consumable add-ons to your existing customers. Usually employees are not. Some of your customers are going elsewhere to buy or rent items that you stock because they just didn’t know that you have them. Equipment item familiarization and consumable add-on training are worth the investment. Besides being a valuable service to your customers, suggesting these add-ons is one of the most effective ways of getting more revenue from existing customers.

Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer and has 35 years of experience in the equipment rental industry. He is the author of “The Guide to Great Customer Service” as well as “A Practical Guide to Working in an Equipment Rental Business.” For consulting, on-site employee training or to order books, visit Dick can be contacted at or (309) 781-3451.