Foodservice product training lessons from detergent salesperson

Some may wonder what foodservice product training and detergent sales have in common.

But spend four hours with Sam who sells detergent and you’ll learn a lot about training and marketing.

Sam and I chatted recently as part of my research to create a content marketing and social media campaign for the company he represents.  He was the go-to guy, I was told, because he has a 360-degree view of everything relating to the detergent world.

Sam is like many top sales reps I’ve talked to over the years:

  • He dislikes the description of what he does as “sales.”
  • He’s a constant learner.
  • And he probably knows more about each customer’s situation than the customer himself.

In fact, Sam told me he never asks for an order.  Many top sales folks have told me the same thing which flies in the face of most advice from “sales gurus.”

Foodservice product training lessons

What Sam does is a lesson for foodservice product trainers and marketers because Sam knows what motivates customers to buy.  It’s about educating customers — the most effective marketing around.

Sam spends his entire day teaching and training his customers and prospects about not just his product, but the equipment, safety issues, procedures and other direct or indirect topics.  He sits on industry committees to know the inside story on what’s behind legislative and product trends.

And he’s a one-person marketing machine armed with a smartphone and iPad.

In other words, Sam understands that no product stands alone.  There’s an entire world your food (or detergent!) product fits into.  Customers see your product in this broader context — not in its isolated form as it appears on a sell sheet.

Sam also documents many customer visits and the variety of uses of his detergent with informal smartphone photos and videos.  He then uses these visual aids to educate new customers down the road.

Find (and incent) the Sam or Susie in your company and make it easy for them to share their anecdotes and insights.

Your most effective social media and content marketing assets already exist.

Sam has them.


foodservice marketing