Category Archives: Start A Vending Machine Business

Vending Operator Tools Planogram

Vending Operator Tools  Planogram


Vending Operator Tools  Planogram    Download the sample planogram: pdf or Word doc

Vending Operator Tools  Planogram  A planogram is used in retail stores to arrange certain items in specific locations to get the maximum number of sales. In a vending machine we use planograms similarly:  Once the items are put in a planogram  items that sell in that particular location thus making more money.  In the planogram  we can then track what sells and what doesn’t.  If an item is selling real well you might want to put two rows of the same item.  This is a win for you and a win for the customer.  An item that isn’t don’t run it.  With a planogram you should be able to lower your stales or out of date merchandise in the machine thus saving money.  You can then change out your next planogram to what is actually selling in the machine.  Remember people get tired of the same old thing so change some items in your planogram every week.

  1. Have all products arranged in the same place which will help with operations, continuity through all machines, helps with efficiency and profits.
  2. Par levels are set to reflect the rate of sales for a product in the machine so that product does not run out but there are few left when the route man shows up.

Vending Operator Tools Planogram  Most manufacturers of vending machines will show you where to place items for better sales.

Download the form or create your own, then post it inside your machines so you can see it when you open the door of the machine.

The important thing is that you use this concept in your business.  Vending Operator Tools  Planogram    More Vending Business Blogs  Take Over A Vending Route Or Start Your Own?

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See all five videos in the Top Vending Operator Tools series

 Episode transcript:

Vending Operator Tools Planogram  Tom: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show. Here with Larry Towner of Service Group International. He’s a vending business consultant. Today, we’re talking about tools. Both conceptual tools that will help you be more efficient, and also, physical tools. Thanks for being here Larry. What are we going to start with?

Larry: Well, I thought today, that we would start with a conceptual tool.  Vending Operator Tools Planogram One that has a lot to do with marketing and things like that. It’s called a planogram. What a planogram is, is a planogram is how you arrange your machines in the vending business. The concept comes from planogram, if you been in retail, you know what planogram is. You work in a retail environment, planograms are used all through grocery stores and almost any retail business has a planogram. It has certain items in certain places so that you get the maximum number of sales.

Larry: In a vending machine, what that is, is that there’s a couple of reasons to use a planogram. One is that you have your products all in the same place, which is going to help you operationally, so you’ll know what products go where. In particularly if you have a route man or multiple people servicing your machines. You will have continuity through all of your machines, which subsequently gives you better data as far as what’s selling and what’s not selling, and things like that. It’s a very, very powerful tool. It really wants to, rather, it helps you with how you set your machines up. It helps you with your efficiency. It helps you with your profitability.

Larry: In a previous episode, we had discussed where you could actually do placement of the machines, as far as which products go where, and that information is compiled by most of the manufacturers that tell you were to put things.

Larry: Vending Operator Tools Planogram   So, what we’ve got here, is we’ve put up a picture here of what a planogram looks like. This is a planogram picture that I built a long time ago. We used it extensively when I was running a vending business. We actually have the word product on the top level and the par level below that. So, the product obviously, is what product are you going to put in there. That depends on the conceptual arrangement of your machines. But, you put your product, and you basically write it in there, or in this case, you can type it in there.

Larry: Par level is the other really important thing. Not everything sells all at once. So, different products sell at different rates. Our goal, when we were running a vending company, was to have machines not run out of product, but also not leave a lot of product left in the machine, which is a very bad use of inventory. We always put par levels in there. A par level, on a really popular selling item like a Snickers, or a Dorito product might be 12. You might put 12 items in there. On a real slow selling product, something that just might not sell that well, you might put a par level of four.

Larry: What you do is, when you come back to the machine, you’ll actually know if you had a par level of four and two items are gone, you know you sold two items. If you come back and you had a par level of 12 and all of the column is empty, well maybe you need to take that par level up to a 14 or something like that.

Larry: That’s the basis of what a planogram is. It’s how you’re going to arrange your machines. Again, you need to, with these forms, and we actually printed them out, and we taped them up on the insides of our machines. We put them up above the changers, so every time we opened the door, we knew what was supposed to be in the machine. That’s kind of an old school way to do it, but I’ll tell you what, it works. It’s inexpensive, and it’s very, very simple.

Larry: Tom, do you have any questions on a planogram?

Tom: So, I guess they’re different for every type of machine, perhaps. But, you can modify this anyway you want?

Larry: You can modify this form anyway you need. You can either add columns or subtract columns. You can cross things out. However you need it to work. Or, you can actually get into the program and actually change the form itself. But, the form isn’t what’s really important. What’s important is the concept and that you actually use it. So, take it and put it in your machines and make sure everybody follows it, or put it in a notebook and carry the notebook. That works too. I always found it easier to leave it in each machine. That way, you never had any doubt as to what’s supposed to be where.

Tom: Alright, Larry. Well, thanks so much. We’ll have a link to download this planogram, so you can just print it off or put it on your computer, modify it, use it the way you want.

Tom: Also, if you want more vending business tips like this, be sure to subscribe. You’ve been watching Vending operator Tools Planogram  the Vending Business Show. A publication of A&M Equipment sales.

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two  We’ll be looking at both account sales and retail (product) sales in the Fall season. Fall is a strong time to sell product because you can sell candy and food in the morning and drinks in the afternoon. Remember as the weather changes, you’ll want to change your product mix. You also want to know the over night temperatures in the room where your machines are located. Products sell because things are typically “back to normal” and running smoothly at the location.

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two is in the Fall and is also the best time to make account sales calls because these decisions are usually made in the winter time around New Years or in January. December and through January is also a strong time to make account sales calls since New Years is a demarcation point.

Retail sales tends to fall off after Thanksgiving to about half of what you normally do due to lots of food brought in by employees. Money gets tight for consumers because they are spending on gifts and when January comes they start receiving those bills. So during the sluggish time of Winter it’s a good time to make sales calls.

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Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Hi, this is Tom with the Vending Business show here again with Larry Towner where we’ve been discussing vending business seasonal sales in part one we covered spring and summer so what’s next Larry?

Larry Towner,: Well what comes after summer Tom? Fall time right? So we’re gonna continue this conversation about vending business seasonal sales part two and with the fall time on the vending business cycles and here’s one thing about fall time and this largely has to do, when I talk about fall, I’m talking about after Labor Day or more or less in September if you wanna call it that. But it’s essentially fall time encompasses after Labor Day until about Thanksgiving. And the fall time is from, again we’re talking about two different things, we’re talking about retail selling and we’re talking abut account selling. Which are two kind of different sales aspects of the vending business. But if you’re into account generation there’s different concerns than there are on the retail side.

