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When scouting locations, Who do you talk to?


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As I get closer to actually buying and placing machines (soda and snacks) I was wondering after you decide you want to visit a particular business, who do you consult to talk about placing the machines? Every business has a different way of doing things. I realize that in a small business, you have a good chance of talking to the owner. But in a large more professional environment, who do you contact?

Lets use a hypothetical location like an apartment complex. There are different shift managers, possibly more than one owner, property managers (if the owner is absentee) ,ect... Who would you ask for?

I have read here that many of you have been doing this for quite some time and the sharing of your knowledge is very appreciated. Thanks

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As I get closer to actually buying and placing machines (soda and snacks) I was wondering after you decide you want to visit a particular business, who do you consult to talk about placing the machines? Every business has a different way of doing things. I realize that in a small business, you have a good chance of talking to the owner. But in a large more professional environment, who do you contact?

Lets use a hypothetical location like an apartment complex. There are different shift managers, possibly more than one owner, property managers (if the owner is absentee) ,ect... Who would you ask for?

I have read here that many of you have been doing this for quite some time and the sharing of your knowledge is very appreciated. Thanks

theres always going to be a "gatekeeper" you will run into. receptionist, etc..

you just ask that person simply who you need to talk to about the vending machines.

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you need to bypass the receptionist, i always ask for the decision maker..........when it comes to snack and drink vending i ask for the person in charge of the social club, this way we go in wanting to help raise money for the social club by offerring a rebate on products sold in the vending machine it makes it a lot easier to get through the maze!

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As I get closer to actually buying and placing machines (soda and snacks) I was wondering after you decide you want to visit a particular business, who do you consult to talk about placing the machines? Every business has a different way of doing things. I realize that in a small business, you have a good chance of talking to the owner. But in a large more professional environment, who do you contact?

Lets use a hypothetical location like an apartment complex. There are different shift managers, possibly more than one owner, property managers (if the owner is absentee) ,ect... Who would you ask for?

I have read here that many of you have been doing this for quite some time and the sharing of your knowledge is very appreciated. Thanks

On foot you just knock and go....which means step inside, bring a flyer plus a business card (See Vista Print for free cards). Many vendors take along a sample snack (bag of chips etc). Say Hello, be friendly. Tell them your story. Be yourself. Be relaxed. Print off some sample photos of the types of machines you plan on installing. You can find them on the internet. Be sure to tell them most vending machines look pretty much the same; yours might be a little different but pretty much the same. They are going to want to know if they must sign any contracts. So you will need to decide if you want contracts or just a month to month agreement. They will want to know pricing, product selection. Be prepared to talk about those topics. Remember you are offering them something big, expensive and all for free. You install service and maintain the equipment. If they currently have vending machines, ask if they are happy with the equipment, is it working OK. If it is a Coke, ask if they would like a machine that sells all types of flavors from Coke Pepsi 7-Up Energy Drink etc. Many people don't know there are independent vendors that can place independent machines. At any rate just remember your business is to give away free equipment and service.

For larger companies you might need to call first to ask who handles the vending. Expect to be put off many many times. But if you get that person keep the call simple. Tell them you are a local independent vendor just making some cold calls. Are they happy with their current service? Would they be interested in taking a bid? Could you stop by and talk with them? Telemarketers tell me they call on average of 5 to 6 hours to set up one appointment. You can run an ad in Craigs List looking for a stay at home Mom that might be willing to make local calls for you. You can buy call lists for your area on line. Just use google. Join the Chamber of Commerce; check your local newspaper for upcoming business meetings. Sponsor a little league team. Get your name out into the community. Vending is not only installing vending machines and service. It’s marketing. Each morning we spend at least 3 to 4 hours working on

our marketing program which covers which runs from lots of emailing congratulating people for the most recent promotion, moving to a new location and for any type of business achievement we can uncover. Its amazing how many people remember those few companies that send out real congratulations on your new promotion cards. It costs a postage stamp and sometime looking through the news. Lots of people ask how we get into some of the locations we can offer our vending partners. It’s because we market our company as someone involved in the community.

Again remember you are offering big expensive equipment for free including service, repair and products. Nothing to be embarrassed about or nervous. Once you get your mind wrapped around that thought you will be good at sales.

Hope this helps.

Popkady1

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you need to bypass the receptionist, i always ask for the decision maker..........when it comes to snack and drink vending i ask for the person in charge of the social club, this way we go in wanting to help raise money for the social club by offerring a rebate on products sold in the vending machine it makes it a lot easier to get through the maze!

I don't like the way this is worded. The so call receptionist is the best person you want on your side. They may not be the decision maker but they hold more power then people give them credit for. They usually have a better pulse on what is happening in the company and know most comings and goings. They are the best person to have on your side. Piss them off and you will get nowhere inside a company. So, yes you will most likely need to go beyond the decision making capabilities of the receptionist, but never just bypass them.

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I don't like the way this is worded. The so call receptionist is the best person you want on your side. They may not be the decision maker but they hold more power then people give them credit for. They usually have a better pulse on what is happening in the company and know most comings and goings. They are the best person to have on your side. Piss them off and you will get nowhere inside a company. So, yes you will most likely need to go beyond the decision making capabilities of the receptionist, but never just bypass them.

sooo well said could not agree more!!!

Awesome answers! Thanks for the insight. I'm really glad I found this board.

