The Vending Sales Call
At this time I have 6 locations I am talking with and I want to share the vending sales call at larger locations with you. This will help you to know how to get beyond the guard.
The Initial Call
On your vending sales call you can walk in with a bag of products that would be found in your snack machine, but better yet walking in with a good quality bought brownie or freshly baked box of cookies and a folder with information on your company that has a slot for your business card is best.
Tell the guard who you are and that you would like to leave a box of brownies and a folder with some information about your company for the person in charge of the vending at their location. They will almost always say sure I will see that John our HR manager gets them.
At this time say to the guard what you usually do is call John in about a week and if there is an interest we can pursue it from that point and if there isn’t they will tell me at that time.
It is so low pressure they will not even be thinking this is a vending sales call they will give you the number or at worse they will tell you to call the switchboard. In most cases the person you are talking with runs the switchboard and you have already established a relationship with them.
I am calling on a factory of a major manufacturer at this time with 900 employees, 14 break rooms and 1 cafeteria. One of the most important things is that I am building a relationship with the guard and HR manager.
The guard enjoyed raising tropical fish to sell when he was young and after talking to him the first time he is now thinking of raising them again in his retirement for extra money. The point is making friends.
The Sales Phone Call
Within a week you want to call them. They won’t always answer sometimes they hide behind the answering machine. When they do answer say to them “Hello John, this is Dennis Slack with your company name.
I stopped by about a week ago and dropped off some information about our company and some brownies--by the way did you get the brownies?” You just broke the ice. It is best if you have a smile on your face and keep it light hearted at this point.
(One of the strangest replies I ever received on a vending sales call was yes I did get the brownies and they where terrible. I told him they where a frozen brownie and started apologizing. He interrupted and said as I told you they where terrible and after I ate the first one I couldn’t get stopped and I ate the entire box. This person was on a diet and we are at the stage of giving him our proposal now.)
Sorry about that, let’s get back to the process.
Now as long as they have not said we are not interested at this time ask them if they would have a few minutes to spare next week or the week after (let them have two choices in the near future but not too close to today).
After they pick the week ask if the first part of the week or end of the week works best for them. Just keep narrowing it down to the day then to morning or afternoon and then to the hour. The HR person feels more in control by doing it this way and you are just after the appointment.
The First Call
The first vending sales call can go in several different directions. The call I made a week ago last Friday lasted less than 10 minutes. But I received permission to bring someone back with me to tour his break rooms and gather information on how much equipment we would need to set up the account
The Second Call
On the second vending sales call I brought my boss, and the HR manager sent an assistant of his, to show us the 14 break rooms. We were unable to tour the kitchen on the first visit as their present vendor was stocking machines in that location.
That is what you call a lucky break On a vending sales call because it gives you a chance to come back again before a proposal is given which strengthens the relationship you are building.
The Information Has Been Gathered
Once you have gathered all the information you need from your vending sales calls; the number of employees (white collar are worth $3.00 per week, blue collar are worth $7.00 per week in sales), the amount of equipment you will need, if the factory has a scheduled shut down each year you can then move forward with your calculations.
To give you an example the company that I’m talking with has 900 employees, with 250 white collar and 650 blue collar. Three months out of the year they lay off 500 blue-collar employees. This leaves 250 white collar and 150 blue-collar workers on location. So, you can see the account is not as promising as I once thought it was.
Now, add into the mix that there are 14 break rooms and you have a sizable investment to take over this account. Figure in that 3 months of the year we will probably have to empty a portion of the machines on this location.
Add into the mix that we will have to operate a cafeteria for them, which in many cases are not a moneymaker, and now this account is not all we had hoped for.
Before The Presentation
Sit down and start running the numbers you gathered for this account on your vending sales call. Is it going to be a profitable venture? Will it have enough cash flow to cover the payments at the bank for the equipment and the labor that will go into taking care of this account?
Once you have the figures then it is time to approach your bank about the loan you need. I’m assuming at this time you have a working relationship with your bank.
When the bank gives the go ahead for the money you need it is time to put together a proposal.
The Day Of the Proposal
If you are going to hand out the proposal in hard copy ask your contact in advance how many people they will bring to the meeting and make sure you have enough copies to go around.
Better yet set up a slide show. This will help you stay in control of the presentation because they cannot jump ahead of you. The larger the company normally the larger the number of people they will bring to the meeting.
It is a good idea to bring two or three people to the meeting from your company. Remember, you are trying to make friends and you are giving them the information they need to make a decision at this presentation.
At smaller locations I have had them give me the answer at the presentation but that is rare. I don’t think it hurts to ask for it at that time just don’t expect an immediate answer.
Tell your contact you will call them in a couple of days and do it. Know in advance you are not going to close every deal. Many times you will get a call in a year or maybe two that they want to talk. If the relationship you have made is strong enough you will be able to stay in touch with your contact for months or years in the future.
Remember the bigger they are the longer it will take to land the account. Patience is a virtue.
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