Sales Tip: Know Your Customer Before You Call on Them

You can learn a great deal about a new customer before you meet with them.  The first meeting with a potential customer often carries a long way in being able to build a strong, lasting relationship them. Below are some quick and easy steps to help in preparation for that important first meeting with a new customer:

Strategies:

Research the customer – If the customer has a website, and most do, take the time to study it. Read their mission statement and get to know their products and service offerings. A website, as a public-facing domain, can be a treasure trove of information of what the customer wants the public to know about them. When you visit the customer, instead of saying “Tell me about your business” – rephrase it as, “Based on what I researched, your company is involved in X, Y and Z.  I would be interested in hearing your perspective in recent successes and challenges.”

Research as ‘input’ not ‘output’ – As an extension to the above, do not conclude on what a customer does, simply by research. It is important to ask the customer about their perspective, since it is often more detailed (and sometimes, rather different) than a web based report.

Make a list of key questions – The objective of the first meeting is to come away with a greater understanding of the customer’s current situation along with ideas for developing a business solution presentation for your next meeting.  Ask questions that will lead you where you want to go, write them down, and use it as your road map during the meeting.

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It’s well worth making the effort to find out: who they are, what they buy and why they buy it.  Strong sales are driven by emphasizing the benefits that your product or service brings to your customers. If you know the challenges that face them up front, it’s much easier to offer them solutions.

Get Ready for Rainy Season with Umbrella Bags

Spring is in the air and the rainy season is well on its way. While rain can cause major and obvious problems such as flooding and slippery roads, it can also cause slippery floors which can lead to slip and fall accidents.

Slip and fall accidents are often an afterthought for restaurant, store, and businesses owners, however, they can be exceptionally costly and create massive liabilities. A 2006 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics rated the average cost of a slip and fall injury at $28,000. Furthermore, a Center of Disease Control report found that 20 to 30% of slip and fall injuries are considered moderate to severe, meaning head injuries, fractures, and sprains. Out of all work-related injuries and workers’ compensation costs, 15% of them are attributed to slip and fall accidents. If the injuries, lost work time, and workers compensation claims were not bad enough by themselves, slip and fall accidents can also result in expensive, time-consuming and resource-draining lawsuits.umbrella_bag_stand-m

While not all slip and fall accidents are fully preventable, there are easy and economical measures businesses can take to protect customers, employees, and themselves. One simple and cheap way to keep floors dry is to use Umbrella Bags from Elkay Plastics. Umbrella Bags are a proven, convenient and economical way to help keep water off the floor during rainy weather. Keep them in lobbies, entrances, and other access points as a courtesy to patrons, guests and employees to place their umbrellas in during bouts of rain. Our Umbrella bags are made from strong and cost-effective high density polyethylene and are available in two sizes to fit a variety of umbrellas. The bags are on a convenient header pack that provides easy dispensing for the user and makes it easy to replenish the bags on the stand. Elkay umbrella bag header packs have 4 large holes on the sides and one in the center so they will be able to fit a variety of different hooks and stands, including our own. Elkay umbrella bags are a convenient and low cost way to protect your customers, employees, and your floors.

Item

Description

Size

Gauge (mil)

Quantity Header/Case

UB0724

Medium Umbrella Bag

7 x 24

0.7

100/1000

UB0735

Long Umbrella Bag

7 x 35

0.7

100/1000

UBSTAND

Umbrella Bag Stand

19 x 45

N/A

1

New Tagline Announcement

Your business, our bags, problem solved. Does that sound familiar? It might because the phrase has been Elkay’s tagline going for 9 years. It’s got a nice ring to it and it’s undoubtedly catchy, but what does it tell our customers about Elkay? Does it illustrate the value and services that Elkay brings to its customers everyday?

Your business, our bags, problem solved has served us well over the years, but as Elkay has grown and evolved, it’s only right that our tagline follows. Over the last few months, we polled a few select customers to create a tagline that represents the strong relationship between Elkay and its customers and the value Elkay provides to them. After a large variety of tagline samples to choose from and many customer surveys, we selected the tagline that customers said resonates the most with them.

We are proud to announce that going forward Elkay’s new tagline will be “The right partner for YOUR success!”. It is a tagline that matches our corporate culture and exemplifies to our customers that they are more than just business associates; that their success is important to us as is our own. We look forward to being your partner that helps bring you success for years to come.

quote_banner_w_new_tagline

C-Stores Reached Record Sales in 2013

U.S. convenience stores reached record in-store sales in 2013, with sales climbing 2.4% to $204 billion. Combined with motor fuels sales of $491.5 billion, overall convenience store sales were $695.5 billion, according to figures released recently by the NACS.

