Make Your Website A Lead Generator, Not A Coffee Service Catalog

by Peter Ruchti
Posted On: 10/23/2018

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  Peter Ruchti
Years ago, when I owned a wholesale coffee distribution company, I ran into the same frustrating problem with my business month after month. No matter what new sales strategy I came up with, I always ended up feeling like I was spinning my wheels, and not one sales technique ever seemed to stick.

I tried hiring salespeople, Google and Facebook ads, networking at every event you can imagine, and -- trust me when I tell you -- none of it worked. This is, until I made one major shift in my thinking.

Today, as someone who runs a marketing company focused on helping coffee distributors and wholesale suppliers reach new customers, I now know that my situation was not unique. As it turned out, most of the struggling companies I work with now had faced similar obstacles to gaining stability in their coffee service businesses’ sales.

Old Problem, New Approach

So, what is this secret approach to sales that can transform the entire way your company does business? It is simple, and it involves using your website in a different way.

Just give me a moment before flipping the page. Listen, I know you are probably thinking that this is 2018 and that your business already has a website. Of course it does, but I want you to ask yourself one question right now: How successful is that website at generating sales? If you are like most wholesale coffee sellers, the answer is not very successful at all. That’s okay. Remember how I told you that I got my coffee business turned around? I’m going to show you how I did it right now: and – you guessed it –  it was with our website.

Brochure vs. Lead Generator

I used to think of my website as a brochure. It was a tool that a new lead might visit after looking at my business card, to see whether I was running a legitimate business. They would only see the website after I had made my sales pitch.

This approach was totally backwards! A website should generate leads for you, and then you should make your pitch to them. The lead should always see the website before you make your pitch.

Take Metropolis Coffee Co. for example. Their wholesale is clearly focused on the high-level pains and problems of their customers. The very top of their wholesale page talks about how their coffee will benefit your business, backed with their fantastic customer service and consulting. “Every business owner’s vision is different, and we want to support you…” They realize that this sale is more than just coffee.

As you continue down Metropolis Coffee’s wholesale page, you’ll notice a handful of ways that you can benefit from their services. At the bottom, you can request information about their wholesale program. This is where the sales process starts and lead generation begins.

Your website should do more than just start the conversation: it should also inform a user about your business, your processes and your approach. It also should qualify or disqualify leads automatically. A lead who already understands your business will feel much more comfortable being engaging in conversation with you, so you will be much more likely to close the deal.

You may want to also check out Big Shoulders Coffee. Their wholesale content is simple and straight to the point. Their page speaks of custom roasting, on-time delivery and hands-on service. The final call to action is “Is Big Shoulders the right fit for you?” followed with “Tell us what your needs are.” Notice they do not sell anything on their website: they only start the conversation.

Traffic and Conversion

You probably understand that it is critical to drive traffic to your website. The most common routes are through search engine optimization (SEO), Google ads, Facebook ads and LinkedIn. More often than not, I have heard my clients say they put a lot of money into Facebook ads or Yelp, and they did not see any results. However, the problem often results from a lack of proper targeting and poor website conversion.

A website “conversion” happens when a user completes the action you want taken. Typically, this is the user filling out a new lead generator contact form.

Do you know what your conversion rate is? Most coffee services do not know. Setting up your website to maximize conversions will immediately turn your traffic into new business.

If you would like to find out more information about how to break free from the daily sales grind, or if you’d like to get an expert opinion on your marketing process, I encourage you to connect with me at, or apply for a complimentary one-on-one strategy call.

    » PETER RUCHTI is the founder of Coffee Marketer a full-service digital agency helping coffee businesses market their product and get more customers. As a former coffee business owner, he works with other entrepreneurs to strategically market their business using the Internet. Ruchti is online at