For OCS sales success, try this direction in 2021

Jan. 21, 2021

Anyone who has sold convenience services, specifically coffee service, knows the importance of seeing things from the prospect’s perspective. Unfortunately, repetitive selling habits can lock a sales rep into a state of tunnel vision, greatly diminishing performance and results. How do we break away from selling patterns that are comfortable, but often unproductive?

Consider this:

Walking has become more popular than ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. My wife and I had been taking the same six-mile route over and over, then one day we decided to try something different. Instead of turning left at the start of our walk, we turned right and took the same road in a different direction.

What a change! A different direction offered a completely different perspective.

Be more than just an “order taker”

When selling convenience services, are you settling for the same route over and over?

That is exactly what an “order taker” does.

Go back and review the video I presented on my b2b Perspective Channel in October. Are you asking the Big Question? The “big question” will help you understand exactly what your prospect needs to see to do business with you. If you do not ask the big question or pay attention to the answers, you are officially an order taker – a long way from being an elite sales professional.

OCS sales – some real-life examples

Listen. If the prospect is asking for employee safety, touch-free solutions and an extreme level of service and sanitization – why are you focusing on price and drip-brewing systems? Are you selling the idea of drip brewers because your boss insists that your company has way too many of them in the warehouse? That is not a good reason to deviate from what the prospect is asking for.

Take a risk. Sometimes, you will need to show a prospect that your product or service can meet their needs – in a way that will be a refreshing change, because you are showing them a new route, a different direction, with a better result. This is the risk that elite sales reps are willing and able to take.

Be creative. In OCS sales, this happens all the time: If the prospect is focused on one particular type of single-cup brewer, but is also focused on price, you have two options:

1. Provide the same brewer and sell on price. That is a terrible choice. As a sales rep, when you make that choice, you have just descended into the category of “order taker” and “low baller.” This is not what elite sales professionals do.

2. Listen, take a risk and be creative. Take a different route to satisfy the prospect by presenting a single-cup solution that offers a lower price per cup. That solution might be a bean-to-cup brewer instead of portion pack pod- or cartridge-style single-cup brewers. Sell the benefits, the quality, the service and the price difference.

Look around and use the MVP Solution Checklist

When you take the same road in a different direction, you will lose that tunnel vision that locks you into repetitive strategies. If a prospect is telling you that they want a fantastic coffee service program, but they need to keep costs under control, be observant; look around the room and find other avenues where you can save a client some money.

Example: encourage the prospect to abandon their expensive five-gallon bottled water program and instead use your point-of-use water program for a 70% savings. Take that savings and apply it to an even better OCS program.

This type of creative selling involves the use of the MVP Solution Checklist. MVP stands for Modify for Value and Profitability.

The MVP Checklist is something you will build up on your own as you gain experience. It is designed to answer one important question: How can I modify the program to better meet the needs of the prospect, increase value for the prospect and maintain or increase profitability for my company?

Invest in some training – about $300 worth

Anyone who is serious about selling OCS successfully and profitably should be utilizing the MVP Solution Checklist. Take a deeper dive into the subject by checking out my online course – built for NAMA – “Selling Convenience Services.” View a free sample and order the course from my website, Use discount code B2B10. The reviews have been excellent.

Take steps in this new year to elevate your game, gain a competitive advantage and enjoy the success you deserve. Sometimes, that means taking the same road in a different direction.

I welcome your feedback. You can email me at [email protected].

About Bob Tullio

Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio ( is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. Tullio recently launched a YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in two minutes” and is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.

As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q&A Webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.

About the Author

Bob Tullio

Bob Tullio is a content specialist, speaker, sales trainer, consultant and contributing editor of Automatic Merchandiser and He advises entrepreneurs on how to build a successful business from the ground up. He specializes in helping suppliers connect with operators in the convenience services industry — coffee service, vending, micro markets and pantry service specifically. He can be reached at 818 261-1758 and [email protected]. Tullio welcomes your feedback.

Subscribe to Automatic Merchandiser’s new podcast, Vending & OCS Nation, which Tullio hosts. Each episode is designed to make your business more profitable.



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