Larry Towner,: So we’ve been discussing the retail side for first. Fall time is a very very strong time like the spring to sell product. You get a great shift in weather. What you have is you have generally cold mornings and warm afternoons and that lends to retail sales really strongly. So because you can sell candy and food in the morning and you seel drinks in the afternoon. So fall is actually the time of the year, in my experience anyway, was always my largest sales volume came ion the fall although the spring, summer and fall were pretty level all the way across, it’s just what happened was is that in the spring and fall you had a perfect mix of products, you had about 50/50 snack to soda. Summer time you sold largely drinks and then int fall time you went back to snack and soda.

Larry Towner,: One thing to is just as tip, is don’t forget that as the weather does change you have to change your product mix. When you =come out of the cold weather, you go into the warm weather, you need to be moving into non-chocolate items, items that don’t mold quite as much, that don’t melt, you need to be asking your accounts do they turn the air conditioning off during the night time or over the weekend because a couple of days in a hot room can ruin the inventory ion your machines or make them unsellable. Chocolate has a bad habit of turning white, it gets crumbly and white and it’s unsaleable at that point.

Larry Towner,: That lends to service calls or service complaints, if you wanna call them that. That opens the door for other vendors to come in and make the sales calls because after all all of your stuff in your machine is old and out of date because it doesn’t matter if it’s one item or all of it, they’re gonna say it’s all of it.

Larry Towner,: With that said, in the fall time it’s a better time to sell than it is in the spring and the summer. Schedules are back to normal, you’re seeing managers and people that are decision makers that are in the accounts, they’re kind of out of their heavy production season, they’ve got everything running smoothly, at least they hope anyway. Everything’s kinda smooths out so it’s a good time to start laying your calls, your sales calls, if you’re gonna go for account generation, in the fall time, that’s the best time because there’s …

Larry Towner,: What happens is is in the winter time is when the decisions area actually made. The best time to go selling in the vending account business is in the winter. It’s right before New Year’s, because New Year’s is a natural point of delineation. A guy’s got his to-do list, he’s had to look at new vending accounts or new vending companies on his to-do list since the summer time, he’s just not gotten around to it, he’s been busy, December comes around, between Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s, it’s real slow in the business cycle and he starts looking at that to-do list. And when you show up or you’ve been there a couple of times over the year and he’s looking at his to-do list, he’s got you up there saying hey, I need to call XYZ vending company, they’ve been calling on me for a couple of months, I wanna see what they have to offer.

Larry Towner,: So December, in particular, is a strong time to be selling accounts because New Year’s is a demarkation point. Even out into January, out to January 31st, out to the first of the year, great time because it’s that New Year’s resolution, they wanna a new vending company.

Larry Towner,: Retail sales on the other hand, generally after Thanksgiving, falls off to about half of that you’ll do the rest of the year. Largely because there’s a tremendous amount of competition that comes in. You’re looking at snacks and sodas and punches and cakes and cookies and turkey’s on the table sin the break rooms, there’s all this outside food that’s coming in, along with that, money starts to get tight for most of our consumers.

Larry Towner,: They are looking at Christmas, they ave huge amounts of money they’re gonna spend on Christmas, they know it’s coming up, and conversely with that come January they start getting their credit card bills. Sales fall off, they remain sluggish through January, they start to come back in February, or Febugly as I like to call it. Bt during this whole time weather can play and issue too because if people get taken out on a weather day they’re not at their place of business to purchase from your vending machines so they tend to be, sales tend to be a little sluggish on the retail side in this time.

Larry Towner,: But at the same time, so you’re not quite so busy doing your route, go make your sales calls. That pretty much wraps up the business cycle. Now if you have particular instances of if you’re =wanting to try to negate those cycles, there’s ways around that, those are tactics we’ll talk about in a future show and that does it for me right now. Tom do you have any questions?

Tom Shivers: Those are some excellent tips there. Thank so much Larry. We’ll be doing some more, like you said, on this topic. So you’ve been watching Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part Two at  the Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M …

The Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One A business cycle reflects human nature because people tend to cycle…

Two different business cycles in the vending business: account sales and retail sales of product.

Spring is the time of growth and renewal – more sales and opportunities. Time to sell product sometimes due to the warmer weather. On the account sales side, refrigeration equipment tends to begin showing problems which is a customer service issue but also an account sales opportunity. Any time you have a lot of service calls it’s a good time for account sales.

Summer, retail sales shift from snacks to drinks. As the temperature increases people tend to buy non-carbonated beverages. Summer account sales are tough because people take vacations and their mind isn’t on vending typically.

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Episode Transcript:

Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One  Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner who is a vending business consultant and today we’re talking about vending business cycles in the average vending business over a year, annual basis.

Tom Shivers: So, thanks for being here Larry. How do we get started with this?

Larry Towner: Well, Tom. Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One.  One of the things that we deal with when we’re dealing with a business cycle is it has a little bit to do with human nature and what people’s cycles are throughout the year. So, I’m gonna ask you some questions too, because after all the last time I checked you were a human being.

Larry Towner: I always start with spring, because spring is the time of renewal and things like that. It’s when it’s exciting. For you, in the springtime are you … Do you look forward to spring? I mean, is spring a time that you enjoy as a general rule?

Tom Shivers: Absolutely. Oh, yeah. It’s a great time, because it’s right after a cold winter.

Larry Towner: A long, cold, and dismal winter. We’re gonna talk about wintertime last. Let’s start with spring. But, again it gets back to human nature.

Larry Towner: People tend to cycle. They go through yearly cycles, they go through monthly cycles. There’s a lot of things that affect how people do business, what they purchase, and when.

Larry Towner: It’s simple things like life events, job changes, things like the weather. The weather has a huge amount to do with the Vending business, whether you believe it or not. But, we’ll go into some of those specifics.

Larry Towner: One of the things that … I’m gonna break this out into two areas too, because Tom, do you agree with this? That there’s two different business cycles in the vending business?

Larry Towner: There is the account sales portion of the vending business, which is when you’re selling to actually go achieve accounts. And then, there’s the retail sales portion of it for the actual sales of product and service out there. Does that sound about right to you?

Tom Shivers: Yeah. I can see that.

Larry Towner: Yep. So, I’m gonna address … When we address these issues we’ll address the retail side of it first, and then I’ll talk a little bit about the account sales side of it. Some of these things are cyclical or most of these things have a cycle anyway through them.

Larry Towner: So, let’s start off with spring. Springtime is generally the time of growth and renewal, I like to call it. It’s when your business starts to pick up and you start to start seeing more sales than you do in the wintertime … I’ll get to winter towards the end, but you start to see things picking up.

Larry Towner: It picks up in the vending business. Now, most of my operations I did in the south. Although, I did work in the greater Boston area for a number of years and these cycles work pretty much the same even north and south. They’re somewhat geared more towards the south, but they still work for the north.