The c-store industry’s in-store sales have seen rapid growth over the last decade, as consumers seek out more food and beverages on the go. In-store sales in 2013 were led by continued growth in foodservice up 2.4%. Convenience stores also account for 34.3% of all retail outlets in the United States, according to Nielsen, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drugstores (41,378 stores), supermarkets (37,459 stores) and dollar stores (24,853 stores).

Beyond sales, convenience stores are an important part of the economy. They employed 2.2 million people and generated $174.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2013. Overall, convenience stores sales represent one out of every 25 dollars of the entire $17.4 trillion U.S. gross domestic product.

Here’s how in-store sales were broken down in 2013:

• Tobacco (cigarettes and other tobacco products): 37.0% of in-store sales
• Foodservice (prepared and commissary food; hot, cold and dispensed beverages): 18.0%
• Packaged beverages (soda, alternative beverages, sports drinks, juices, water, teas, etc.): 15.5%
• Center of the store (candy; sweet, salty and alternative snacks): 9.9%
• Beer: 7.9%
• Other: 11.7%

Meanwhile, foodservice was the category that drove profits, accounting for 29.1% of gross profit dollars. Packaged beverages were second, accounting for 19.6% of gross profit dollars.

New Products: Safe Handling Bags on Plastic Header

In order to provide added convenience to our end users, we are proud to introduce our new safe handling bags packed on handy plastic headers. To make life easier for butchers, meat department staff, and kitchen staff, our bags feature a perforated tear line that allows staff to place meat inside the bag, quickly tear off the filled bag and then repeat the process with the next bag. The rigid plastic header has a large space that allows it to hang from a wide variety of different hooks and stands. The bags are made from strong and durable 1.5 mil low density polyethylene that can hold large quantities of meat without tearing and will ward off any leaks. Each bag is printed with meat safe handling instructions and cooking instructions in both English and Spanish to promote best practices in the kitchen. For more information and free samples, contact your dedicated Elkay Sales Consultant or fill in our sample request form:

  • Printed with safe handling and cooking guidelines for various meats and poultry in both header_pak_safe_handling-mEnglish and Spanish
  • Meet FDA Requirements for use in food applications
  • Made from strong low density polyethylene that prevents leaks and tears
  • On plastic header for speed and convenience
  • 100 bags per header
  • Plastic header is designed to be hanged

Ready to order? Just click on the links below and add the items to your shopping cart:

 Item                            Description                                         Size       Gauge (mil)   Qty/Case

SFH0915 Printed Safe Handling Bags on Plastic Header 9 x 15 1.5 1000
SFH1218 Printed Safe Handling Bags on Plastic Header 12 x 18 1.5 1000

How Clear Packaging Can Help Grow Impulse Sales

image012Clear packaging can be used to improve the visibility, image and drive impulse sales of products leading to an increase in sales and net profits. Researchers have found that the transparency of food packaging does influence purchase decisions in positive ways depending on the size, visual appeal and healthiness of the food it contains. But when these same items are placed in white or craft paper packaging, the foods visual attractiveness has little overall effect on influencing purchases.

Retailers spend millions of dollars annually on advertising campaigns to encourage consumers to purchase more of their featured products. Packaging, however, is less expensive and, in some ways, can provide a more effective approach to driving consumer purchases. Consumers are looking for fast service, fresh ingredients and portability in choosing a meal solution. Clear packaging improves the visibility of product quality and drives sales.

Elkay’s “Fast Take” concept puts this idea to task by providing foodservice operators with a consumer preferred meal solution that meets the growing Grab-N-Go meal trend and customer preference for an easy to see, easy to buy meal option. The Fast Take solution consist of: A sandwich wrapped in BOPP or a small sub sandwich in a lip and tape bag, a cookie in a lip and tape cookie bag, a fruit (apple or banana), a bag of chips and a drink option (bottled water, juice, etc.) all placed in Elkay’s clear loop handled bag.  Easy to see, easy to buy and easy to carry out!image012

At the heart of the ‘Fast Take’ program is an elegant new polypropylene bag with convenient and sturdy loop handles that serves as a carrying bag for the purchased items and a sturdy and elegant lunch bag. The bag is robust enough to be reused several times, and at the end of its life is completely recyclable.

