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The Secrets of Selling
Power Tools


Milwaukee Tool’s Michael Yeck shares top tips to help distributors move more merchandise and compete against big-box retailers in the competitive power tool market

Michael Yeck, National Account Manager, Milwaukee Tool

According to industry experts, the U.S. market for power tools is valued at more than $10 billion and is growing 3-5% per year as post-pandemic construction activity continues to surge.

As a distributor, however, the real question is—are you getting your fair share of this robust market?

In the following interview, Michael Yeck, national account manager, electrical, at leading Brookfield, Wisconsin-based tool manufacturer Milwaukee Tool, shares insights on the power tool industry, his company’s unique approach to designing power tools and his tips to help distributors compete more effectively in the dynamic power tool market.

Please describe your key job responsibilities.

Yeck: In my role, I partner with electrical wholesalers to develop strategic plans for selling the Milwaukee Tool line in their individual markets.

In general, do you see the market for power tools growing?

Yeck: As the construction industry experiences ongoing growth at the hands of such drivers as federal infrastructure bills and initiatives to promote domestic manufacturing, the need for professional power tool solutions that drive safety and productivity continues to increase. As a leader in battery technology, Milwaukee Tool has been at the forefront of this growth. More and more tools are transitioning from AC, pneumatic and even small gas motor technology to batteries. With technology enabling us to consolidate all of these various tools on specific battery platforms, the power tool market has been growing steadily each year.

Please share how Milwaukee Tool designs its power tools with contractors in mind.

Yeck: Milwaukee Tool is a “Solutions Provider” that’s committed to driving disruptive innovation for professional electricians and improving their safety and productivity day in and day out. Through our boots-on-the-ground approach to research and development, Milwaukee Tool spends countless hours working alongside professional contractors in the field to understand their everyday frustrations. This ground-up perspective and extensive in-field product testing has helped us lead the industry and continue to deliver game-changing solutions for professionals to help bring more productivity and safety to the jobsite.

Do you feel that more power tools tend to be sold through retail/big-box outlets versus distribution and that, over the years, many distributors have abdicated their power tool business and assumed that retail is the channel of choice for contractors? If so, why?

Yeck: Retail and big-box outlets have worked to develop a level of trust with their customers, giving confidence that product stock will be available when needed and at competitive prices as well as providing customers with access to unique promotions. This trust can result in professionals going out of their way to buy tools and accessories at a separate place from where they’re getting the rest of their day-to-day materials—a reality which presents electrical distributors with a unique opportunity. If they can stock the right product at the right price with the right promotion, they also have a full offering of other core materials that the electrician needs. Sales counters then become the ideal place for a customer to make impulse buys of the tools and accessories they need for the job because they’re also buying wire and conduit.

M18™ Strut Shear
NITRUS ™ Carbide Tooth Blades
BOLT™ Safety Helmets with IMPACT ARMOR™ Liner

Based on your experience, what advantages do electrical distributors possess over retail outlets?

Yeck: A clear advantage that electrical distributors possess is their specialized expertise and focused approach. Rather than having to take a broad approach, they can amass a deep understanding of the electrician and their day-to-day needs. This expertise, coupled with the right price, has helped electrical distributors become unstoppable. They offer the whole package to professional electricians, making it unnecessary for pros to go anywhere else.

Please describe some key tactics that successful distributors employ (or should employ) to sell more power tools and why these strategies work.

Yeck: A key tactic to start with will always be leveraging a Milwaukee Tool sales representative and building a strong relationship, as they’ll be able to provide the most up-to-date assortment of the best-selling tools in the electrical channel. Once the distributor is set with the right products, they can team up with their reps to host counter days or do a ride-along with outside sales to sell through the inventory. It’s also important for distributors to leverage their own sales counters and keep them well-stocked and up to date, as this allows momentum to build and for the distributor to become the market’s go-to Milwaukee Tool destination.

Do certain types of contractors represent the ideal candidate when it comes to selling power tools? What questions should distributors ask customers to prompt the sale of power tools?

Yeck: Every contractor represents the ideal profile when it comes to selling power tools. It all comes down to asking the right qualifying questions, which ultimately involves getting information on the size and scope of the job the contractor will be performing and the materials they’re using. For example, if they’re placing miles of Unistrut, the distributor should ask them how they’re cutting it—e.g., do they have to file and deburr after each cut? This approach will not only position the distributor to sell Milwaukee Tool Bandsaws or Sawzalls, but it will also allow them to highlight new-to-world technologies like the M18™ Strut Shear. This new tool allows electricians to cut Unistrut with surgical precision without needing to go back and clean up any edges, significantly boosting productivity for the professional.

What final advice can you share with distributors regarding the opportunity to sell more power tools to contractors?

Yeck: Partnering with Milwaukee Tool allows distributors to gain access to best-in-class products that will help capture sales and better serve their customers. With the right product, the right price and the right promotion, distributors will be able to leverage their expertise and knowledge of the electrician to become a one-stop shop for all of their power tool, accessory, hand tool and PPE needs.

Sporting quality workmanship, innovative advancements and intuitive designs that are informed by contractors themselves, Milwaukee Tool has long been a respected leader in the tool industry and one of the most popular brands among contractors.

“It’s hard to just name a few of our most ‘state-of-the-art’ power tools, as we add many more exciting solutions to the list each year,” confirmed Milwaukee Tool’s Michael Yeck. “But here are some of our most commonly used power tools in electrical contracting/construction today and why they’re so popular:”

  • “Our M18™ FORCE LOGIC™ Knockout Tool shortens and simplifies what has traditionally been a cumbersome operation for making accurate holes in boxes,” Yeck said.
  • According to Yeck, “Milwaukee Tool’s M18 FUEL™ 1/2” Drill/Driver actually incorporates machine learning to help it sense potential situations where the bit can bind and will shut down before rotation of the tool can cause injury.”
  • “If your contractor customers complain about either losing tools or losing visibility to them on the job, Milwaukee Tool has unlocked the digital jobsite with One-Key™, a way for pros to customize, track and manage their tool inventory from their smartphone,” said Yeck of this popular platform that saves time and money by connecting sites, people and equipment.
  • “Our new M18™ Strut Shear delivers square, clean shears without the need for additional filing or deburring, saving time and money on the job,” Yeck said.
  • “With our best-in-class accessories, we’ve always been more than a power tool company,” noted Yeck. “For example, our NITRUS ™ Carbide Tooth Blades provide the fastest cutting and longest life in the industry. Another example involves our new Rebar Cutter, which will continue to work even when accidentally used in ‘hammer’ mode.”
  • “Because safety is paramount,” Yeck confirmed, “Milwaukee Tool’s new BOLT™ Safety Helmets with IMPACT ARMOR™ Liner deliver the best oblique impact protection and advance protection from slip, trip, and fall hazards”—an important consideration when working with power tools and/or in energized situations.