Larry Towner: Springtime. Springtime is the time to sell product. In the springtime we tend to have an increase in product sales, largely because of the weather. It’s cold in the morning, it’s warm in the afternoon. That’s lends a great amount of credence to selling snacks in the morning and selling cold drinks in the afternoon.

Larry Towner: And then, of course coffee if you sell coffee. That sells always usually when it’s cold, but good coffee drinkers drink coffee all the time. So, we’ll leave that one out. But, that’s what springtime does for you.

Larry Towner: Spring is time to sell and people … Their money’s loosening up a little bit, and they’re looking forward to warm weather, and it tends to give them a very positive attitude, which in turn helps with your sales.

Larry Towner: It’s gonna help people feel better about themselves and that will lend to your sales on a retail basis. Now, on the account sales side springtime is kind of a tough time to sell. You need to be doing your calls in the spring, but the calls that you do in the spring are gonna be geared until a little later on in the year.

Larry Towner: One thing I always mention about sales calls in the spring is, spring is the time when you start to see some problems with machines. Particularly the refrigeration side of the business. Because, as the machines are coming out of winner they’re not … The machines aren’t cycling on and off a lot.

Larry Towner: And so, what happens is, is when the weather starts to warm up a little bit the refrigeration units start to kick on and off and that’s usually the time that you’ll start seeing some problems with refrigeration equipment. Largely drink machines start to have failures in the springtime, particularly as there’s big changes in humidity.

Larry Towner: What that spurs is that gives you an opportunity to go in and sell from an account standpoint, because if the existing vendor isn’t out there making his service calls and isn’t aware that the springtime is gonna create service problems he’s gonna have a bunch of service calls saying the drinks are hot, this and that.

Larry Towner: Anytime you have service calls it’s a good time to go with selling accounts. That’s the time when you want to sell accounts. Summer time. We’ll go into summertime. Retail sales in summertime your whole product line shifts from snacks over to drink, because as we like to say it’s 80 to 100 degrees out.

Larry Towner: People aren’t really hungry, they want cold drinks and you’d even be surprised they’re gonna drink more … As the temperature increases they drink more and more of the noncarbonated kind of drinks. They’re gonna drink sports drinks, water, things like that. Noncarbonated stuff.

Larry Towner: Nobody wants a lot of sugar when it’s really, really hot. There’s always exceptions to these rules, but as a general rule this is what you’re gonna see from a realistic standpoint. Fall time … Oh. Account sales. Summertime account sale’s really tough and this goes for the retail side too.

Larry Towner: People take a lot of vacations in the summertime, so what you see is your workforce gets diluted a little bit. If you’re in the traditional vending account where you’re within somebody’s business, a lot of people on vacation means your numbers are down, so your sales fall a little bit.

Larry Towner: But, getting to account managers in the summertime is difficult. They’re on vacation, they’re not really … Their mind isn’t really on vending per se, it’s more on production and on getting their business up and running than it is on changing out the vending company.

Larry Towner: Again, service calls. If they have service calls it’s a perfect time to go sell. If they have any issues or they have recurring issues in particular, good time to go sell.

Larry Towner: You got to make your calls, but your chances of success are less so than they are at other times of the year. Fall time. From a retail-

Tom Shivers: Hey, Larry. Can I interrupt right here? I think that’s about all the time we have for this show, can we pick up with fall and go into winter in the next one?

Larry Towner: We certainly can.

Tom Shivers: Okay. Great. You’ve been watching Vending Business Seasonal Sales Part One  at the Vending Business Show, a production of A&M Equipment Sales.

New Vending machines are available at 

Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized

Servicing New Vending Accounts getting Organized  An interview with Larry Towner
Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized  In the last video, Larry explained how to efficiently load a drink machine. In this video we’ll learn how to organize your truck for efficiency.

When at your warehouse (or Sams Club) or buying product for your accounts, how do you put them in your vehicle? Do you:
A. Throw the boxes in your truck helter skelter,
B. Open the boxes and throw them in your truck helter skelter, or
C. Arrange them in some kind of organized fashion.

Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized is everything – your warehouse and vehicle – so you know where everything is located. We loaded our vehicles like we did our machines.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our video series on how to service a vending account (please share this series with a friend), more videos are on the way.

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Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers: Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized I’m Tom, with the Vending Business Show, here again with Larry Towner, where we’ve been talking about what to do when you land a new account in your vending operation. So last, we talked about to handle snack and drink machines. How to take care of those, stocking them and so now what’s next, Larry?

Larry Towner: Well this is kind of a combination deal. This is what you do before you go to service an account and what to do after you service account. This has to do … We’re gonna talk about how you handle your products, getting them in and out of your vehicles and in and out of your truck.

Larry Towner: Some of the things to think about, Tom, are that, again, we’ve talked about efficiency in the other segments that we did, and back to being efficient, you know. The only thing you really have is your time and we wanna be super, super efficient.

Larry Towner: So I have a question for you. When you’re at your warehouse or you’re at the Sam’s Club and you’re buying the product for your accounts, and you go to put ’em in your vehicle, how do you put ’em in? Do you, A, just throw them in helter-skelter, B, open all the packages and throw them all in helter-skelter, or C, put them in in some kind of an organized fashion?

Tom Shivers: Probably B. But I know that’s wrong.

Larry Towner: Yeah. Well. So here’s the deal right? The way that you would do that is … and I mention this ’cause you wanna be organized. Organization is everything. So when you purchase your products or you go to your warehouse if you have a warehouse, you wanna have your vehicle organized in such a way that you know where your products are. How you choose to do that is your business, but you need to have some sort of a system that organizes your products in a way that you understand, so that you can quickly access those products.

Larry Towner: We worked on a planner-gram, we’ll get into that. That’s an advanced vending concept, so we won’t talk about that right now, we won’t talk about that for some time yet in this series, but we worked on a planner-gram, and basically all our machines were the same. But we used to load our truck just like we loaded our machines, so everything was done by shelf and not so much by column, but definitely by shelf. So all of the shelves were the same, so that when we went to pick a product out of our truck or put product into our truck … it doesn’t matter, it’s one and the same … they went in into specific locations.

Larry Towner: So the top shelf items went in the top shelf, the middle shelf items went in the middle, bottom shelf items went in the bottom. That way … I’m a very simple person. I get confused easily. So if I have ’em all in the same way, very, very simple, the truck looked like the machines. Think that works, Tom?

Tom Shivers: That sounds like you’re cutting down on time there.

Larry Towner: Well we’re cutting down on the time ’cause we wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. So when we would come out of the Sam’s Club or come out of our warehouse … didn’t matter really, was one and the same, they’re all a warehouse … loaded the truck up in that way, and then when we went in to go take our product into the account, came out in the same way.

