How To Dramatically Increase Route Sales
I often find that most food and beverage distributors aren’t focused on the fundamental factors associated with increasing route sales. Most are concentrated on implementing complicated strategies that, in the end, marginally increase profits. You have to find a way to master the fundamentals in the same way that Steph Curry consistently practices dribbling to dominate the game of basketball. Below you will find 4 basic strategies that WILL increase your route sales.
1. Track REAL Commissions
• How are you tracking actual route sales? Like most people, route sales reps are interested in meeting their quota & maximizing commissions. To do this, I’ve seen reps oversell product in order to inflate sales numbers. Although overselling makes the sales rep look like the MVP of your sales team, you can often follow the paper trail to uncover actual sales in the long run. When you are tracking commissions for your reps you must subtract credits/returns from sales. You will often find that sales reps who inflate their sales numbers will have an unusual amount of credits in the long run. To calculate true sales, commissions must be paid far enough in the future so that you give your reps enough time to re-visit each customer at least twice. This will enable you to compare invoiced goods against credited/returned goods to come up with REAL sales numbers.
2. Prevent Route Sales Theft
• The leading cause of lost route sales is a sales rep who spends the entire day selling your merchandise to his customers on the side. Things to look out for is a consistent amount of merchandise that magically goes missing out of the back of the truck. You’ll notice that this happens to the same sales reps over and over. You can download a simple spreadsheet to track van inventory or use Route Accounting Software that tracks incoming and outgoing inventory on the truck.
3. Incentivize Your Sales Reps
• Most distributors don’t understand why route sales reps aren’t motivated to go out and find new business. This is because the top priority of most route sales reps is to simply deliver product to YOUR customers. When Sam Walton started Walmart, he would offer every store manager equity in the business and profit share tied to the success of his store. Like Walton, I recommend that you give your route sales reps a recurring piece of each new business that they bring to the table. This, beyond everything else, will instill a sense of pride in your sales reps and will make them feel like an integral part of the business.
4. Find Products That Don’t Sell & Kill Them
• On a day to day basis you must invest time analyzing your gross profit per product. In most instances, the hottest selling products do NOT generate the largest profit for your company. You MUST start utilizing the reporting in your accounting system to take into account item sales vs. costs + credits. This reporting will often reveal at least one high-selling product that doesn’t actually make any money and wastes most of your time. Don’t be afraid to kill your high grossing-no profit products, and concentrate on pushing the 20% of product that generates 80% of your profit.
To increase route sales, you must concentrate on mastering the fundamentals of distribution. Doing this will dramatically increase team moral and cash flow as a result. The four tips that I’ve shared in this article are the most basic steps to route sales success. Don’t put the cart before the horse with expensive systems and complicated procedures. Instead, implement and test each one of these strategies with effort and care to get massive results that will have directly reflect in your bank account.