Just like jan/san distributors must take action now so they can save money on ice melt, the present is the perfect time for them to rectify their most common slip ups. For starters, distributors should continue to do more of their own research so that they’re not hoodwinked by the manufacturers that embellish the claims they make for their product.

“I would say a big mistake would be taking a manufacturer’s claims about pet safety, temperature and environmental safety at face value,” says Clemmer. It’s worth clarifying that Clemmer says some manufacturers are worse than others when it comes to making claims, and that “hyped-up claims” have probably only been occurring over the last 10 years.

The surest way to avoid falling for false claims is to work with an ice melt manufacturer that’s well known and respected in the market. If distributors still have their doubts about the information they’re being fed, it’s a good idea to start asking some questions.

Clemmer encourages distributors to simply ask their ice melt manufacturers to explain in detail why the product claim is legitimate. He also suggests asking to physically see and read the data that leads to the claims being made.

“You start asking questions like that, you’re going to hear a lot of retreating,” says Clemmers.

Being proactive about investigating ice melt claims will help distributors avoid a situation where customers become angry at them. End users are exceedingly prepared to do their own research on ice melt after being burned by a product that didn’t live up to its claims. For example, a slip-and-fall incident or injury caused by ice melt might result in some investigation. If the end user discovers that the ice melt they were sold didn’t perform as advertised, it could be the distributor who sold them the product that is scolded.

“I believe legitimacy is more important now than ever. End users have a higher level of access to information than they did 20 to 30 years ago,” says Haskell. “End users will absolutely make that extra effort to educate themselves and consider what their desired results are, and if they’re not satisfied, they’ll quickly make the decision to consider other alternatives.”

Because of what's on the line when selling a product, Jensen says it behooves distributors to test what they’re selling themselves. That way, they can avoid selling a problem ice melt long before the end users are looking to purchase that product.

Another mistake end users make that jan/san distributors can easily solve is not purchasing the right ice melt for the right situation.

“Distributor reps need to gain an understanding of what the end user’s desired results are in relation to where they’re located in the country,” says Haskell.

He recommends the sales reps also become aware of where the ice melt is being placed — is there vegetation in the area that they need to protect? — and what the end user’s desired results are. The type of ice melt that’s selected should help fulfill these needs.

There are four main consumer qualities of ice melt: rock salt, economy blends, premium blends and advanced power. The customer that’s concerned about safety in high-traffic areas and is willing to pay for the best performance should consider advanced power. Customers that want something that’s dependable and consistent in its melting capabilities should consider premium blends. Those that just want the cheapest possible option would desire rock salt, while a customer that’s cost-conscious but wants better performance than rock salt might want an economy blend.

“Regardless of ice melter, it is important for customers to follow the application rates on each of the package labeling and to use as directed,” says Haskell.

While some customers just want that cheapest option when it comes to ice melt, price shouldn’t be a focal point in a jan/san distributor’s sales pitch. In fact, manufacturers say that selling on price alone is one of the biggest mistakes they see jan/san sales reps make.

In addition to learning the product and selling on more than just price, distributors can earn the business of end users by offering some additional services. Jensen suggests sales reps offer samples and testing to end users. This can be done right up front.

He also suggests that reps reach out to past customers to see if they’d be willing to provide a referral or testimonial for the ice melt they had purchased.

As much uncertainty as there is with what the coming months and seasons will bring, there's quite a bit of research and prep work that distributors can do to make sure it goes as well as possible. Just don’t wait too long.

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Tips For Ordering Ice Melt