Larry Towner: And so, critical thing, because you’re not gonna realize how much time you waste if you just walk out and throw the full boxes out into the truck, with no organization, you’re digging and you’re moving and you’re doing this and you’re doing that and you’re moving it. Now, I mentioned that option B, the one you selected, was you open the boxes and just threw everything into the truck. When you go into the account, and you come out of the account, what do you have? You have a lot of open boxes with partial product in it, right?

Tom Shivers: Right.

Larry Towner: ‘Cause you don’t put the whole box out there all the time. You think that’s true, or not?

Tom Shivers: No, probably not. Especially if you have a pick-list.

Larry Towner: Yeah. We talked about a pick-list in one of the previous shows. But you go in, if you take 48 Snickers candy bars in there, you’re not gonna put 48 into the machine. The chances are, unless it’s absolutely their favorite item, you’re not gonna do that.

Larry Towner: So if you just throw the half-full box into the truck when you get done, that box is gonna break open and you’re gonna have Snicker bars all over your truck. Or you’re gonna have bags of potato chips all over your truck. Again, been there, done that, don’t wanna do it again. Terrible waste of time having to pick product up off the floor of your vehicle.

Larry Towner: So have an organizational system for your vehicle. It’s your choice. There’s lots of ways to set your vehicles up. Just know where everything is. That’s what we’ve got for this segment.

Tom Shivers: Excellent stuff there again Larry. Tell us how people can contact you.

Larry Towner: They can get a hold of me, they can contact me at [email protected] That’s the best way. Send me an email. ServiceGroupInternational, one word,

Tom Shivers: Alright. And you’ve been watching Servicing New Vending Accounts Getting Organized at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment Sales.  Some other blogpost to check out Vending Machine License: Is It Something You Need?

Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros


Sales Success Secrets of  Vending Pros Episode Transcript:
Tom:  Sales Success Secrets of  Vending Pros is a webinar coming up February 25th, and joining me to talk about it is Larry Tanner, who is a vending business consultant with Service Group, International. So, Larry, what’s this webinar gonna be about?

Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros  Larry Tanner: Well, Tom, our goal in this webinar is to help you, or help our audience, to become better sales people in regards to vending, going out and getting new accounts, generating new accounts, and becoming more profitable.

Tom: Okay, and who’s gonna get the most from it? Who’s this webinar designed for?

Larry Tanner: This webinar is really designed for an owner/operator, but it could be designed for a sales manager as well. It’s designed for a guy that needs to go out and generate some accounts, wants to get profitable accounts, wants to learn a couple of new techniques, or maybe, quite a few new techniques, on how to generate leads, how to get good prospects, and how to actually close deals. So, that’s who’s gonna get the most out of it.

Tom: Okay, and what’s your background in the vending industry?

Larry Tanner: I’ve been in the vending business for about 35 years. I owned my own vending company for over 15, finished up with in excess of 500 thousand dollars a year in sales, and in three route guys, and we had about 110 or so accounts, 350 machines. Built that from the ground up, from zero. So, that’s my experience in the vending industry.

Tom: Okay, and who else is gonna be on the webinar?

Larry Tanner: We’re gonna have two other guests; Dan Jordan, who is a professional sales guy. He owns a staffing company right now, but he has been selling for almost all of his professional career. He does sales consulting as well, and we’re also gonna have Joe Nichols, president of A and M Equipment. And Joe is a very seasoned vending professional. He has been in the business for 40 plus years. Grew up in the business, basically, has run all aspects, and currently sells vending equipment.

Tom: Thanks, Larry. You can learn more about the webinar in Sales Success Secrets of Vending Pros, at And there should be a link to the registration page somewhere on this, around this video, either below it or somewhere around it. We’ve got room for a hundred people.

Servicing New Vending Accounts Loading Drink Machines

Servicing New Vending Accounts Loading Drink Machines An interview with Larry Towner

In the last video in this series, Larry goes into detail about handling the money from your vending machines. In this video,Servicing New Vending Accounts Loading Drink Machines Larry explains how to efficiently load a drink machine.

Do a pic list of the drinks you’ll need. Now is the time to use your hand truck and you’ll want to load them in order from back to front or first in last out.

On average we walked 6-7 miles per day, if you can cut that walking time down you’ll be much better off.

You’ll develop a rhythm for what we call “flippin” bottles and cans.

In the next video, Larry talks about trucks and security issues.

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Episode Transcript:

Tom Shivers Servicing New Vending Accounts loading Drink Machines : I’m Tom with the Vending Business show, here again with Larry Towner, and we’ve been talking about what to do when you land a vending account and we just talked about how to handle the money and now what’s next Larry?

Larry Towner: Well, we talked about a snack machine and we talked about handling the money on a snack machine. We haven’t talked about how to service a drink machine and so let’s do a real quick session on a drink machine just as an addendum to the snack machine, they’re very, very similar obviously except you have a lot less product or a lot less choice in your number of products and you have a different set of concerns.

Larry Towner: We should be able to get a drink machine in one video, I’m kind of assuming. So first thing is you know you’re gonna need some drinks. If you do ’em separately, snack machine and drink machine together, you can do ’em separately. Let’s just assume you’re gonna do ’em separately, just because you’re, just because, you’re gonna do ’em separately. If you’re gonna do them separately, you’ve done a pick list of what drinks you’ll need, ’cause you got your snack machine, you then open your drink machine, you look in, you need a case of Coke, a case of Pepsi, a case of Mountain Dew, a case of Diet Coke, you run out to the truck and you go get ’em.

Larry Towner: This is where you really need that hand truck, you need that hand truck or some kind of way to move that product in.

Tom Shivers: Hey Larry.

Larry Towner: Yes.

Tom Shivers: Just real quick. Explain what a pick list is.

Larry Towner: See I’m using jargon and I’m glad you picked me off on that. A pick list is a piece of paper that you take, and it can be cardboard. I used to use three by five cards ’cause they fit in the pocket of my shirt but it’s a piece of card and you actually go through and you pick exactly what products you wanna put into that machine so in a drink machine case, I always worked from left to right so I would look over to the far left and I’d say that was usually diet coke, I’d go I need a diet coke, I don’t need any of the grape, don’t need any of the tea, I need a Dr. Pepper, a Pepsi, a Mountain Dew, and a regular Coke so I’d have those things listed down or say I needed two Coke, whatever the quantity was you could do the same thing in a snack machine. You write down what that pick list. That’s a pick list.

Larry Towner: What am I going to the truck to pick up is what it is. That’s where the term comes from.

Tom Shivers: All right. Great.

