Long-Time AMSOIL Dealer Tells His Success Story

Jim and Sue KnudsenDealer Jim Knudsen of Brainerd, Minn. has more than 40 years of experience with AMSOIL.

In 1975, Dave Lingwall, one of the company’s first Dealers, asked Knudsen to try AMSOIL motor oil.

“I was fresh out of college and working in the bank that Dave used,” Knudsen said. “He came to my teller window each month with his AMSOIL commission check. That really opened my eyes. I bought some AMSOIL 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil for my ‘74 Chevelle* Laguna* and it worked perfectly in our cold Minnesota winters, and I never had to plug it in. In 1976, I became a Dealer under Dave, and I started selling AMSOIL on weekends to friends and family.”

Dealer to Corporate Sales Manager to Dealer

A couple years later, Lingwall again approached Knudsen at the bank. Lingwall told Knudsen that AJ Amatuzio was looking for motivated people to enhance the sales department. A week later Knudsen met with Al and a couple other corporate staff members. “I was hired before I left the building,” Knudsen said. “I passed my AMSOIL Dealership to my dad and worked for AMSOIL corporate for about three years. I traveled the eastern half of the U.S. as Eastern Regional Sales Manager while I trained thousands of other Dealers, as well as working with some amazing people that I am still friends with to this day. Some of us even had a reunion the evening after Al’s funeral service recently. I’m going to truly miss AJ Amatuzio. Those were some of the best years of my life, business-wise.”

Life changed again for Knudsen in 1979. “I got married, left AMSOIL and moved back to Brainerd,” he said. “We raised two girls and I joined my dad in real estate for 32 years. After the market crash of 2007–2008, I struggled in the depressed real estate market. I decided to hang up my real estate license in 2013 and, at my wife’s urging, I cranked up my AMSOIL Dealership. I never looked back. After only one year, I asked myself why I didn’t do this long before.

“After my 32 years of being a real estate broker, I had nothing to pass on to my kids except a file cabinet of old, outdated forms. Today, if I won the lottery and retired, my kids would inherit an AMSOIL business with no inventory required, and it would keep generating an income to them. Plus they can grow it to their liking. It is a ‘no limits’ type of business. I just wish I had delved into it this heavily many years ago.”

AMSOIL Products are ‘Bulletproof’

Knudsen said the quality of AMSOIL products first sparked his interest in the company. “The products are what first impressed me in 1975,” Knudsen said. “To this date they are still the best, and that comes across in my presentations to clients. It’s a confidence that I can look them straight in the eye and say ‘this stuff is bulletproof. I know because it’s all I’ve used in my equipment since 1975.’ The extra income that my Dealership is making is a very welcome addition to my future retirement.”

Knudsen focuses on retail and commercial accounts. “In the nearly four years that I’ve actively worked my AMSOIL business pretty much full-time, I’ve accumulated over 35 retail, commercial and P.C. accounts, all within a 90-mile radius of my home,” Knudsen said. “Each of these accounts is gradually ordering more and more product as their customers desire more AMSOIL.

“I continue to approach more of these types of accounts and I’m slowly expanding the AMSOIL name and visibility.”

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New Program Opens Access to Larger Accounts

“I’m especially excited with the new commercial/retail program of drum pumps and drums of oil that allow me to inch my way into larger accounts that need larger volumes of oil and a way to install it.”

Knudsen limits his territory. “By sticking close to home, I have the advantage of knowing most of the people that I call on, so I don’t need a special approach, just my handshake,” he said. “I usually give them a can of MP, the Product Catalog (G290) and a price catalog, followed by a brief discussion of how I think I can help their bottom line. My first contact is less than 10 minutes, then out the door. I stop back in about a week. Some are slower to sign up, but I’ve never been a ‘car salesman’ type person. I don’t push, and I think that is why I’m more accepted at my follow-up visits.”

Knudsen protects his business by referring all requests for AMSOIL products to his accounts. He follows up with a call to the specific account with a heads-up that someone is coming to their store for AMSOIL products. “This shows them that I don’t compete with their investment in brick and mortar shops,” he said.

