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Hunting down those 100 plus employee accounts


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I thought it might be interesting to show you what a typical day or days might look like hunting down those big accounts. It’s hard to get yourself started each morning but once you get going time just goes by so fast. First you look at the city you want to work with and then you start at the Chamber of Commerce. They have listings that help lead you to the companies with the employee numbers that works. For us we look for blue collar accounts with 60 plus employees or offices with 100 plus. We do have vendors that specialize in Automobile dealerships, nursing homes or hotels. Also you can find out information about the top employees in each department such as sales manager, operation manager and HR manager. Normally one of those folks handles the vending.

I also have a system that allows me to check how long they have been in business and what the current credit rating is so we do not put a vendor in a business going downhill. Most of the vendors we work with look for a 3 to 5 year contract if they are installing a full bank of machines. A full bank of machines would include food and coffee.

Here is an example of two accounts we have handled over the past two months. The first account is an office account with 350 employees in Santa Ana California. This account came to me because of a wrong number which I dialed. The receptionist and I just hit if off when we realized none of the people I was asking for worked there because it was the wrong business. Once she understood what I was calling for she said they were unhappy with their current service. She then transferred me to the Operations Manager. This was the start of a 7 week process. After talking with the OP he agreed to meet with my vendor. Then I called the vendor to discuss the account to confirm they would want to make the visit. They did want it. After the appointment the representative of my vending company called and we discussed the positive points and the negative points of the account. The positive was the current contract had expired and one of the negatives was the large amount of equipment. Since my fee is based on number of machines installed the cost to me was sizeable. We discussed it upfront so everyone was on board. I did agree they were putting in 12 machines when 9 or 10 would be enough. Of the 350 employees 88 of them worked in a warehouse which did make the overall account more attractive. The rest of the employees were office employees. So I charged a flat fee instead of per machine. They put together a proposal, I reviewed it and it was presented. Then we waited. After the first week I called him to see if there was interest in closing the de3al. He admitted he was concerned about making the change. He liked the new proposal but he did not want to go without equipment. I suggested we co-ordinate the change with my vendor.

They couldn't get together for two weeks. Once they met it was decided I would contact the current vendor to set up the change out date. This part is never easy. The current vendor is rarely helpful. In this case it was a large vending company. I have found in the past that those guys are normally very easy to deal with on this type of change out. They know if they are graceful then there is a good possibility that they will get the business back if our vendor drops the ball. But the negative of those large companies is they always seem to want to keep the machines on site for the full 30 day notice. I found out 4 of the machines were bottlers machines. So I talked to my vendor and we agreed we should just to a change out on those set ups. I called Coke, it was fine with them. I called the OP and he was fine too. So now we have a signed 3 year contract with an automatic two year renewal unless the company gives a 60 day notice at the end of the 3 year period.

On the 2nd account it is an adult ed school with 3 locations. I got this appointment by contacting schools to discuss our new commission monitoring system. We will install the software right on their computers which gives them the ability to monitor the sales on each machine daily. They can request a commission check at anytime as along as it is over a specific min. amount. I have called only private schools today.

We have several things in play with this location. These are private so they are not required to offer only the California Approved drinks and snacks. They are also looking for good pricing with higher commission at 20%. The current machines are just can vendors and the snacks are looking pretty long in the tooth. The reason they want to change according to my contact is poor service, lack of variety and older equipment. I find out they also have schools in two different counties Riverside and Orange Counties in California. So my vendor will need to be registered in both and be able to service them.

Because of the student base I feel coupons might work best. We have installed several of these types of accounts so I know the parents worry about the students carrying money.

I call my vendor to review what we have to find out if they are willing to do what I think it might take to close the deal. The cans are currently priced at .75 as well as the one selection of water. We know if they are receiving 20% on that pricing the vendor should be out of business or the vendor is just sending them a commission check based on something besides actual sales. Because it is just cans it gives us a perfect way to bury the 20% commission right into the bottle pricing when we offer new things like Gators, Monster, Rockstar, flavored waters and more.

At the meeting it is decided that coupons are a good idea but credit card readers would work too. So the proposal is prepared and presented. They decide to also offer Ice Cream Units and full size coffee machines. In the meeting we found out there is also a large job training center included along with the schools. We are currently in the waiting period. As each day passes it doesn't look good. I called yesterday to follow up. It seems they are a little concerned about the caffeine in the sports drinks. I faxed them a list of decaf options.

I have learned that calling too soon makes us look weak or to eager. In this case it may have kept us in the running. So cross your fingers for us.

Hope this gives you some idea of how you work a larger account.


Blue Moose

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Glad to see you back Bev, where have you been hiding?

I have turned into a lurker....not gone. How the heck are you doing Kelly...anything new with you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

great post

Thanks Dogcow....

Not much new here. Still working my full time job and building my vending empire...lol. My business is growing leaps and bounds and if and when I get laid off again I am going to make another big push. This summer has been crazy, no rain outs and they got me working everyday, had to take a day off last week to catch up on my locs that are only open mon-fri. But so far life is good.

Goodnews from a friend is always so great to hear. I just realized I am going to go through another football season with the Bengals...have pity on us. I have lost some weight and I bet I put it all back on this season because of depression from football. Maybe I will stay in CA all season this year.

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