Larry Towner: So you got your pick list. You go out to the truck. So yeah and you need to know that. You need to know that that’s a way to do it. So we got out to the truck. We get our pick list. We put the things done the way you, remember if you write ’em out one way up then you’re gonna load them backwards. You always load them in order. I said that with the snack machine and it’s more important with the drinks that you know where each item goes, put ’em on your handtruck or your flatbed. You’re gonna need a way to carry ’em ’cause carrying ten cases of drinks in, that’s where you lose the gym membership really really fast with the amount of time it takes you, the amount of time it takes you is what kills you ’cause that back and forth, we did a study one time.

Larry Towner: This is just kind of a boring little aside but we did a study and we spent on average walking during a day, we walked six to seven miles per day. Our longest walk from truck into a machine was about two hundred yards and our closest one was literally you pull the truck up to the machines but on an average day, about six or seven miles. If you can cut that walking time down, I know it’s good for the gym membership, keeps you young, keeps you healthy, but if you can limit the amount of walking that you do, you’ll be a lot better off. It just takes a whole lot less time so that’s just a quick tip that we have for doing vending route.

Larry Towner: So anyway, you roll in with your stuff, and then you just start filling and you’ll develop for what we call flipping drinks. You’ll learn how they go in, whether they’re bottles or they’re cans, you’ll get into a real rhythm for how to load those drinks up and how to make things happen really smoothly so that’s what you’ll get into, load again from right to left or left to right, always do it the same. Do all of the motions that you make to be exactly the same every time when you’re loading your machines.

Larry Towner: Handling the money on the drink machines again it’s the same as you do with the snack machines. You wanna close out the door. You wanna fill that bag up. You wanna get the money out of the validator and you wanna keep it out of sight as soon as possible. Same thing. Put it into a box or something to take it out of that building and head on your way. Remember, as I told you in the last one, don’t lose the money when you put it in the truck. Make sure you remember where you put it. We’ll get into trucks and security issues and things that happen on your truck or vehicle, whichever it is, in a future show. Any other questions, Tom?

Tom Shivers: Yeah so I guess that’s where we’re headed next in the next video, right?

Larry Towner: Sure. Why not? We’ve gotta keep our audience entertained, don’t we?

Tom Shivers: You’ve been watching Servicing New Vending Accounts Loading Drink Machines at the Vending Business show. A publication of A&M Equipment Sales.  Check out other blogs at Acquiring New Vending Accounts

Servicing New Vending Accounts Handling Money

Servicing New Vending Accounts Handling Money An interview with Larry Towner

In the last video in this series, Larry explains how to efficiently load a snack machine. In this video, Larry goes into detail Servicing New Vending Accounts Handling Money about handling the money from the machine.

In the vending business security becomes a big issue because the minute the money comes out of that machine, it is vulnerable to being stolen.

I can tell you from personal experience that being unprepared when handling the money can lead to theft. It happens if you aren’t prepared.

1. You need some kind of bag to put the money in.

  • Bank bags
  • Canvas bags
  • Something that can handle lots of coin and dollar bills

I always did money last for a number of reasons, but you should either do it first or last.

2. When it’s time to handle the money, you want that bag ready and open.

  • Use the door of the machine as a block/barrier
  • Pull the coin box out and pour it into the bag
  • Slide out the bill validator and into the bag it goes
  • Close the bag up
  • Hide the bag in a box of chips and cover it up

These are simple security measures that allow you to handle the money in the safest way possible.

As you leave the building keep your head on a swivel because bad guys won’t come after you if you’re looking around.

In the next video, Larry will tell us how to load a drink machine efficiently.



Tom Shivers:Servicing New Vending Accounts handling Money   I’m Tom, with the Vending Business show. Here again with Larry Towner. We are in the midst of a series where we’re talking about what to do once you land a vending account. In this particular show, we’re talking about New Vending Accounts Handling Money  how to handle the money and a few other things. Take it away, Larry.

Larry Towner: We left off where we had filled all the snack machine up. We had gone tray by tray and we had had everything handled in the most efficient way. Now, the question is what do you do next? Where are you at? You’ve got a couple of concerns. Let’s go to the big one. Everybody likes to handle the money, right Tom?

Tom Shivers: Maybe.

Larry Towner: Maybe? Yeah, now there’s the key word, maybe. I say that in that there are some concerns of course when you’re dealing with money. It is not what you think. It’s not all that great. If you haven’t paid attention, in the vending business security becomes a pretty strong issue. One of the big security issues is when you handle your money because the minute that money comes out of that machine, it becomes vulnerable to being stolen. It can get stolen out of the machine too, but generally if you’re keeping your machines locked, they’re gonna have to break into that machine. I can tell you from personal experience, if you take the money out and you put it in a bag or you happen to take the dollar bills out and set them down behind you because you’re gonna get a bag to put them in, guess what happens? You set them down, somebody walks by, and poof, they’re gone. I say it because it’s happened. Or, somebody distracts you and somebody else grabs the money. You think it doesn’t happen, but it happens all the time if you’re not careful.

Larry Towner: When we talk about handling money, we wanna talk about a couple of issues. One is you need some kind of a bag to put your money in. We invested in some nice heavy duty canvas bags that you can buy through the various different banking outlets. Your bank people can hook you up with that kind of information, and there’s some blogs around on the vending business, but you want some decent money bags. Something that can hopefully handle quite a bit of coin and quite a number of bills. That’s the first thing. You need to acquire some kind of a bag. In a pinch, I can tell you I’ve used lunch bags. Forget the money bags, stop at the local grocery store, grab some paper bags. It’s just not a great solution for a long term situation. Anyway, when you get done filling your machines, I always did money last. You either do it first or last, it’s your choice. Do it first or last. We always did it last because we took it to the truck and the truck left the scene at that point, so they would’ve had to run the truck down to steal the money from us, not break into the truck to steal the money.

Larry Towner: With that said, it’s your choice folks. You can do it however you want, but that’s just a tip that we use. When you get ready to handle that money, you want that bag ready and open. I myself, and I trained all my people to do this, I used the door of the machine as a barrier and a block. I would never handle money without having the door usually up against my shoulder. I would wedge myself between the door and the machine and have my body blocking how much money I was handling. Because they, meaning the bad guys or the people in the account … First off, let’s even step back from that. You don’t want the people in the account to know how much money you’re taking out of that account. You just don’t. You want to give the impression that you’re not taking very much money out of that account because that just makes it easier for you to be in the vending business.

Larry Towner: Anyway, I always blocked that money. I put myself between the doors. I always did coin first. I would pull that coin box out and pour that money into the bag. At that point then, I would turn with this arm, reach, and I would open the bill valve there and slide the money out. Into the bag it goes in one big sweep. Put it in, close the bag up. You think I’m paranoid, but trust me. There’s enough times, if you do it long enough, and like Tom said it’s been 20 plus years of being in the vending industry, only takes getting stolen from one time, just once, and you’ll learn your lesson. Right? Does that make sense, Tom?

