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Locator or "do it yourself"?


guile
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I'm sure this has been asked many times (and probably answered even more) but do most people use locators or do it yourself? In my profession, I speak with clients most of the day. I have never had a problem talking to people and am excited about the prospect of it. While I'm sure there are probably people here who, perhaps at one time, worked for a locator (or currenty do), perhaps they can weigh in on the benefits of their services.

And to the successful vendors who are locating themselves, what are some of the methods? Is there a script to (at the very least) get some ideas? Thanks in advance.

 

g

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Guile,

     I do almost all of the locating myself.  It can be time consuming and sometimes a little frustrating.  Here is what I do:  First ask for a manager or the owner.  Once you're with them offer a solid handshake and do the magic.

     "Hello, my name is  _________ and I'm working with the (charity name here).  We are trying to get small candy machines placed in businesses around town to support them.  I was wondering if you would be able to donate a small amount of space for our machine?"

     If "no" thank them for their time.  If yes, ask when would be best to place the machine.  Get their card/info and give them your card.

     By the sound of it Guile you should have fun locating yourself.  Give it a try.  I love it, it's like a social challenge for me.

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Thanks Gabe. I have to admit I'm pretty excited about it. I'll report back on how I do. I just wonder how some of the locating companies are able to secure some of the larger accounts (i.e. Walmart, Lowes, etc). Who are THEY dealing with in those companies? And better what, how are they presenting the opportunity? I understand Locating is a business in and of itself, so I don't expect most/some of the "trade secrets" to be revealed.  

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If you have the time and you say you enjoy talking with people do it yourself. You save $ and great satisfaction with plac ing the machines. Hook up with a charity as this will soften people up. I don't use a script I just wing it but it is really just a conversation, your just selling yourself. Some times I will leave material with the gatekeeper most times not; I'll come back or make an appt with the decision maker. I ALWAYS mention my charity when introducing myself. I also will go in back doors, side doors over dumpsters and talk to anyone who will speak with me. Being from the car business for 30 years my wheelhouse is with all the people who are not quite right. Whatever works for you. Get ready for a lot of rejection and learn from it and move to the next one. You will be elated when they say yes. Hope this helps and good luck. This forum is a great help as well.

Jim

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      Guile, I'm not sure how large or how quickly you are wanting to grow your business.  I do know that the Bulk machines you see in Wal-marts and such are usually VERY large companies that can afford to pay high commission.  They have contracts with the locations (that will scare locations away if you are small like a lot of us here).  I'm not saying it's imposble to get the larger accounts, sometimes it just takes some creative thinking.

Good Luck!

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Guile, we've tried both and had success with both. It is a rush when you can do it yourself...that is for sure.

I think ultimately we are going to use locators a little more. It comes down to time - we don't have that much free and we are using another business to support this, so the cost isn't that big of a deal.

That being said, if we had the time we would definitely do it ourselves.

Welcome aboard and good luck!

Kevin

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      Guile, I'm not sure how large or how quickly you are wanting to grow your business.  I do know that the Bulk machines you see in Wal-marts and such are usually VERY large companies that can afford to pay high commission.  They have contracts with the locations (that will scare locations away if you are small like a lot of us here).  I'm not saying it's imposble to get the larger accounts, sometimes it just takes some creative thinking.

Good Luck!

Great replies!! With regards to how quickly (and/or how large) I want to grow my business, well..my wife and I haven't really discussed it in great depth. I did find out, however, that there is a good possibility my job is in jeopardy. Therefore, I have a very good motivator to move fast and hard. Honestly, I never looked at this as an "extra money" kind of thing. I always thought about this as a vehicle to (eventually) replace my present job and one day, it will. Maybe sooner then later.

g

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Guile,

Glad to hear you are open to locating machines yourself.  I wish I had the background you have in your profession to talk to people.  It's such a great asset to your vending business.  I think you'll find as you develop the skill of locating that you will do extremely well.

I don't have a set script, but I've found it best to keep it short and sweet (15 or 20 seconds for the initial spill).  I identify my company and my charity and emphasize the machine is a FREE service for the business.  Some people have a problem understanding exactly what the machine looks like as they think of a full size monster vending machine as big as an old mainframe computer. 

Here is the gist of what I say:  "Hello, our company _____________  places the little quarter gumball and candy machines for the (-----------charity).  It's free - doesn't cost you anything and we're responsible for the machine.  Would you allow us to place one here?"

I also emphasize they make great snack machine for the employees and suggest different candies as they are thinking about it.  I often will take a dixie cup of samples in with me to defuse sales resistance (I've seen it work time after time!) 

If they are undecided and are not sure if they have authority to make the decision, I'll ask if it would be OK to go ahead and leave it.  I'll offer to pick it up next time I'm in town if the owner does not want the machine.   This practically never happens if I get my foot in the door to leave the machine.  The free samples to "prime the pump" go a long way to conditioning employees to get used to your new product offerings.

You might also check out a new article I just wrote on "Power Tips I used to Locate 100 Bulk Vending Machines in the Last Year" on my site at:

www.vendingarticles.net/Power_Tips_100.html.  

Keep us Updated!

Mark

 

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Guile,

Glad to hear you are open to locating machines yourself.  I wish I had the background you have in your profession to talk to people.  It's such a great asset to your vending business.  I think you'll find as you develop the skill of locating that you will do extremely well.

I don't have a set script, but I've found it best to keep it short and sweet (15 or 20 seconds for the initial spill).  I identify my company and my charity and emphasize the machine is a FREE service for the business.  Some people have a problem understanding exactly what the machine looks like as they think of a full size monster vending machine as big as an old mainframe computer. 

