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Year after year, business owners and executives search for the next best thing that will put their company ahead of the competition.  In the excitement and desire to grow our shares and market value, sometimes we skim over the basic principles that led to our business success in the first place. Without the basics, RC Cola International would not be where it is today. It takes dedicated employees from the ground level and up to make sure the RC Cola brand story is being told correctly, and that the store owners and consumers connect with the brand all of us have worked so hard to create and promote over the years.

It is good business practice to remind ourselves and our employees of the basics to a good sale. Below are the ten steps that all sales and distribution teams should be doing in order to have successful planned sales year after year, adopted from a presentation RCCI Managing Director Francis Lamprea.

We encourage you to share these ten basic steps with your employees – the ones that make the sales calls and deliveries, because at the end of the day, they are the ones who are out in the market place. They are the face associated with the brand, and it is important they remember and acknowledge how basic sales principals affect their sales and the bottom line of the overall business. 

Step 1: Observe Yourself and Your Vehicle

Dress for SUCCESS! As you get ready to visit an establishment, remember how important a good impression is for the success of any person. Take care that your appearance is professional. And do not forget, your vehicle reflects your appearance as well!

Step 2: Arrive On Time! And Park Your Vehicle Correctly

Do not leave your customer waiting! Be sure to know where you are going and allow for plenty of time to get to your destination, accounting for traffic along the way.

Once you arrive to the establishment on time, it is also very important to park your vehicle so it does not disrupt the daily business operations. Take into account the following:

Park in the unloading zone if available
Do not block access to the main door
Do not interrupt the normal flow of traffic
Do not park in the customer parking area
Do not double park if you must park in the street to unload your product
At gas stations, do not block the service aisles
Always be prudent, careful and courteous to the retailer and their clients

Step 3: Check all Exterior Advertising

When you arrive at the establishment, take a moment to look at the advertising. Make sure all the advertising for your brand is well located, clean and not deteriorating.

By doing this, you can perform necessary maintenance within your reach to promote the product. This will begin to have a direct impact on your clients, and help them achieve their publicity objectives.

Step 4: Greet the Owner or Manager of the Business

It is important to let the people running the business know you are there. Make sure you greet them by name. Over time, you will gather personal information from them on your visits, and will begin having friendly conversations. This will open many new doors for you and increase your business with this establishment.

Step 5: Detect Needs

When you arrive at the establishment, walk over to the soft-drink section and verify your products are well exhibited, well located, and in good condition. Observe which products are in demand, or out of stock. Use your route sheet to record this information.

Make sure you:

Observe the backroom stock levels
Check for empty containers
Observe refrigerator stock needs
Evaluate activity of competitors, and apply corrective measures to your brand
Take into account all returnable and non-returnable containers

Step 6: Collect the Containers

Collect any empty containers that you find in each establishment. Verify this with all the places you visit, increasing your possibility of selling “THE EXTRA CASE.”

Step 7: Time to Unload and Sell your Product!

Once you have collected empty containers and have determined the product and stock need of the business, inform the client of the number of cases that you will unload. Be sure to give an adequate and balanced assortment of products by offering clients the full product line.

In every establishment you visit, make sure to:

Exhibit: Arrange your products on the shelves, replacing the ones that have been sold.
Refrigerate: Load the refrigerator adequately, perform a stock-control count, and verify the maintenance of the refrigerator.
Rotate: Locate fresher products on the subsequent part of the exhibit space. Though our products have a long shelf life, it is important to rotate them.

Stock Count and Excess Product: You must leave a sufficient product supply to guarantee it will last until your next visit. It is important that the product remain protected; the outdoors is the number one enemy of quality.
Make sure exhibit racks are clean!
Promotion: When the client is promoting your product in their store, make sure to help spread the word and demonstrate thanks to your client for sponsoring the promotions.

Step 8: Check the Interior Advertising

Point of sale advertising guides the impulse buy of a consumer. Take the following elements into consideration and confirm that:

All point of sale material is well located

The point of sale material preserves the integrity of the brand
The area around your point of sale material is clean
The point of sale material is not outdated if it is promotion specific
The competition has the same price level, or that the prices on your products are in agreement with your checklist.

Step 9: Time to Go

Collect your payment, say thank you and announce your next visit to the store manager. Upon collecting the payment, you must make sure the client feels that the price for the product is low. Use terms like: …are solely, …just, ...only, …very inexpensive, etc. Express your gratefulness to the client and say goodbye. Be sure to announce your next visit to their store according to the route schedule.

Step 10: Inspect the Cargo Bay in Your Truck

Upon leaving the client, it is important you verify the quantities of all the products in the truck before your next sales presentation. This will allow you to offer to offer the entire product line, and return to the warehouse to reload if more product is needed. If you continue on your route without adequate stock, you may miss out on increasing your sales.

For more information, check out the Back to Basics article on page 30 in the second edition of RC     RE-FRESH magazine (link to the magazine on rccolainternational.com). Here, we have consolidated the steps into a fun, easy to follow map you can share with your sales and distribution teams. We encourage you to spend a few minutes refreshing your team on the basics to ensure that your business has a solid foundation. Help your sales representatives and distributors remember the importance of the fundamentals, and continue to increase sales!

For more information on engaging your sales force, please Mallory Lawrence at mlawrence@cott.com.

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