Tom Shivers: Yeah, it does. Makes a lot of sense.

Larry Towner: You wanna be quick in getting that money. At that point, I always took that money and would put it into one of my boxes and bury it underneath the chips. Do not set it out on top of anything. Do not set it out where somebody can snatch and grab it and it’s gone. It’s common sense, but I’ve seen it done over and over and over again. Put the money into a box, cover it up. If you really wanna be sneaky, as it were, you’re picking up money from multiple machines, put your money into multiple boxes. Just so long that you don’t forget where you put the money. I’ll tell you a quick story. We used to do that in the truck too, when we would do multiple stops. We would put the money around in the trucks in various different places. One day, we lost a set of money from one of the machines and for the life of us, it was myself and one other guy, for the life of us we could not remember where the money went and we thought we had gotten stolen.

Larry Towner: About two years later, I was cleaning the truck out and I found that bag of money. We had done a really good job of hiding it, I’m just gonna tell you. It was really a good job of hiding it. It took us two years to find it. Anyway, those are some real simple security measures. I know, it’s hard to believe, but that’s what it went. Those are simple security measures that allow you to handle the money in one of the safest ways possible. As you egress the building, as you leave the building, keep your head on a swivel. Be looking around. There are people, and again it depends on the account. There’s lots of accounts where you’re completely safe. But, if you’re in a kinda public location, keep your head on a swivel. Be looking around. You don’t know who’s gonna come around. All they want’s the money most of the time. By the way, if you ever do get confronted by someone, give them the money. Save your life. Let it go. It’s not worth it. These are just little tips. You start looking around, and I swear to God, bad guys won’t come after you if you’re looking around. They just don’t, because they know that they’re coming after you. Little tip, big payoff. Big, big, big payoff.

Tom Shivers: Thanks, Larry. Excellent stuff. What’s the next topic we’re gonna be talking about?

Larry Towner: We still haven’t worked on drink machines, so I guess we better work on a drink machine next.

Tom Shivers: All right. You’ve been watchingServicing New Vending accounts Handling Money at  the Vending Business show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Servicing New Vending Accounts Part Two

Servicing New Vending Accounts Part Two An interview with Larry Towner

In the last video Larry discussed getting product from your vehicle into the facility at the best time of day.

In this video Larry talks about Servicing New Vending Accounts Part Two loading your vending machines efficiently because your time is your money. The more stops you can make, the more money you make.

Efficiency is key.

Setup a system, one example is a pic list and a box to carry product in from your vehicle. Another system might use a pre-filled kit.

When loading bins, load them in the same order as the machine from top to bottom. When you are in front of the machine, the last thing you want is to go from tray to tray in a random order.

Critical info to be successful in the vending business.

In the next video, Larry discusses how to handle the money.



Tom Shivers: Servicing New Vending Accounts Part Two  I’m Tom with the Vending business show here again with Larry Towner, who is a vending business consultant and we’ve talking about how to get started in the vending business and specifically what to do after you land account so and the last time we ended by talking about how do you get the product into the machine and how can you be efficient in that area so thanks for being here, Larry, and let’s continue the discussion.

Larry Towner: Sounds like a plan. When we left off in the last show, we were working on, actually we had the product from your vehicle into your facility at what we consider to be a good time, and you can watch the previous show to figure out what we were talking about there. Now we’re actually gonna talk about loading your machines and when I ran my businesses, I was very heavily involved in efficiencies in making sure that my employees and myself worked at maximum efficiency because, after all, your time is your money and the more that an employee and I always considered myself an employee could get done, the more stops I could get done and the more they could make.

Larry Towner: And now, I don’t know too many people that are in the vending business to not make money. What do you think Tom? Do you know anybody in the vending business that just likes to have a good time and go fill vending machines?

Tom Shivers: They’re probably out there but I don’t many of ’em.

Larry Towner: Right. So efficiency becomes key in filling out your vending machines. Now, when we set ourselves up for the vending business, we set ourselves up with a system and our system included, we used boxes that, when we originally started and I’ll tell you why this is important when we originally started, we used to do a pick list at every stop. We used to walk into the account, go through every machine and go to the levels of inventory that we had pre-determined, but we would re-stock to those levels and we would actually write down what we needed on a piece of paper, walk back out to the truck, pull those products and come back in and fill the machines.

Larry Towner: Towards the end of my business, we started carrying a pre-filled kit into the accounts so we had a bits and pieces. We had enough product to fill up a whole machine if it was empty. We carried those in bins and all of those bins came in at once. Your choice of doing this is your choice. You can do it one way or the other. It doesn’t matter. The premise is exactly the same. When we would load our bins, they were loaded in the same order as our machine so that all the chips that were on the top row were in one box. Same thing on all the rows of your snack machines, that how we loaded our boxes.

Larry Towner: If you go and you do a pick list, you go back out to the truck and pick the things, you pick them in order and you do that for a reason. When you get to the front of the machine, the last thing that you wanna do is start going from tray to tray, meaning you don’t wanna pull the top tray out, put one product up there, then have to go three trays down and then go back to the second tray. Do you see where I’m going with that, Tom?

Tom Shivers: Yep.

Larry Towner: You wanna go to the top tray and you wanna fill every slot on that top tray that you need to, right? That takes organization folks. You gotta think about it a little bit before hand. So, you get yourself in an organized system. Either you do a pick list or you do it in boxes. When we went to the end, we started doing it by boxes ’cause we just re-stocked the boxes at the end of every stop actually, they took ’em back. So we walk in and we had the things for the top shelf that we needed. We pulled the top shelf down, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing. Shelf goes in. Box goes down. Next box comes up, bing, bing, bing. Same thing on a pick list.

Larry Towner: If you do a pick list, you go in, you write down I need five of these, five of that, five of this, you put ’em into the box that you’re gonna draw out of five of these, five of this, five of that, and then they come out exactly the reversed order. Critical information if you wanna be successful in the vending business. You can go back and forth and do it the way I described. You’re gonna spend five times as much time servicing an account as you will if you put it into an organization and that’s just one of the success tips. One of the other great success tips is along with that, how you handle the money. You know, we never took the money out until the very last.

Tom Shivers: I was headed out the door. Let’s reserve that for the next video here in the series and so we’ll be talking about how to handle the money next, is that right?

Larry Towner: Well that and also how to handle a drink machine. We haven’t gotten there yet either so we’ve still got more. We’re on snack machines. We’ll do drink machines and money handling in the next show.

Tom Shivers: All right. You’ve been watching Servicing New Vending Accounts Part Two at  the vending business show. A publication of A&M Equipment Sales.

