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The example of a distributor in Ascoli who had 20% higher growth than in 2011 thanks to a commercial strategy inspired by best-of-breed, a well-prepared, united team focused on sales objectives, and constant customer loyalty actions 

Mino De Rigo

AT A DIFFICULT time like the present that is marked by a  general downturn in the garage equipment market close to 30%, some are managing to hang on and there are some who even manage to prosper. This is the case of Prago, a distributor at Pagliare di Spinetoli in the province of Ascoli Piceno, whose range of action includes the Marche, Abruzzo and Molise. It has a portfolio of about 900 customers, turnover evenly split between equipment and consumables and, above all, a policy that it changed drastically at the beginning of last year. Ferdinando Buscema, the owner of the company in the Marche, explained: “We gave our business a decisive change of direction by deciding to abandon the historical multi-product supplier for different firms, each one a protagonist it is specific sector”.

A best-of-breed strategy based on a selection supported by 18 years on the market. The logic of a catalogue of CCD Cemb balancers and aligners, Giuliano tyre removers, Maha test benches and lines, John Bean 3D aligners (all equipment supplied by Sipav), and Omcn lifts. The catalogue of consumables includes Tech vulcanizing products, Usag machine tools, BF counterweights, Wonder valves, MotorSistem chemical products, Ingersoll Rand starters and Ceccato compressors.


Developments that feed business

They are” – Buscema stated – “objective choices based on the intrinsic quality of the equipment and materials. And demand is prepared to pay for it when it is put in the condition of being able to appreciate its value”. This is the second ingredient of the recipe, the team: “Prago is an acronym formed from Punto di Riferimento per le Autofficine e i GOmmisti (point of reference for garages and tyre specialists), and the group supporting it is at level ‘11’ for professional capacity, humanity and strong team spirit. It is what is needed for aiming at excellence, not only from a product aspect but also in terms of service and assistance”. Decisive subjects for creating customer loyalty.

The owner of Prago emphasized – “We prefer not to use firms that have not been updated and do not invest in their business. The others are with us because we stand out on the market for the continuity that we have always combined with the search for new products that will feed the business of the centres we serve; the most recent example is the new TPMS kits. We take care of any eventuality without waiting for supplier intervention so that customers will not be subjected to damaging downtimes”. To do this, it has a well-stocked warehouse of spares and the prompt availability of forklifts for every piece of equipment. 


Quality demand 

Because we distribute quality products, which is also reflected in the price, we must be sure that they are always presented in the way they deserve. This is why we have systematic training and refresher technical, commercial and marketing courses that are almost monthly for all of us. The sale of equipment is dependent on the ability to engage and motivate, to instil a close and profitable relationship of confidence”. To the advantage of customers, on the other hand, are presentations, practical demonstrations and training in the showroom housed in the 1200-square-metre structure at Pagliare di Spinetoli, which are part of the package that comes with every purchase.  Apropos of the subject of involvement, “open doors” is an autumn initiative that began in 2007, the year the current headquarters were opened. “Not only. We have always been able” – Buscema said – “to attract a significant number of customers thanks to our equipment demonstration islands for practical tests and products previews: this year, for example, we were able to count on four new products that had just been unveiled at the Automechanika fair in Frankfurt. But we also made it an opportunity to meet the managers of manufacturing companies, supply chain operators, and the owners of service centres and garages”. 


Open doors for creating loyalty

Last October’s open doors had over 200 visitors, many specialist retailers, dealerships and the owners of garages handling the main makes of cars. For everyone it was a chance to find out about the new Cemb ER 85 balancer, the latest addition to the Ergo Fast Line with the ergonomics and speed typical of Cemb, the new TPMS from Tech (from 1 November all manufacturers must mount tyre pressure sensors on all new car models), the Spin automatic station for bi-gas air conditioning, and the most recent inspection line from  Maha, with long rollers for testing motorbikes, tricycles, quadricycles and quads. 

We have several customers” – Buscema continued – “who are our best business cards. At this difficult time we are proud to go against the trend thanks to a proactive approach to the market and the agility with which we are able to change and adapt our actions. And in this area we will never cease to offer new products: this was the case for the bi-gas recharging station, the system for cleaning automatic transmissions, all of which are aimed at filling possible gaps in the tyre specialist’s business”.

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