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.
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