Poplady mentioned contracts. Say your location is up for the accepting your service, how do you determine which type of contract (if at all?) appropriate. Does anyone place machines if the location does not want a contract?

a lot of people use location agreements,which is basically a weak contract. this is to spell out the commission terms, and to certify you own the equipment in the case the business closes you have something for the receiver to look at so they dont auction off

your machines. there can be a length of time on the agreement such that its renegotiated every X years orr it can be open ended. theres probably some examples in the download section i think mission has an example he sends around if people ask.

all my locations are no commission and no contract but they are fairly low volume. i would want something on paper, if i was paying commission.

question for others---do you guys ever use strong contracts on a location? have you ever tried to enforce it to prevent a kick-out? (take legal action) i would imagine, no but just curious.

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I don't like the way this is worded. The so call receptionist is the best person you want on your side. They may not be the decision maker but they hold more power then people give them credit for. They usually have a better pulse on what is happening in the company and know most comings and goings. They are the best person to have on your side. Piss them off and you will get nowhere inside a company. So, yes you will most likely need to go beyond the decision making capabilities of the receptionist, but never just bypass them.

I agree. The receptionist or front desk person knows what is going on in the company. Key contact person.

Poplady

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sooo well said could not agree more!!!

a lot of people use location agreements,which is basically a weak contract. this is to spell out the commission terms, and to certify you own the equipment in the case the business closes you have something for the receiver to look at so they dont auction off

your machines. there can be a length of time on the agreement such that its renegotiated every X years orr it can be open ended. theres probably some examples in the download section i think mission has an example he sends around if people ask.

all my locations are no commission and no contract but they are fairly low volume. i would want something on paper, if i was paying commission.

question for others---do you guys ever use strong contracts on a location? have you ever tried to enforce it to prevent a kick-out? (take legal action) i would imagine, no but just curious.

We work with and represent 14 Southern CA vendors so we would have 14 different answers to this question. But many use a simple installation agreement which gives them permission to bring their equipment on to the business site. It also asks for a notice if there is a change. This is called a 30 day notice agreement. You want to get a signature from someone at the business that has authority to sign. Once you have this you can feel certain that you can order the equipment and schedule your installation date.

If a vending company is installing a lot of equipment or a full bank of machines they want a 3 to 5 year vending agreement. It’s a big financial outlay for them and they want to know they will have the opportunity to make back their investment. Most corporations understand this and expect a contract. In it many now list a right of first refusal clause. This is mumbo jumbo which states if they receive a proposal at renewal from other vendors they have 30 days to offer a matching bid. You can imagine how frustrating this clause is when you are competing for the business.

I know of a very large National company (no names mentioned here) that now asks for a 60 day nonrewal letter to be sent certified to a specific address listed in the contract. (address in contract is very hard to fine) If you send the letter to any other address they will fight it legally. So that also answers your question about companies fighting to keep the business via court, it rarely gets to court but they do let everyone know they are willing to go to court. Most businesses do not want to spend time in court over a vending machine issue.

You can get sample vending contract agreements just by googling for them. Just change the wording to fit your company.

My two cents...

Poplady

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I guess i should clarify regarding the receptionist, sometimes we do cold canvassing, yes we gather information from the receptionist, however, bypassing the receptionist and getting to the decision maker is never easy i guess this is where the selling skills click in.......other times we call the companys on the telephone and speak to the person in charge of the social club and set up an appointment with them and take it from there.

Yes we always have a basket of sample items that we do stock in the vending machine on hand and a folder with pictures of our machines and the new machines that we supply in our vehicle at all times which we use whenever we feel the need.

Our biggest success in locating has come from setting up appointments with the person in charge of the social club within the business. We only target businesses with at least 100 staff or more with our preference being industrial blue collar work enviroments. This approach has gained us 15 new locations in the last 3 months, all large locations which where we installed new large sized combination machines.

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Let me break this down in simple terms for you.

When calling on accounts (in person or on the phone) you ask can I speak with or make an appointment with the person that handles your vending decissions? You may have to deal with HR, manager, office manager, maintiance, etc. They may be your direct contact in the process and has influence but might not have the final say. The gate keeper is your best source of getting to the decission maker. If she/he does not like you you will get "screened" and be hard pressed to get to the right person.

As far as "contracts" unless both parties agree to some form of compensation if a the agreement is broken it is hard for it to be binding. Each state is different and can vary. Most companies are not willing to have their hands tied to strong with a vending contract. I have seen some get tied in because they entered into a contract without counsel and that is a big mistake fewer companies are making. Like mission said most times it is a "service agreement" that is signed.

At the end of the day if you are asked to leave for obvious good reasons then you need to move on. If it is over something that does not seem fair and it is in the middle of an "agreement" then are you willing to fight them in court? This "large vending" comapny that has been mentioned has threatned in the past with legal action but in the end it does nothing but give them a bad reputation to do business with.

Dont get me wrong if you lay out big dollars in equipment and get kicked out then you may want to fight it but do you really want to tie up that much time and effort and still could loose and end up kicked out anyway and paying their legal fees on top of that. Then again I have seen large vending companies offer to come into a large account with a major layout of equipment with no contract at all.

Main thing is stay in contact wit the decission maker do a great job and always make them feel like you are doing everything in your power to make sure they are sastified and you will have little problems.

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