Check out our new vending machines Finding New Accounts and Placing Vending Machines

Servicing New Vending Accounts Part One

Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One  With a new account you aren’t sure how much product you will sell, but over time you will learn. So when you are new think about these things:

  1. How much extra product do you take?
  2. How do you get your product from your vehicle to the machine – hand truck, platform dolly, etc? (drinks are particularly heavy)
  3. What time of day would be best to service the account?

How to get the products into the machine is next in this series.


Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One  Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show, here with Larry Towner again, who is a vending business consultant and has been in the vending business for 20 or more years. Today, we’re talking about Servicing New Vending Accounts Part One what to do when you’ve got an account. Larry, let’s just role play on this one. I’ve just landed a new account, and by the way, it’s at a gym here by that I go to. What do I do now?

Larry Towner,: Let’s take a step back and let’s think about a lot of things. You’ve got your machines in there already, you’ve chosen your product, I’m assuming you’ve got your product already, you’ve got your idea of what you’re gonna put in there, it’s already in the machine, so from here on out, we’re looking at of you actually having to service the account. Is that a correct statement?

Tom Shivers: That’s right.

Larry Towner,: Okay. All right. These are things, this is kind of what we like to call this part of planning, because you have to think about what you’re doing. The first thing I wanna say is you have an idea of how much you think you’re gonna sell on any given product, but if you have a new account, and you don’t have a lot of experience, you have to be prepared for when you go in. What we’ll do, eventually accounts get to where you know what they’re gonna need, because you’ve been there so much and the clientele doesn’t basically change that, but when you go in new and when you have no experience, there’s a bunch of things you have to think about.

Larry Towner,: The first thing is, how much extra product do you actually take? Do you take 50 bags of chips in? Do you take in 50 candy bars? Pastries? What do expect to take in there? We always used to go in and do, just as a tip, we would go in and do a little recon beforehand. We would walk into an account and see what’s sold a couple of days before we were getting ready to service it, so that we knew what to bring because it’s different account to account.

Larry Towner,: For the new guy, I’m gonna ask a question. Tom, you’ve never run vending route. How do you get the equipment into the account … or get your product into the account?

Tom Shivers: Probably with a hand truck.

Larry Towner,: Okay. Do you have a hand truck first off?

Tom Shivers: Not yet.

Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One  Larry Towner,: Not yet. All right. You have a lot of choices when it comes to going out and buying hand trucks and or ways to move your equipment. There’s platform dollies, there’s hand trucks, there’s pallet jacks, things like that. There’s all kinds of things that you’ll see to move product around. Probably the most common is the hand truck, but I do know several vendors that have run very successfully with platform dollies, which is a four wheel dolly with a fold down handle, that you can fold it up and they stack their product up on that. You’re gonna need something to move product, particularly if you’re moving drinks. Drinks are very, very heavy and if you have to move eight to ten cases of drinks, while you can do it by hand, meaning you can take two cases of drinks a time and walk them in there. You’ll certainly … by the way, speaking of your gym membership, you’ll be dropping that, because you’ll get very fit very rapidly.

Larry Towner,: That’s correct. Even if you don’t, you still have to move all that product in there, and if your accounts are good accounts, you’re gonna need to move a pretty good bind of material in. Thinks about how you’re gonna get things from your vehicle into the account. We can go on about vehicles as well, but we’re gonna stick to a single account right now, and just say that somebody’s working out of a car, pick up truck, or a small van, and you’ll be fine running one piece of equipment, I mean one account out of a small vehicle.

Larry Towner,: There’s a concern right away. Tom, when do you think you would wanna be in there servicing that account? These are things you have to think about. What time of day would be the best? Well, there’s a couple of questions. First off is, in the case of your gym, the very first thing you have to think about is when are they open? Right? In your gym’s case, they’re open from when to when?

Tom Shivers: They’re open, I guess, like 6AM until about 10, 11PM, but the thing is, there are a lot people there the very early hours in the morning, and then they’re a lot, the most people there in the evening. Probably the best time is in the afternoons or in the late morning to early afternoons, or something like that.

Larry Towner,: And why would you choose that?

Tom Shivers: There’s fewer people there then.

Larry Towner,: The people do what? They get in your way, don’t they?

Tom Shivers: Of course.

Larry Towner,: Yeah, and so vending is a lot about efficiency. It’s about getting in, getting your machines filled and getting out. We don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just your time is money, you wanna get in there, you wanna be efficient, super fast, fill your machines quick and get out. Little tricks like that, we’ll probably go into it another show, but there’s a whole way to load a machine so that you are super efficient and you can do more stops in a day. More stops in day, these are more advanced concepts and things like that, and we’ll do a lot of this at the vending shows coming up, but there’s all kinds of things where you need to be very, very fast.

Larry Towner,: At this part, we’re gonna stick to that single kind of account. You’ve got your times narrowed down that you’re gonna go in there in the mid-mornings to mid-afternoons, because that’s the time when they’re the least busiest. In a more traditional business type sense, the times that you wanna be there are in the non-break hour type businesses. If you go into a manufacturing plant, they have a generally predetermined breaks on a specific hour of the days, and those are the times you try to stay out of the break room, because that’s the times when everybody’s coming into the break room.

Larry Towner,: You gotta think about those kinds of things first. You gotta think about the ability of how you’re getting your product from point A to point B. Then you have to think about how do you get the product into the machines. Well, it sounds easy, you just put them in and everything works, but reality of that statement is-

Tom Shivers: Let’s stop this right here.

Larry Towner,: Go ahead.

Tom Shivers: And pick that up in the next one, if we can Larry, where we’ll talk about that part of how to get the products into the machine. Is that all right?

Larry Towner,: Operating success tips from a professional, right?

Tom Shivers: Thanks. You’ve been watching Servicing  New Vending Accounts Part One at the Vending Business Show

Some of our new vending machines  /

Finding Profitable Vending Locations

Finding Profitable Vending Locations  An interview with Larry Towner of Service Group International

Finding  Profitable Vending Locations?  How do I get more vending accounts?
Finding Profitable Vending Locations is based on a number of things.  Are your current accounts close together or spread out? Think about geography. What’s in the neighborhood? Look for at least 20 people in a location, for example look at the number of cars in the parking lot.

How do you get to the decision maker at that location?
Rather than talk to the secretary, go around to the back or to someone who works there to learn about the status of their vending and how happy they are with it.

Tip: Make a sales call a finding profitable vending locations

When you talk to an employee at a potential location, this is market research.

A: Do you have vending?
B: Are you happy with it?

These two questions will tell you everything you need to know when prospecting.


Tom: I’m Tom with the Vending Business Show and here again with Larry Towner who is a vending business consultant and has been in the vending business for a number of years and sold the share of his company in 2012. So glad to have you here Larry. Today, we’re talking about finding profitable vending locations. Why don’t we do a little role play, say I’m new to the vending business and I’ve got one vending account and I want more, how do I get more of vending accounts?

