Whenever he is presented with the opportunity, sales consultant Jim Pancero relays a story of a delivery driver, who when leaving a stop, cut off a client in his car. When the client honked his horn, the delivery driver gave him the finger in response.

The client told Pancero, “as the driver was giving me the finger, the company logo was surrounding his hand” on the truck. The story ends with the client promising that he would never do business with that company again.

Although the story is a bit extreme, it’s emblematic of what is in jeopardy if a delivery driver does not fully embrace a jan/san distributor’s vision and goals.    
“Drivers are so important because they are the face of our company,” says Andy Parker, a vice president at T. Frank McCall’s Inc., in Chester, Pa. “We have a lot of accounts that are too small for a salesman to go see, but these drivers see them all of the time.”

If there is any doubt of the importance of drivers in delivering both the distributor’s products and branding messages, then Pancero, president of Jim Pancero Inc., says all the distributor has to do is a little math. 

Figure out “how often drivers are communicating with the customer and how many total minutes a day they spend either face-to-face or on the telephone talking to customer,” Pancero says. “If we do the math, I bet the driver spends more time with a regular customer over a month than the salesperson does.”

Delivery drivers are an extension of distributors’ brands and their customer service teams. They need to act professionally and live up to the promise of great service.
Two drivers who have been delivering orders for T. Frank McCall’s for decades have worked to nurture relationships with clients, skills that they were empowered by the company to develop, Parker says.

The pair are used as another set of eyes for the company, which relies on them for insider information about the clients’ ordering habits. For example, if sales are down, the drivers can tell if the client is buying products from a competitor, or if there is another company in charge of cleaning the facility.

Drivers can also glean if customers are expanding or downsizing, if they are buying another company or are being sold, says Parker.

“I have one or two salesmen that are good at going in the front door and the back door, but for the most part they are going in the front door and the drivers are going in the back door,” he says. “They will give us a good heads up about what is going on in the marketplace, especially in the smaller accounts.” 

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Drivers Are Brand Ambassadors