Zip Screws, Tek Screws – Why Do We Ask So Many Questions?
I work for All Points Fasteners, a distributor/importer of zip screws and tek screws.
On that note, I call contractors all day long. I leave a lot of messages, and send out a lot of emails. But, when I AM able to connect with a potential customer, it makes all of the leg work worth it. I’ve found that I can build a rapport with most contractors that I get contact. However, I do experience a high volume of “information” gathering, due to the type of work I do. But every now and then, I encounter someone who seems to believe that my phone call is a waste of their time from the very beginning of that phone call.
Therefore, I thought I’d address this issue, and I hope to shed some light on what it is I’m trying to accomplish with the first phone call.
What are we losing in NOT giving a qualified sales person, who has access to a quality product you use on a regular basis, the time of day?
Let’s explore this question.
Qualifying questions help me determine, quickly and efficiently, whether or not my call will either waste your time or greatly benefit you and your business.
- Do you have a need for the sheet metal screws or fasteners we distribute?
- How is your current supplier treating your needs?
- What are the risks for your company, in developing a relationship with a NEW supplier?
- What are the benefits?
- How can our product elevate your business?
- WILL it elevate or benefit your business?
- Are there any complications your company consistently deals with, with your current supplier’s product or mode of conduct?
- Will our product help you get over those “bumps”?
- Have you had bad experiences with purchasing outside of your current supplier, before?
- What would you need to know, in order to be comfortable with taking a step in a different direction?
I’ve realized that companies that are interested in how they can better their company and THEIR services offered, will always keep one ear open for opportunity. These are the people I try to connect with, on a daily basis.
Let me help us both determine how our company can link up with yours and make you stronger. We want to be a part of your company’s growth, and feel secure in knowing that we are constantly striving to anticipate your company’s need for not only quality zip screws, tek screws, and fasteners… but for good customer service, as well.
Zip & Tek Screws – We’ve Got Your Back!
Sometimes contractors have specific and specialized needs and their needs must be met in a timely manner.
We’re proven to be a reliable and trusted distributor/importer of sheet metal screws. That’s our “claim to fame”.
But what about when you get a job that calls for something above or outside of the norm? You have no time to figure out what company’s screws do the best most efficient job. In addition, which supplier provides those parts that will work for you at the most economical price? Now you have got to take the time to figure out who sells what, ask around for referrals, figure out who would be most cost effective yet reliable company to buy from, right?
We broker hard to find fasteners, as well as provide our standard zip screws and tek screws that our customers have come to trust and stick with. So, no need to ‘make the rounds, knowing that we are just a phone call, a click, or an email away!
We’re a one stop shop for ALL different types of fasteners, including “specialty” fasteners. We provide the opportunity for contractors to be able to call in for their most often used items, IN ADDITION to different, more obscure items that must be acquired for a particular job, and they know they can always rely on us. We are always here to fulfill any customary need.
Give us a shot first in finding your specialty item? We’re guaranteed to give it our best, using trusted suppliers. Let us do the work, for you! We’re happy to add that service to the list of services we’re already on top of, so you can continue forward with the projects you need and want to get underway. Business builds and rolls forward, but only if you’re able to stand of the shoulders of trusted business relations, from the beginning of a bid to the outset of the actual job!
Stand on our shoulders! We’re strong, and we’ve been supporting the business ventures of our valued clients for over 25 years! We’ve got you. J
As we are so fond of saying: We are SO much more than just zip screws and tek screws!
Self-Drilling Tek Type Screw
Teacher taps ruler against desk: “Class is in session!”
Back in the day, the original self-drilling screws were designed by Buildex.
Their brand name was “Tek” screw. They became so popular that the word “tek” screw is now synonymous with self-drilling screw. What they did specifically was decide to put a drill bit at the end of the screw so that it would keep people from having to pre-drill the hole first before they used the screw. This obviously saved a tremendous amount of time and money. The original self drilling screw had a tall head with what are commonly called “serrations” under the washer so they would lock like a locking washer. It was a real quality part, it allowed the screw to lock into the application like a “locking washer”. This part was originally made in the USA. When the importers overseas got ahold of this idea, their idea on how to promote THEIR self-drilling screws (or “teks”) was that they were now going to be cheaper to buy, because labor and materials were less expensive overseas, etc.
But unfortunately, over time, they took the serrations out from under the head, shaved down the heads, and because they had less material to use, it was less expensive it was to make them. After a while, it slowly became harder to sell imported screws to contractors who still cared about quality.
What followed after this phenomenon was the common association that if you’re buying screws from overseas, then they must be bad quality, right? Wrong.