Here is the gist of what I say:  "Hello, our company _____________  places the little quarter gumball and candy machines for the (-----------charity).  It's free - doesn't cost you anything and we're responsible for the machine.  Would you allow us to place one here?"

I also emphasize they make great snack machine for the employees and suggest different candies as they are thinking about it.  I often will take a dixie cup of samples in with me to defuse sales resistance (I've seen it work time after time!) 

If they are undecided and are not sure if they have authority to make the decision, I'll ask if it would be OK to go ahead and leave it.  I'll offer to pick it up next time I'm in town if the owner does not want the machine.   This practically never happens if I get my foot in the door to leave the machine.  The free samples to "prime the pump" go a long way to conditioning employees to get used to your new product offerings.

You might also check out a new article I just wrote on "Power Tips I used to Locate 100 Bulk Vending Machines in the Last Year" on my site at:

http://www.vendingarticles.net/Power_Tips_100.html.  

Keep us Updated!

Mark

 

Thanks for that Mark. You and I actually corresponded through email a few times:) After being at a very large company for 20 years (as of today, September 6th), I have recently learned that an outside consulting firm has turned in their recommendation after going through our entire group with a fine tooth comb. They have recommended to outsource our entire group! Not to another country but I will (most likely) be out of a job in the next few months (I'm assuming December, Merry Christmas!). Not only do I want to succeed in this business, now I have no choice but to succeed!

It's amazing after 20 years everything will pretty much be over soon. I am still pretty young (40) but the prospect of looking for (and finding) another job is not appealing. It's time to be independent and I look at this type of business as (almost) "recession proof".

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Thank you Gary for the kind words. Everyone gets me fired up on these forums! It's amazing how much you can pickup from others that help you refine your business here and there.

Best of luck in your vending.

Mark

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Guile,

Sorry, didn't realize it was you! Yes, you can make it work. I was thrown into it full time before I wanted to make the transition. Sometimes the pressure applied to you can be "spun" and used like force against a rubber band to propel you into a good financial position.

Best of Luck, and stay on these boards often. Lots of great stuff.

Mark

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I firmly believe in keeping the keys to your kingdom in your hands and do the locating in-house, whether it is yourself or a partner.

When you pay a locator, you dont know whether you are going to get a location in a chinese restaurant or a pet salon.  Also, locators generally stick to the main thoroughfares and only solicit there, missing the gold mines that may be on the side streets that have never been asked.

Start in your hometown, you know it better than the locator in most cases. 

Joe, NEPA Vending

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Here is the gist of what I say:  "Hello, our company _____________  places the little quarter gumball and candy machines for the (-----------charity).  It's free - doesn't cost you anything and we're responsible for the machine.  Would you allow us to place one here?" 

Mark,

Thanks for that very simple and effective script.  What I like most is that is not too "top heavy" with the charity.  It also indicates that you are a seperate company.  Too many scripts and locators spin the charity line and make it seem like we (the vendor) are actually part of the charity and/or work for the charity.  Most scripts I have seen have the classic line of : "We are doing some fund raising in your area today for XYZ charity. We are NOT asking for a financial donation, but could you donate one square foot of space for a small candy machine?" Now that line is very effective and will work, but IMO it is also misleading.  I personally could not keep a strait face doing that particular pitch.

Jax

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It's amazing after 20 years everything will pretty much be over soon. I am still pretty young (40) but the prospect of looking for (and finding) another job is not appealing. It's time to be independent and I look at this type of business as (almost) "recession proof".

Guile,

I too worked in a corporate environment for 25 years in the software industry.  At 46, I left the security of the corporate world and many people though I was crazy.  It's a great feeling to be independent.  Yes, there will be ups and downs, but my worst day in vending is nothing like my worst day in the old corporate job.  It's amazing what we can do when backed into a corner - failure is not an option!

They say the two biggest fears of most people is death and public speaking.  Mine are death and working a corporate job again!  My mom just retired from her government job with a pension and health insurance for life - sometimes I kinda wish I had put 25 years into a government job as well.  Good luck to you - and go for it!

Jax

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  • 3 weeks later...

Guile i agree with gman on this one.  The very large chain stores (walmart, k-marts, etc.) you want to steer clear of.  Compines like sugerloaf handle these accounts and they have everyone of these locations.  To place in one walmart you have to place in all of walmarts locations.  Stick with mom and pops locations.  That is were the real money is in the business.  There are a whole lot more of the small businesses then walmarts there always will be.  good luck

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It's amazing after 20 years everything will pretty much be over soon. I am still pretty young (40) but the prospect of looking for (and finding) another job is not appealing. It's time to be independent and I look at this type of business as (almost) "recession proof".

Guile,

I too worked in a corporate environment for 25 years in the software industry.  At 46, I left the security of the corporate world and many people though I was crazy.  It's a great feeling to be independent.  Yes, there will be ups and downs, but my worst day in vending is nothing like my worst day in the old corporate job.  It's amazing what we can do when backed into a corner - failure is not an option!

They say the two biggest fears of most people is death and public speaking.  Mine are death and working a corporate job again!  My mom just retired from her government job with a pension and health insurance for life - sometimes I kinda wish I had put 25 years into a government job as well.  Good luck to you - and go for it!

Jax

Jax- Sorry, I must have missed this post. Thanks for the kind words. I don't think I have ever felt more confident about something then I do about vending. I am SO eager to start but just waiting for a few more things to "fall into place" before I hit it. And when I do start, I will hit it hard. My goal is to place 25 machines in the course of a month! I don't care what I have to do, I will get it done.

I have to say thanks to such a great forum and members like you. You share your thoughts and experience and give people knowledge and hope. I have never had a fear of speaking in public btw:)

g

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