Canadian Vending

Features Innovation Trends
Go The Extra Mile For Referrals


April 15, 2011
By Len Rashkin

Topics

Your customers pay your bills and the salaries of your employees. As
such, everyone in your company has the responsibility to look for new
customers and to keep current accounts happy with your services.

Your customers pay your bills and the salaries of your employees. As such, everyone in your company has the responsibility to look for new customers and to keep current accounts happy with your services.

Let’s take a look at one of the easiest methods of acquiring new accounts that most OCS and vending salespeople ignore. It is so simple, but unless your salespeople are trained or enlightened to use this technique, they fail to do it.

You just landed a large account and everything went well with the delivery, installation of a new single-cup brewer and the final test, providing a great cup of java to your customer.

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The decision maker is beaming because you did what you had promised. The staff is happy they now have a better coffee brewing system and each now have daily beverage choices.

Before leaving your customer’s office, you pass by many of the employees and they are telling you how excited they are with the new brewing system. You thank them for their business and you leave feeling fantastic with a great sense of pride, because you helped another client meet their coffee break needs.

At about the same time, in another office across town, Carrie, who is selling for your competition, has just landed a new client and all went well for her. The big difference between you and Carrie, is she seized the opportunity to grow her list of customers by creatively soliciting new business while still at the location. What did she do, that you did not?

Carrie went the extra mile and set the stage for asking for referrals when she demonstrated the new brewer to her new client. Not only was the brewer set up in the break room, but she included, along with the coffee, the following list:

  • A CD player, playing soft
  • background music
  • A nicely scented burning candle
  • A pretty flowering plant
  • An assortment of flavoured biscotti and cookies
  • A can of whipped cream
  • A jar of chocolate sprinkles and
  • cinnamon powder
  • Fresh donuts or muffins
  • Napkins
  • Assortment of flavoured and regular creamers
  • Tea and hot chocolate single-serve selections for non-coffee drinkers

Can you imagine the reaction of the employees when they enter the break room to experience the new single-cup brewer and the different hot beverages? Imagine yourself, as one of the employees, hearing the sound of soft music in the air, the aromatic smell of the scented candle, a flowering plant decorating the room, a delicious array of goodies to taste and you can have your choice of beverages (a majestic moment in the office).

Carrie seizes the moment and before the staff leaves, she asks all of them if they love the new style brewer and the beverage they picked to sample. Most say “yes.” Carrie then asks each individual if they could refer a business friend in another company to her. She would also have them experience the same scenario. She assures them if the contact referred turns into a new client, she will give them a $50 gift certificate to their favorite local restaurant. Carrie passes out a short form for each employee to fill out with their contact information.

Referrals are probably the least expensive way to get a new customer. Salespeople must be armed with a referral form when visiting a new or current customer. Have them set the stage by just asking their customer a simple question: “Are you happy with our beverages and the equipment that I have supplied to you?” As soon as you hear them say “yes,” ask them to refer. Simple and effective.

Please give me a call if you have any questions or suggestions for an article. I can be reached at 516-241-4883 or by e-mail at OCSconsultant@aol.com.


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