Larry Towner: Well, that’s a great question. This is a question I get asked an awful lot is how do I get more vending accounts. So I’m going to ask you a couple of questions. First, your account, is it close to where you drive all the time? Is that something, when you go there, how many times you go there a week? Tell me that first.

Tom: Well, I go there probably four times a week and it’s full of people during the evening hours, mainly.

Larry Towner: Mostly during the evening hours. Okay, great. So you’re there, usually you service it during the day because you don’t want to be there when people are there, I’m assuming that’s correct. Is that correct?

Tom: That’s right.

Larry Towner: Okay. All right. So you’re looking for something during the day. You’ve got a rough idea of how many people are there and I don’t need specifics, but you’ve got this idea and you think in your head and you know this account because you’ve probably had it for some period of time. So the big question is, is do you want another account like that or do you want something that’s close by? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and a lot of it just depends on do you want to spend your time closer? Do you want to drive distance to get say bigger accounts? Just for example, let’s go over it. Let’s just go over the scenario that you want to stay close.

Larry Towner: The first thing that I always did is first off, let’s understand that this is called selling, right? Now, nobody likes to sell, but everybody needs to know how to sell. Selling in the vending industry is not as difficult as people want to think. Selling in the vending industry is actually pretty easy, particularly if you have just one satisfied customer, which obviously if you have the one account, you’re maintaining it, you’ve got a satisfied customer. So it kind goes this way. The first thing that I always do, this would be very, very basic prospecting. I get into the vehicle or I walk, it doesn’t really matter, but I drive around and see what’s around the neighborhood, what’s within a mile, right?

Larry Towner: If you go in a circle around the place and if you’re in any kind of an urban area, which perhaps you’re not, you might have to expand your search out a little bit. But I drive around and I look for potential candidates. For me, if I’m looking for a vending account, I want 20 employees in there all the time, or at least 20 people there during an eight hour work shift, for my personal model that worked for us for years, that’s a very big base minimum number. How do you determine if there’s 20? Well, you can tell an awful lot by the size of the building, the size of the parking lot, number of cars in the parking lot is actually a really good way to kind of figure out how many people are actually in that facility.

Larry Towner: So you go and you find there’s a place that’s got 50 cars in the parking lot. All right, that’s somebody that I think I’m going to go in and talk to. Now what do you have to do? Well, what do you think you have to do, Tom?

Tom: You got to get to the decision maker somehow and convince them that you’ve got a very good thing for his business.

Larry Towner: That’s exactly what you have to do. How do you go about doing that? How would you go about doing it?

Tom: Well, I would want to show, I mean, I’d want to not go in there with any assumptions except that I can contact, talk to the person who’s at the top if possible, the manager of the location.

Larry Towner: Well, that’s correct and that’s what we all would want to do. The tendency, at least in my sales experience in all the years I’ve been selling, is you tend to go in the front door and talk to the secretary. What’s the secretary’s job?

Tom: To keep you out.

Larry Towner: To keep you out, that’s correct. You’ve done this before. I can tell. So for me, what I do is I figure out, I usually go around to the back. I usually go to a loading dock or something like that and I try to just find somebody that works there and I don’t bother him because you don’t want to bother them. But I go in and I find somebody that works there and I asked him a couple of questions. The first question I always ask is, I don’t assume anything, the first question is do you have vending? You might laugh at that, but you’d be surprised, there are places out there that they have a big facility and don’t have vending.

Larry Towner: The next question is of course is if you do have vending, it’s like, “Hey, tell me, I run a vending business, are you guys happy with who you have?” Now that guy back there, he’s got no skin in the game. He’s going to tell you the way it is. “Ah, this or that or whatever.” He’s going to tell you everything you need to know nine out of 10 times, at least that’s been my experience. He’s going to tell you whether they’re, “Yeah, they do a really good job. It’s this XYZ Company and the guys here and the machines work.” He’s going to tell you everything you need, that you need to know about how it’s going as a general rule because people will talk about it. Particularly if he uses it a lot.

Tom: Right. So you bring up an interesting point there, Larry and that is it sounds like you’re not making phone calls to get this information.

Larry Towner: Well, you can go and make … You can do telemarketing if you want to call it that. You can make your phone calls and solicit the information. It’s just that if you’re going to go on what I call a geographic base, which means you want to be within a certain radius around your existing accounts, if you want to do it that way, you’re almost better just to do it by driving because sometimes you’re in industrial parks or sometimes … One of the things I tell everybody, this is a success tip for vending professionals, is make a sales call a day, make one sales call a day and that just means stop in somewhere on your route, stop into one of the businesses you don’t have as an account. You drive by hundreds of accounts every single day. I mean, just to and from, you drive by probably 10 accounts going to the grocery store every day. You just don’t realize they’re potential accounts, right?

Larry Towner: There are a lot of venting accounts out there. You just have to know which ones really work. So anyway, so yeah, so I mean I talk to … I do it by the old fashioned cold calling, if you want to call it that or in this case, this is kind of market research. When you get in and you talk to an employee, you’ll find out what … Are they happy? What do they like? You want to listen to what they have to say because essentially they’re the ones that pay your paychecks. Now at the same time, I’ve had guys come in, I’ve walked in and talked to an employee and the guy says, “Oh my God, I’m so glad you’re here. This guy is terrible and the foods’ old and it’s molding and and it’s this. Come on with me.” I got dragged into a president’s office one day by the dock manager and he said, “You need to talk to this guy.” Well, we closed that account that day. So this is, while it sounds cumbersome, it works. It really does work. You find an employee.

Larry Towner: You can do the same thing for prospecting. You can do it at your local church or you can do it … People you know. You ask everybody you know, “Do you have vending A? Do you have vending B? Are you happy with them?” There’s a million ways to prospect. We could do hours on this topic, hours and hours and hours. But like I say, if you’re going to do a geographic center in your planning, you want to do it around the center, then you do it that way. If you want to do the other kind where you want to do a size comparison, then you get on the internet. You get on the phone, you do your research. You say, “I want to find places with 200 employees.” The number of places with 200 employees is a much more limited thing you have. You can do the same techniques, but it’s just a little … It takes a little bit more time and you’re going to have to actually identify those prospects before you go in. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not.

Tom: All right, well thanks Larry. Tell us about what you do.

Larry Towner: Well, we do consulting for vending industries. We do big companies, small companies. We specialize in startups. If you need help, give us a call or actually send us an email. It’s [email protected] Again, [email protected]

Tom: Oh, you mean … Go ahead, do it again.

Larry Towner: [email protected] That’s what I meant to say.

Tom: You’ve been watching Finding Profitable Vending Locations at the Vending Business Show, a publication of A & M Equipment Sales.

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