Drivers Can Sell New Products While Delivering Familiar Ones

by Len Rashkin
Posted On: 12/29/2017

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One of the most important areas of running your OCS is your awareness of who is delivering your products and services to your customers. Hiring the right person to do this job can make a major impact on how your customers relate to your company, as well as the size of their orders.

While you may say to yourself, "my drivers have nothing to do with sales," I must tell you: "well Mr. Operator, they should; and if you are not training your drivers to make additional allied sales, you are missing a major opportunity to become more profitable." So, let's see how to attain this goal of having your route drivers add profitability for you and your company.

This article will be in two parts. This first one will discuss training delivery personnel, and will introduce the concept of their involvement in selling – that is, providing additional products and services to your existing account base. The second part next month will deal with training your sales route drivers on how to introduce new products and services to your customers.

It all starts with hiring the right "sales route drivers." When placing your ad on-line or in your local newspaper, you must put the word "sales" in the job title. This one word will disqualify many potential applicants because of their fear of selling. Those who do call will be the candidates most likely to be confident of their ability to meet with and communicate to your accounts. Your ad should list many of the responsibilities that a sales route driver is expected to accept. Include the people skills you want: friendly, honest, dependable, able to lift a 40-lb. box, well-spoken, helpful, neat and clean appearance – and has a strong desire to work with others and make more money through incentives and commissions.

Most of you may already have drivers who have been with your company for many years and you do not want to let them go. Here is an orientation for your existing route drivers, as well as the new ones you recruit, on what they must learn and practice in order to become sales route drivers.

It is imperative that you stress that the sales route driver's task of introducing additional products to the clients they serve enables them to confer important benefits on the employees in those accounts; the idea must not be to sell them something that they don't want or need. Emphasize that you, or your sales staff, do the initial selling to open new accounts. The sales route drivers simply introduce new products to an already established and happy client. Thus, they need not worry about rejection, a danger that's often hard for non-salespeople to accept. On the contrary, when drivers make deliveries, the staff is happy to see someone bringing them products that they want. They like their drivers, and people enjoy doing business with people they like.

The first area to cover with them is "Why should drivers start selling to existing customers?" The simple answer is for them to make more money. More money will benefit their families, so that they can save for their children's education, vacations and personal items, and enhance their future security. And performing an additional task that increases their compensation makes the company more profitable. When that happens, all the employees benefit through stronger job security, wage increases, continuation of benefits and the ability of the company to reinvest in new client equipment to stay competitive. The bottom line is that all the company's customers are the customers of its sales route drivers, too.

The second part of training your sales route drivers is to familiarize them with the rest of the company's support team. Simply: all employees are behind them, including everyone in the warehouse, the service department, telephone customer service, marketing and sales, bookkeeping and management.

The third area they should be aware of is the cost of doing business. Many non-personnel expenses must be met before the company realizes any profit at all. The costs of rent or mortgage payments, utilities, telecommunications, vehicle acquisition and maintenance, insurance, fuel and cellphones must be paid, as must the expense of acquiring and servicing brewers, water coolers and other equipment. The list goes on, including advertising and marketing, payroll taxes and a wide range of expense items that seldom occur to employees.

A fourth aspect about which your sales route drivers need orientation is the equipment that you are offering your clients. A brief overview of pour-over and automatic brewers, airports, thermal servers, single-cup brewers, water coolers (bottled and filtered), microwave ovens, refrigerators, icemakers and the like will increase the sales route drivers' awareness of the value of your service to your clientele.

The fifth area is enabling your drivers to understand the value of selling professional office refreshment services in the first place.. All companies want their employees to be happy. Management knows that if the work environment is positive and boosts morale, the staff will work harder and become more productive. Providing quality products in the workplace will keep more employees at their desks, so they will have little need to go out to purchase refreshments with their own money. Of course, a business can try to do this itself.  But if management sends an employee out to purchase products, there is the danger of an accident, injury to an employee and damage to a company vehicle.  The risk of a lawsuit is eliminated by having deliveries made by a specialized refreshment service.

The above topics are the subjects that need to be taught to prospective sales route drivers. Next month, I'll explain a simple method for conducting this training.

If you have a question or column suggestion, I can be reached at or (516) 241-4883.

» LEN RASHKIN is a former OCS operator who consults, speaks and writes. He is the author of two OCS training programs.