These influencers serve clients every day and suggest innovative ways to improve their clients' organizations. Communicate to these people how your vending and OCS company is critical to their clients.
Hammer home the fact that motivating employees with energizing and healthy snacks, beverages, coffee and fresh food is paramount to a company's overall success. Is your company's name on the tip of their tongues?
Network with the local leaders
It is important to develop relationships with these "business experts" in your community. Call them and introduce yourself and your company to them. Send them informational packets, or invite them to lunch to show them your capabilities and help them understand your services.
By networking with these professionals and developing relationships with them, you will be in a position to refer them business and they will refer you business as well. You can create a symbiotic relationship that helps both of you.
In addition to business advisors, identify other business network organizations, including the local chapters of the Chamber of Commerce, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), and other specialized business organizations.
Donate upscale coffee and snacks at their next function or meeting and make sure the organization communicates to everyone that your company "sponsored" the coffee service.
Key resource: moving firms
Get to know the sales representatives and executives within every commercial moving company in your local area. These people know what companies are moving and where they are moving.
More importantly, these influencers have strong relationships with the decision makers within the companies that are moving. Take these people to lunch and try to formalize an ongoing lead generation and referral program between both of your companies.
Always keep in mind: a company that is moving is very open and willing to switch vending and office coffee providers.
Reach the Human resource managers
Know the large employers within a 30-mile radius of your company. Human resource managers are responsible for keeping their employees happy, motivated and healthy. Call the HR executives and provide information on your company's new healthy vending initiatives and the better-for-you products that your company now offers.
Know where your target market obtains their news. What business journals, magazines and newsletters are the most widely read by your target market?
Are you providing office coffee to law firms in the Washington, D.C. area? Then, you need to subscribe to Legal Times. Or maybe you want to provide vending service to government contractors (a booming industry, by the way).
Then you need to subscribe to Federal Computer Week or Washington Technology. Develop relationships with the editors and reporters who easily reach hundreds, sometimes thousands of your prospective clients. Send the journalists a news release on your company's new healthy vending program specifically designed for law firms or government contractors. These journalists should be first on your call list when you've got news or information to share.
Provide Tools to Make it Easy
Are you sharing all of your company's offerings with your customers?
My company recently designed a website for Peakland Coffee in Beltsville, Md. (www.peaklandcoffee.com) that clearly organizes all of the company's diverse OCS products into a comprehensive Web-based catalog displaying vivid product photos.
Customers can now browse and learn about Peakland's 400 products in the online catalog and submit their weekly orders with a simple mouse click any time of the day, any day of the week.
By effectively empowering and encouraging customers to browse and shop the entire Peakland Coffee online catalog, individual customer orders have increased by more than 10 percent. Peakland Coffee customers now can peruse the entire stock of products and services at their own leisure.
Using the Web as an effective communications tool can improve the customers' buying experience as well as educate the customers on all the products you offer.