All Points Fasteners decided to go back to the old fashioned tek screw, and we had the manufacturer PUT BACK the tall heads and the serrations, but with a much more reasonable PRICE. We knew back then, and we know now, that there will always be a market for quality. This is a huge part of our business, so much so that it has actually become one of our company’s motto’s: Domestic Quality at an Imported Price.
Part of the way that we ensure that our quality never wavers is that we only use one trusted manufacturer to make our own, particular brand. Our manufacturer has never done anything but right by us, and we’ve always extended that expectation down to our customers. It’s the only right thing to do. And that principal has afforded us our valuable customers who haven’t gone to any other importer distributor in 25 years.
Yet, there are contractors out there who don’t even know if they’re using domestics or imports. To them we say: take a chance, and see for yourself.
Here is our motto: Domestic quality tek screws at an IMPORTED PRICE.
Although we still specialize in selling self-tapping/self-piercing screws (zip screws) and self-tapping/self-drilling screws (tek screws) through direct marketing, our business has expanded from what it used to be.
We were, and still are, one of the most reliable resources for contractors for screws and fasteners. But, with the advent of the internet, we are now more available to contractors than we ever were before.
From flowers to shoes, buying online is now common place. But contractor supplies are not so simple and even a good website requires excellent live support. We provide that not only with live chat but with the phone support we have always provided for the last 30 years. We’d like to stress how valuable all these options are in today’s market. We offer contractors many resources with our online website/catalog such as:
- Convenience – In the “old days”, contractors had to spend valuable time making appointments with supplier representatives to come out and show a product, get pricing, etc. Sometimes contractors would even have to travel TO different supply houses and comparison shop for a supplier. With contractor hourly rates, standing in line waiting to pay for parts can get pretty expensive. We cut all of that out of the equation. We offer detailed product information, pictures, application and technical information on many products. We do everything that we can to ensure that we meet each customer’s expectations.
- Selection – We offer a FULL, online catalog with detailed information on each of our products, so you can simply find what you need, look at the part, read the specifications, and even ask an online customer service representative for help with any questions that you may have. That way you can make a selection that fits your immediate needs and saves you valuable time.
- Personalized Service – We provide connections to live customer service representatives on our website, in the form of chat boxes in “real time” for any specific questions or concerns you may have, which so many other online stores are lacking.
- Online Tutorials – One of the very unique benefits we offer are videos listed on our website that can help contractors further identify uses and application information for several different items and industries. We’ve had several compliments from contractors regarding these useful tools we’ve provided.
- Free shipping (for qualified customers): We are able to save you time and money by shipping the parts you need directly to your doorstep. No travel required, no lines to wait in, no bad customer service issues. Just simple, direct and easy, leaving you much more time to complete other important projects.
We pride ourselves on being one of the top distributors around and offering such specific, online perks. We’ve gone the extra mile with regards to convenience and efficiency for contractors. We believe we’ve set the bar higher in our industry and that’s the way we like it!
We are so much more than self-tapping zip screws and tek screws!
Here is our motto: Domestic quality tek screws at an IMPORTED PRICE.
Selling Zip and Tek Screws – The Art of Customer Service
Mastering customer service, so you don’t have to perform ‘customer service’. When I first started this job, selling tek screws and zip screws, I knew I had the right intentions in mind. But, I also knew there were things I needed to focus on, in order to make this position fulfilling, all the way around. Fulfilling for our customers, for our prospects and for the company I work for itself.
- What were my goals?
- What were my priorities?
- What could I bring to the table, for all involved?
It always starts with the customer. When you put yourself in their shoes, you are just much more geared to be a valued source. What are their needs? In what ways can I benefit their business? Having this particular mindset during a conversation with a prospect or a customer pretty much guarantees a healthy, business relationship.
How can I answer questions or concerns that any contractor would understandably have for me, during an introductory phone call?
Answer: By having a thorough and consistent knowledge of my product. By having confidence in the product that I’m selling. By staying on top of a changing market and doing the best I can to offer the best deals, and the products that are conformed to suit their business. But more importantly, by understanding the customer’s needs from the beginning.
What is customer service?
Answer: Service to the customer: before, during and AFTER the order is placed.
This is why I ask questions. Questions that are constructed FROM THE BEGINNING to find out what I can do to benefit the customer.
- “What items are you using the most of”?
- “What application are you putting your current fasteners through”?
- “What are you main concerns when it comes to screws/fasteners”?
- “What quantities would work for your overall needs, while saving you the most money”?
Questions like these guide both me, and the contractor I’m speaking to along a certain path. The path to a mutually beneficial relationship between my company and our customers, a path to success. We are always geared towards gathering information that can only benefit the client.
Taking the time, in the beginning, to find out more about a customer’s needs, and listening, REALLY listening, are key to my position, here.
