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Check out this scenario...


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Here is what I'm dealing with:

We lost a big account that ended up being 50% of our small business revenue.  (This could be a side lesson in the dangers of having too many machines at one location.  Our location was happy, but corporate office made a switch to local bottler.)

We've been working with a local repair tech who also has routes.  He has fixed us up with some of his smaller locations that are farthest from his office and are closer to us.  We like this guy and he has done nothing to lose our trust. 

He is selling us one of his locations that has two locations - newspaper office on one side of the street and the printing facility on the other side of the street.  The office isn't all that great, but the printing side has a pretty nice weekly pull.  He hasn't given us numbers yet, but this is the 4th location we have bought from him and he hasn't steered us wrong yet.

Here's the interesting part:  His electronic combo in the office kept having problems and after the 3rd time of it going down (I believe he ran this route every 2 weeks and I'm not sure how long the machine was "down" until they came out to fix it.) the office manager asked an employee who used to work at 7Up if he could get them a pop machine.  He says he can and the office manager says she doesn't want to deal with it anymore...  So now there is a 7UP machine in both locations. 

Our friend says this is nothing to be worried about because 7UP is known for poor service and/or dropping machines and never coming back.  He is sure that when they see poor numbers for these machines that they will pull them both. 

I have combo selling cans for .75 and they have 20oz for $1.25 in the office.  I have Diet Coke, Coke and all selections that they don't have in the bottles.

We are switching out the printing side later this week.  I'm putting in 16.9oz bottles ($1.00) and a small USI snack machine.  My wife and I checked out the printing side today and over half of the 7Up drinks were sold out. 

At this point, we are committed to this location simply because we HAVE to get these machines out and pulling in some kind of money to pay the bills.  :o

So my question is...  Do you all think this is something that is going to bite me in the butt soon?  Does 7Up have a poor service reputation in your cities?  The office manager doesn't care what is going on as long as people aren't bothering her.  We met her during the install and she was glad to see a new machine taking the place of the their old one.  Customer service is our strong suit and we live (and work) just down the road so "down time" should be short. 

I'm a little nervous, but on the flip side -- we trust our friend.



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When life hands you lemons make lemonade. Right now you are and will continue to lose sales to the 7up machines, there is not much you can do about it right now EXCEPT for providing OUTSTANDING service. Go in there more often then you have too, take the time to talk to and get to know people, let them see that you are serious about the vending business, solicit requests for items, etc.

As people get to know you and you establish relationships the sales will naturally gravitate toward your machines. All things equal, people will do business with people they know and like, as the sales at the 7up machines decline they will eventually will come get it. If you get established well enough you might even consider asking them to have it removed so that it becomes more worth your while to come visit them.

Whatever their reputation is, all the bottlers are at a disadvantage, limited offerings and hourly employees. If you play toward  the owner/operator aspect and offer the items people want, you will ALWAYS win. The only question is how long will it take.

This won't be easy, you will need to have your A game everytime you go in there but with persistence you will persevere.

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