Customer Service Garners Appreciation

He visits or calls his accounts regularly, orders for the few who prefer that and also does a significant number of group orders. “I’m very lucky to be just two hours from the Superior warehouse,” Knudsen said. “I can put six or seven different account orders on one pallet and have my local trucking company pick up that pallet the next day. I then personally deliver all of those accounts’ orders, except drums of oil. My trucking company delivers those for me. My pallet cost is $58 and I gladly pay that while making seven accounts happy to get free shipping. This group shipping service builds more rapport with my accounts and they appreciate it.

“I’m a source of information and expertise for my accounts. They call me with a special request for products or with a unique vehicle that requires more information than they have. I enjoy hearing from my accounts anytime. On a few occasions my accounts call me and hand the phone to their customer, who then asks me questions about AMSOIL. I love that.”

Facebook and Other Sites Provide ‘Hands-off’ Opportunities

Knudsen uses Facebook and other websites for personal and business functions

“I’m very computer and Internet savvy, but my business model does not require social media to a great extent,” he said. “I don’t Tweet, but I do have a Facebook page. It’s more for keeping in touch with my huge extended family all over the world. I share on my Facebook page many AMSOIL corporate Facebook postings, and I get occasional inquiries from friends that I then refer to my local accounts to handle.

“Since I don’t sell any retail AMSOIL, I don’t advertise, but I do maintain my own website that includes links to all my retail accounts. My website also gets hits from around my area and those people end up being P.C.s from the embedded connections to my Dealer number, or they call me and I find out if being a P.C. is best for them or if some other option is better. That is a pretty slick system, and it’s ‘hands-off’ for me. I like that.”

AMSOIL Touches Other Aspects of Life

Knudsen’s 1969 Camaro* has provided him with opportunities to use and talk about AMSOIL products.

“I’ve been part of a First Generation Camaro restoration website since 2001, and I restored our 1969 RS Camaro,” Knudsen said. “I used AMSOIL Synthetic 10W-40 (AMO) in its rebuilt 350 V8. I was one of their moderators for over 15 years. My wife and I drove our Camaro all over the country attending car shows; it was a very good time in our life. When our kids started giving us grandkids, it was time to spend more time with them, so we sold the Camaro, sadly. We have three grandkids that we love to see (spoil) anytime we can.”

His involvement with and relationship to World War II veterans led to his friendship with an AMSOIL Dealer in Arizona.

“I am heavily involved with the 194th Regiment volunteers here in Brainerd, where we maintain records and events to honor Brainerd’s 194th Army Tank Battalion,” Knudsen said. “These soldiers were all in the Death March of Bataan. Only one of those 63 soldiers is still alive today at age 97 here in town. Twenty-nine survived captivity, 33 were lost and one is missing in action (MIA).

“Our family is a Gold Star Family, as our uncle is the only soldier from the 194th that is still MIA from the Death March 75 years later. We are working with the Army in hopes his remains are found someday and he can be brought home. Another AMSOIL Dealer who is now a friend of mine, Frank Anderson, lives in Arizona. He represents our family every year at White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico in a memorial march in the desert to remember those lost in the Death March of Bataan.”

Enjoying Life, Family and Interests

When he’s not selling AMSOIL products, Knudsen and his wife run a seven-acre hobby farm. All his machinery, including an ‘89 Jeep* Grand Wagoneer*, zero-turn mower with Kohler* twin 26-hp engine, leaf blower, string trimmer and chainsaw, run with AMSOIL products. “Then there is always something to paint or fix as well,” Knudsen said. “We spend a lot of time in our screen porch relaxing, reading, doing projects and barbecues with family and friends. God has truly blessed us.”

I’m a source of information and expertise for my accounts. They call me with a special request for products or with a unique vehicle that requires more information than they have.

‘Nothing Should Hold You Back’

Knudsen notes how much selling AMSOIL has changed through the years and the options Dealers have now.

“Talk to your sponsoring Dealer and Direct Jobber about which AMSOIL plan is best for you,” Knudsen said. “It’s so much different than in 1976 when we had one basic plan – sell and sponsor. You can still do that, but I find that establishing a group of retail, fast lube, commercial and P.C. accounts brings me the business that fits my lifestyle for someone in their mid-60s.

“In 1976, when I started in AMSOIL, there was no Internet, no cell phones, fewer products and only two ways to build your AMSOIL business – sell at retail and sponsor more Dealers.

“Today, you have so many more options. Friends of mine who are in other MLM companies are jealous of our ability to market AMSOIL products in so many other ways. Nothing should hold anyone back today in AMSOIL.”

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