Another position I take when I’m on the phone with a prospective client: I pretend I am THEM.
Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I am off my rocker, this I what I mean by that statement: I put myself in the customer’s shoes, IN THE BEGINNING.
- “What would I want to have happen, if I were the person on the other end of the line”?
- “What would make ME happy”?
- “What would make ME satisfied”?
Thinking along those lines from the beginning goes a long way towards creating a productive, functioning, business relationship, from the start.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned along my road to learning better customer service: Accept responsibility:
This kind of attitude means that we truly start out with an attitude of servitude. In other words, we are here for YOU. If there is something we can do BETTER, we will do everything in our power to do so. Having an open mind and attitude as representatives of this company allows for the quickest, most efficient process, possible.
Another one of the ideologies I try to stand by is: “Leave the customer with more service than he/she was expecting to get”. Helping a customer make the correct and most cost-effective decision is paramount, in what I do.
Lastly, we are not entirely selfless in our pursuit to be Number One in customer service in our industry. We realize that a strong business connection with our customers can only instill an even stronger foundation under our own feet. It also confirms that All Points Fasteners stands out, among the many suppliers available to contractors. We understand that the more successful our clients are, the more successful our business is.
I want to change the perception people have about telecommunications. I want them to finish a conversation with me, having full confidence that I’ve just provided them with quality, and lasting service. I want them to feel GOOD about having received my call.
The goal, ultimately, ends up being this: Good Customer Service. So, I don’t end up doing any… ‘customer service’.
What Do All the Numbers Mean?
Did you ever read the label and wonder what all the numbers represented? Well, here’s your decoder ring!
Example: 12-24 X 7/8 Hex Washer Head Self Drilling #3 Drill Bit
12 – Represents the thickness of the shank. Think dress size. The bigger the number, the thicker the shank.
24 – Represents the number of Threads per Inch also known as TPI. The higher the number, the finer the threads, which are best used in metal applications. The fewer the threads per inch, the coarser the threads, the faster the screw will drive and are the preferred threading for wood applications or wood studs.
7/8 – measurement from underneath the head to the tip of the screw. In the case of flat headed screws, the length is measured from the top of the screw to the point.
#3 Drill Bit – Drill bit tips range from #2 to #5. They do not represent the size of the hole that they will drill but do represent the thickness of metal they will drive through. But we will save that for another tip!
Self-Drilling (Tek® Screw) Primer – It’s All About Education
Sharing our knowledge of commercial fasteners such as self-drilling screws, also known as Tek® screws, with contractors is important to us.
Based on years of experience having to match screw requirements with nothing more than descriptive word phrases, we knew the primer teaching contractors how distributors call out fastener specs would be beneficial and probably save not only time but money when ordering screws.
And we know that the more information we arm contractors with on the screws they could be using to improve their business, the more we will be contributing to their success.
So, All Points Fasteners is all about presenting solutions that solve real problems for contractors.
Building Relationships One Call At a Time
I find that when I call a potential customer to introduce our zip screws and tek screws, the very first concern I have is recognizing the value of their time. An understanding of that principal is an important key to being a conscientious sales person.
We live in a fast-paced world, and the necessity for commerce, not to mention the level of competition in the market-place, can make it very easy to lose contact with the human touch. But, when we get right down to it, most people want the same thing: To be treated fairly, and with respect.
When I receive any sort of interruption in my daily routine, such as receiving a sales call, it throws me off of my current track. So, the first thing I have to wonder is… is this other track a track I’d like to be on? I have to understand that this may be the sort of thing that other potential clients or customers ask themselves, when they first get on the phone with me, during their busy day.
I started with this company, because I recognized its’ value to the customers, to the marketplace, and to me. I do the best I can to extend that trust and availability to each and every person I speak with on the phone, whether it be for the first time, or for the hundredth. What makes this job a priority to me, and to my customers, is knowing that I’m supplying a steady, quality product to the heating and air conditioning industry (among other industries) at a reasonable rate.
But, there’s more to my job, than that! I like getting to know people. In our instant gratification, transient society, it’s often essential to tap into a customer’s needs, while also respecting their time. But, sometimes, the ‘red tape’ can get in the way. That’s why building relationships with my customers is what I do.
But, I’m always happy to make them smile, before and after the fact! A smile and a laugh during a long, busy workday can go a long way towards rejuvenating the energy of all involved. I’m proud of the fact that our customers trust me enough to place some of their company needs and information in my hands. After those needs are met, I will check in on a routine basis, to make sure that those needs are continually met.
I hope I get a chance to extend a warm welcome from our company to yours!
~ Rebecca Marcotulli, New Account Specialist