Small Investment And Creativity Yields Big Rewards

by Len Rashkin
Posted On: 1/6/2020

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Office refreshment companies are not really known to advertise to the general public on TV, radio, and in print media. In some markets, AM radio commercials during morning drive time always have found some use by OCS operators, but at present, the Internet is the one major advertising medium that’s being used to attract new clients.

This article will focus mainly on advertising your goods and services to your existing customers. The cost of reaching all your accounts is very low; it’s easy to do, and it has the potential for generating thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business, depending on the size of your customer base.

• Advertising on your invoices is a surefire way to stimulate additional sales. Several people in the office view your invoices, including the person who you give or send your invoice to, the one who approves it and the bookkeeper who pays the bill. Most computer billing systems allow you to customize messages. If your system does not have those messaging capabilities, you can attach a flyer or sticker to each invoice or have a customized inked stamp made and personally hand-stamp your message.

• Company vehiclescan generate many new customers. This moving billboard will be seen by thousands of people weekly. The use of graphics and color will attract potential clients. If you service the larger cities, use the tops of your truck’s roofs to advertise your offering to those looking down from the higher floors of office buildings.

• Company uniformsidentify who you are! They give visibility in an office complex, in the hallways, lobbies and street. Make sure your staff delivery/service tech person’s name and company ID is on the front of their uniform, and a brief description of what you do  is on the back – “Office Coffee, Water and Refreshment Services,” for example. Include your logo and phone number as well.

• Coffee break areas are a great place to have your message noticed. You can use the side of your equipment, wall areas (permission needed), etc. to advertise.

• Your coffee cases have four sides and a top to display what you can offer. It is not uncommon to see pictures and offers to lease water coolers, microwaves and icemakers, along with providing a wide array of your products for sale.

• Providing newsletters/flyers/product menus about new products, equipment, services, interesting articles, etc. is very effective. You do not need to send these by U.S. mail; you can deliver them by inserting in coffee cases, attached to invoices and by email, or use your delivery person to hand-deliver directly to the decision maker. This could be a separate article with the many ways to use these media.

• Barter radio timetargeted to a morning driving audience in a 9-5 office environment. Radio stations provide coffee service, etc. to all of their employees. Try to arrange a swap of radio time for free goods. It is not uncommon to receive a 5 to 1 ratio of radio time to products ($1,000 of time for $200 in products).

• Telephone messaging on holdgrabs your customers’ attention while they’re waiting for a service rep to pick up the phone. This is a perfect way to introduce new products, services and equipment. It’s Important to change the message at least once a quarter. Message-on-hold actually deserves a separate column in a future issue of VT.

• Route drivers probably are the best choice to target the decision-maker. Your drivers can give handouts directly to your client’s contact person. Here is a promotion that worked well for me many years ago.

I had ordered from an advertising promotional firm a yellow blinking light, in the shape of a light bulb that could attach to a route driver’s shirt. On the top, rounded part of the bulb was our OCS company name and in the middle of the bulb were the words, “GUESS WATT’S NEW.” We created a contest for the drivers in which they would wear these blinking lights on their shirts, and they all carried our promotional materials. Their job was to respond to any customer who asked them, “Watt’s New?” by giving them our flyer. Even if they were not asked after a short time, they would still give out the information. We rewarded the top three drivers monthly with cash rewards for new orders generated. It was a win for the customer, driver and our company, with added sales and profits.

• Pinpoint promoting is targeting your accounts with different offerings. You already have info them pertaining to what equipment you have installed, and you should have a listing of what equipment your competitor has in your accounts. Example: XYZ Corp. has a brewer from your company, but also has a water cooler system from ABC Water Service. You now offer a special promotion to your shared account to knock out ABC’s water service. You can’t blanket all of your accounts with this special reduced pricing promo, or you may be making an offer to your own accounts who already have your coolers.

You now have easy and inexpensive advertising techniques to market your company. It is much easier to increase customer sales from within, compared with selling new accounts.

He can be reached at (516) 241-4883 or email me at OCSconsultant@aol.com if you have any questions or need on-site sales training. Sales training is not a cost, but an investment in your company’s future.

LEN RASHKIN is a pioneer of office coffee service. He founded Coffee Sip in 1968 and later merged it with Dell Coffee, of which he became president in 1991. Sales at Dell topped $7 million. He also founded the Eastern Coffee Service Association and National Beverage & Products Association. He is a speaker at trade conferences, consults on OCS sales and marketing, and is the author of two OCS training programs.