Auto Recycling World speaks to Mike Glunk aka ‘Mike Hammer’, Director of Sales Development at Fenix Parts, a US-based auto recyclers and parts supplier, about his background in the auto recycling industry, how he broke sales records recently for the company, why he came to be known as ‘Hammer’, and what advice he can offer to those who have chosen the sales path.
Mike, can you provide us with some background about your involvement in the auto recycling industry.
I started in this business when I was very young. My father owned a small yard in Newark, New Jersey when I was a kid sometime in the 80s. Back then, this business had a stigma and was seen to be just a junkyard. I am not sure if that has changed much today, but in my experience, it has evolved into so much more than that. I swore I would never do what my dad did, and although he is no longer with us, I thank him all the time. I’d like to see more salespeople make this a career they can be as proud of as I am, instead of just a job. This has driven me to facilitate sales training to help other salespeople grow their industry skills. Most of my day consists of selling parts, and for those who know me, I am always available to speak to after hours to help them improve and hone their skills. It is all part of a day’s work.
You have recently celebrated a great sales month. Apart from your obvious talent in selling parts, do you think there have been any contributing factors? Does the hangover of the pandemic and a shortage in supply chains help to create a perfect storm for selling reused parts at the moment?
During September, all the stars seemed to be aligned in the used parts business for me. We had a storm that resulted in a lot of floods which helped to sell a tremendous amount of drivetrain. Along with the shortage of new parts, the demand for used parts is up. I don’t see this slowing down for now, so we all need to take advantage of it, and with the right questions and just listening to customers, we can get top dollar for our parts, bringing larger profit margins to our vehicles.
What advantages do you think having a salesperson in any team brings, particularly considering how it benefits the customer? And what are the benefits it brings to an auto recycler generating sales?
A salesperson, I believe, is only as good as their team. We can’t do what we do without a team of drivers, parts pullers, inventory specialists to buyers purchasing the right cars for you to sell parts. I don’t want to mislead anyone by saying you can be a great salesperson with just having a great team behind you because you do need to have the tools to define your talent. You need the drive to succeed, the energy to push forward and the ‘gift of the gab’ to close the deals.
With digital sales space seeming to be ever developing, is it the end of having someone at the end of a phone, or can new developments be seen as a tool for the salesperson only to help improve productivity?
I don’t believe this business can ever do without salespeople and a phone. Yes, the electronic data does help with the sales process and widens our customer base, but with used parts, there are always questions or issues to be handled that can’t be addressed electronically. I am always looking for new ways to find more orders, so when I get an order electronically, I will call the customer to confirm the order and ask if there is anything else on the car they need besides the one part they ordered. As we all know, when a car gets hit, it normally needs two or three parts to repair it, not just the one they may have ordered electronically. There is a good chance the two other parts might have been sourced elsewhere because the price might have been cheaper. You can also ask if they have anything in the shop they are working on that they might need parts for. Always close with your name and direct line or extension, and don’t forget to get their name to follow up in a few days.
What advice would you give to those wishing to hit the numbers that you achieve? Is it about self-belief, or is it just as essential to be working in a team so you can sell with confidence?
You definitely have to believe in yourself, but it’s just as important to be part of a team and network so that you can source the parts you require to fill the orders for your customers. You also need a great team behind you from production to deliveries that can handle your workflow. Whether you sell 100k a month or 1m a month, you can’t do it alone, you need to rely on your team to get it all done.
Finally, you go under the alias of ‘Hammer’. How did you get this name?
I wish I had a great story to tell, but long story short, in 1992, when I started selling parts, my uncle used to call in and ask for Hammer Head. At the time, we were running a system called Orion, one of the 1st online networks. Tony Z, my boss at the time, changed my name in the system as Hammer, and because I purchased a lot of parts through this system, my name became synonymous; the rest is history. Most people in our industry don’t know me by Mike Glunk; they only know ‘HAMMER’.
If you would like to find out more about Fenix Parts, please visit www.fenixparts.com