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Delivering Profits, Part 2: Teach Drivers Simple Techniques To Spur Customer Purchases

by Len Rashkin
Posted On: 4/23/2012

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OCS route drivers, office coffee service, OCS education, coffee business, Len Rashkin, office refreshments, office coffee delivery service, OCS business, OCS sales training, sales training, vending, vending machine, vending machine business, coffee education

This is the second of two articles on training your route driver to sell additional allied services and products. The first, published last month, covered hiring, the important question of whose customer it is and what is considered giving great service. | SEE ARTICLE

This second installment will give you an overview of what is needed to train your sales route drivers to be more effective at selling. It is not an in-depth treatment, since space is limited.

What makes it easy for your sales route driver to sell allied products is that, in the eyes of your customer, both the driver and the company already have credibility. Your client has chosen your refreshment service as its supplier, and deliveries have been made over a period of time by your driver. This has built that credibility, and once established, it makes selling new products and services much easier -- buyers want to deal with people they like and a company they trust.

It is important to have your drivers understand that they will not just be selling added products or services, but will also be providing benefits to their customers. Making the work environment better for clients' employees will enhance their productivity, and that will lead to more profitable customers. This is an important concept for your drivers to understand, since they may have some initial resistance to the idea of "selling."

OCS must be on the cutting edge of what is new in our industry; and if we do not tell our customers what will make their work day better, we are failing to do our jobs.

Also, if we do not provide "one-stop shopping," our competition will have an opening wedge to use in getting in to see our clients and satisfy their needs and wants.

Advertisers use very descriptive words when selling a product or service. They paint a picture in the minds of potential customers to create a desire or generate excitement so they want to make a purchase. A good example is when an untrained sales route driver asks a customer, "Do you want a box of hot cocoa today?" Yes, that simple question will get some sales; but in order to really sell more hot cocoa, this approach will work much better: "Mr. Buyer, it is real cold outside today, and a hot, delicious and creamy cup of hot cocoa will give you and your staff a real lift." Which statement do you think would sell more cocoa?

It is really simple to paint a picture in the mind of the decision-maker. You can start by writing up a list of simple adjectives for your drivers to use, along with an abundant supply of allied-product samples. Here is a partial list of adjectives for your drivers to learn. Have them practice using these words in talking to other drivers or employees, so that they will feel comfortable when speaking to your customers. Have them insert these descriptive adjectives into full sentences when describing a particular product: mouth-watering + delicious + creamy + hot + tasty + smooth + brisk + robust + flavorful + refreshing + ice cold + mouth-watering + yummy.

For example: "Mr. Buyer, we have a special today on our mouth-watering, creamy Oreo cookies. I have them on my delivery vehicle; how many packages of 24, six-count would you like today? If you purchase two boxes, your third box will be discounted 50%."

"Mrs. Buyer, it is real hot outside. We can provide you and your coworkers ice-cold bottles of tea and a variety of refreshing cans of flavorful soda pop. What flavors would you like today?"

Bridging from one product to another related or complementary product is the next area that your drivers need to understand. "Bridging" is when you link one product to the next. Let's take coffee as an example and link all the products affiliated with it: decaf coffee, Swiss water process decaf, flavored coffees, instant coffees, cream, milk, sugar, low-calorie sweeteners, cups (Styrofoam, paper), stirrers.

Now let's take a look at cold beverages and link all of their affiliated products: soda pop, diet soft drinks, iced tea, lemonade, bottled water, cold cups (paper and plastic), drinking straws, chips, pretzels, popcorn, and disposable plastic bags for cans or bottles.

If you know that your customer has a microwave oven and a refrigerator, which most offices have in their breakrooms, then you have a host of additional products to sell: popcorn, paper plates, napkins, cold beverages, aluminum foil, utensils, paper towels, cleaning sprays, dishwasher detergent, and on and on.

It is now your turn to bridge from one product to the next product. The main product this time is a hot and cold water cooler. Now that you have the picture, see how easy it is to remember a wide array of your menu items that the customer can buy to get the full benefit of a convenient source of pure water.

Bridging is a simple technique that allows your sales route drivers to remember to sell additional products. Get your drivers to practice bridging with you on a regular schedule. You will see your sales increase dramatically if they use bridging when they see their customers.

There is a host of other areas to cover in training your sales route drivers to sell more effectively, and I will cover these in future articles. If you have any questions on the above discussion, please contact me at (516) 241-4883 or

LEN RASHKIN is a pioneer in office coffee service. He founded Coffee Sip in 1968 and after 22 years merged it with Dell Coffee, of which he became president in 1991. Sales at Dell topped $7 million dollars. Rashkin is also a founder and officer of Eastern Coffee Service Association and National Beverage Products Association. His industry honors include NCSA's (now NAMA) Silver Service Award and NBPA's Lifetime Achievement Award; he was inducted into NBPA's Hall of Fame in 1996. His marketing excellence earned him NBPA's Crystal Bean Award and three NCSA Java Awards. He is a frequent speaker at national and local trade conferences, consults on OCS sales and marketing and has is the author of two OCS training programs.