Truckstop Operators Weigh in on Successful Sales Visits

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Sales visits are one of the best opportunities for industry suppliers to build relationships and secure sales with truckstop and travel plaza operators. But for a sales visit to be effective, it has to meet the needs of all involved. To help suppliers better understand what operators look for in a sales visit, Highway Business Matters sat down with Seth Miller of Petro Travel Store #353 in Portage, Wis., and David Shoemaker of Shoemaker’s Travel Center in Lincoln, Neb., to get their top tips for quality sales meetings.

Plan Ahead: “It's a balancing act for operators to ensure customers are getting the service they expect and successfully communicate with vendors that visit. For me, I expect vendors that visit the store to call ahead at least 24 hours in advance. That way I can plan for their arrival and block out time so I can give them my full attention,” Miller said. 

“I don't like pop-in visits. I would rather have them make an appointment. If they pop in, I am already annoyed and usually do not have the time if they have a product line worth looking at. 

Share Information Early: “Another helpful tool that vendors have used is emailing new or sale items before visiting. This gives me a chance to study the promotions beforehand and place an order or ask questions when the vendor arrives. It's a real time-saver,” Miller said. 

Provide Leave Behinds: “I request vendors that make cold-calls leave contact and product information behind so I can call them back after the customers are taken care of,” Miller said. 

Be Organized: “I can understand the frustrations of a new salesperson, but they should have answers about their products, and illustrations if possible. They need to know what they are selling,” Shoemaker said. 

Be Honest: “If I ask a question about your product, don't guess if you don't know. Just get back to me with the correct answer. Plus, it gives you a good reason to make a follow-up call,” Shoemaker said. 

Be Concise: “I like short and to the point. Time is valuable to both of us,” Shoemaker said.

Provide Face Time: “A face-to-face visit is always a good opportunity to renew the partnership with that vendor. There is value when vendors take the time and listen to questions or concerns and act upon those remarks,” Miller said. 

Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Source:
Highway Business Matters (HBM)
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Goetz CompaniesShoemaker’s Truck Station

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