Five Minutes With: Tony Tuso, MAS
Multi-like rep Tony Tuso rolls in style, bringing his showroom directly to his clients via a custom-fit RV.
PPB When did you start using a mobile showroom to feature products, and how did you come up with the idea?
Tuso I began using the RV mobile showroom in 2009. I like to say that I came up with the idea, but after seeing a few of my fellow reps using this type of presentation, I thought I would join the adventure and give it a try myself.
PPB What sort of response do you receive from clients or prospective clients about the mobile showroom?
Tuso At first when I inform them that our meeting will take place at their location but inside of the 36-foot RV mobile showroom, they are a little baffled. Once they enter the RV and see the more than 400 professionally displayed products, I get the ‘wow, this is awesome,’ response. The clients actually sit, relax and are less distracted during our meetings. Clients and suppliers see this as a real opportunity to actually see and display many more of their products in the short time that we, as reps, are given during the course of an hour or so. Distributors many times have requested the use of the RV mobile showroom to use for their own client meetings, as well as for client open houses at their customers’ locations. Recently, a top distributor in Dallas was in the process of moving and requested the use of the RV mobile showroom so they could meet with their clients, who were flying in for a meeting. This is a win-win for both distributors and their clients. Distributors only need to contact me with their client’s location and I will arrive, set up the RV and let the selling begin.
PPB How important do you think it is to think outside the box—or, as you would say, go the ‘extra mile’—to connect with clients?
Tuso Clients today are looking to their distributors for creative ways to earn their business. Giving that one-on-one personal touch is still one of the best ways to ensure a client’s commitment when deciding whether to purchase from them or an unknown source. Clients love the opportunity I provide for them, allowing them to actually see, touch and discuss the products on display. The other benefit that I offer to them and their clients is the availability to receive an actual sample right on the spot, rather than having to order it. Making a purchase many times is spontaneous, and if they can actually have a sample in their hands it speeds up the process of getting the order. I call this, ‘taking the showroom to the client.’
PPB Speaking of ‘miles,’ do you know how many miles your showroom has traveled? Or, across how many states?
Tuso Over the past nine years I have logged 135,000 miles traveling through six states: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico.
PPB Have you experimented with other forms of product presentation that are unusual or unexpected?
Tuso In my 33 years, I have tried many different approaches when making presentations. The RV mobile showroom has been the most successful, but I have also ventured outside the box with using special event locations, such as the new Cowboys Stadium at field level, wineries and vintage airplane museums. All have been locations that interest the distributors enough to come and spend time with me and my suppliers. Thinking outside the box is what opens opportunities for success.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.