What Makes A Profitable Vending Machine Account

One of the biggest challenges in selling vending accounts is deciding what makes a good/profitable account. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
You obtain two leads: one is a small business (25 employees, one shift) in an industrial park you are already servicing, the other is a very large facility (350 employees, 24/7 operations) that is across town.
You learn that both companies currently have vendors in their locations now, but are considering change. You set appointments to meet with both.
What now? Your goal is to make an objective assessment of the locations, determine their expectations, and decide if you can meet their needs profitably. Information is key, and this is the best (and easiest) time to gather any information that could be valuable in your endeavors. I strive to ask questions like:
  • Who is servicing the account now? What do I know about this company? Are they reputable, good people? Do they generally provide good service? Do they effectively service the area and account in question?  Are they using bottler’s assets?
  • Why is the account considering changing vendors? Ask the question and let them talk, find out all you can about how they are being serviced now, what they like and dislike about their current service, what they would change.
  • What is their expectation for equipment and for service scheduling? What are the hours of operation and/or access to the location?
  • What is the pricing and do they expect commissions? Is the account open to a different pricing/commission structure?
  • What is the distance from the truck parking to the machines, first floor, second floor, elevator, stairs, and dock? How quickly can it be serviced?
  • Number of expected patrons? How many people have access to using your machines? How much indirect competition do you have (fast food restaurants or convenience stores within walking distance)?
  • What are the demographics of the account? Age, gender, cultural and ethnic factors all relate to sales of product. What are the environmental conditions in the account?
  • How easily is equipment moved into the location? Look for narrow hallways, large steps, short doors, tile and hardwood floors – any factors that could affect the move or that might induce unexpected liability.
In our scenario, you find that the 25-person account is being run by an operator you don’t know. He has told the customer that he is a part-timer who operates “blue sky” machines out of his garage. The customer relates to you that the machines are unreliable and that, while he makes a good effort to repair them, they just don’t seem to be fixed. The customer likes the selection offered, and the machines are full most of the time (mainly because the operator is out every other day to fix the machines and he restocks while he’s there). The customer has had several conversations about the reliability issue, but has had no solution to the problem.

1 comment:

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