‘Fast Take’ can help increase sales by encouraging customers to purchase a complete meal such as a sandwich, chips, a drink and a piece of fruit or desert item rather than just one or two of those items. Operators who don’t offer grab and go food are missing out on fantastic sales opportunities. The “spend opportunity” gap for customers has been estimated to be as high as 92%, meaning that there’s potential to increase the spending of nearly every customer that walks in the door! The fast food industry learned the value of the ‘Combo Meal’ decades ago. ‘Fast Take’ helps foodservice operators put this concept to work for them as well with a low cost system to bundle drink, sandwich and snack in an attractive and handy package that appeals to the customer’s need for convenience and value.

The Case for Water Soluble Laundry Bags

A recent article in Clean Link discusses a largely unnoticed problem in hospitals; the spread of bacteria in laundered towels. The spread of dangerous bacteria and pathogens causes Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) which, according to the Center of Disease Control, account for approximately 99,000 unnecessary deaths and tens of billions of dollars in costs annually in the US alone. While Hospital acquired infections are well-known and heavily documented, it is a new revelation that they could potentially be spread by towels thought to be clean.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from University of Arizona, conducted a study of 10 Arizona hospitals on the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Dr. Gerba collected three “clean” cloth towels from each hospital and analyzed them for the presence of bacteria. His findings were alarming, 93% of the laundered towels tested positive for dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli and Klebsiella among others.

Gerba pointed to inadequate laundering practices as one of the main culprits. According to Dr. Gerba: “If they’re folding these [laundered] towels, they need to make sure they disinfect the tables first. They could be taking their dirty laundry down and piling it on the table before putting it in the machine.” Gerba also explained that if a janitor or custodian has dirty hands from handling dirty laundry, they could be spreading the bacteria to clean laundry. He further elaborated that a janitor’s hands could get tainted when putting dirty laundry in the washer and then putting wet laundry in the dryer, which could infect the clean laundry.

Water soluble laundry bags, combined with hand washing and other best practices, can drastically reduce the spread of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Water soluble bags are made from non-toxic polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) that will fully dissolve in water at temperatures at 140º F or above. They include dissolvable ties to seal the bags once the laundry is placed inside. When using water soluble bags, janitorial staff will not have to come in direct contact with dirty laundry and will be able to place the bag with the contaminated laundry directly in the washer, preventing the staff from becoming contaminated. The bags, which can hold wet or damp laundry for several hours, will not damage drains or sewer systems, and are environmentally friendly, leaving behind no residue. Water soluble bags, in combination with other best practices, are an inexpensive and logical product for any hospital or long term care clinic. They provide a low cost solution that will help reduce the spread of Hospital acquired infections, which results in healthier, happier patients and significantly lower costs.

Check out Elkay’s selection of Water Soluble Bags:

Item #       Product Name    Size

Gauge

Case Pack

  UOM
WSB2633 26 x 33 Water Soluble Bag 26 X 33 .8 mil         100    CS
WSB2839 28 x 39 Water Soluble Bag 28 X 39 .8 mil         100    CS
WSB3639 36 x 39″ Water Soluble Bag 36 X 39 .8 mil         100    CS

Selling Specimen Bags into Healthcare

The Laboratory environment within healthcare can be complex and constantly changing; however, the good news is that the lab specimen bags used within most medical facilities is quite commonplace. For most lab specimen bags used, there is a typical standardized mix as outlined below:

Key Lab Specimen Bags Used Within Healthcare Locations:

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

 LAB20609

 6 x 9 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LAB20810

8 x 10 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LAB211215

12 x 15 Standard Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

STAT Bags for Rush Situations

Part Number 

Description

Quantity/Case

LAB20609STAT

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

Colored Bags for Sample Segmentation

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

LAB20609BE

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with blue tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609GR

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with green tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609OE

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with orange tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609YE

6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with yellow tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609ROP

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red opaque tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609RE

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bag with red tint and pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

LAB20609AS

 6 x 9 Reclosable Biohazard Lab bags with assorted colors and pockets for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

(200 bags each of red, blue, green, yellow, and orange tints)

Adhesive Seal Bags for Situations that Require Tamper Evidence (such as Drug Testing) 

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

 LABAC20610

 Standard 6 x 10 Biohazard Lab bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LABAC21010

 Standard 10 x 10 Biohazard Lab bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

 LABAC21517

 Standard 15 x 17 Biohazard Lab Bag with security seal and pocket for documents

 1000/case, 100/pack

Unprinted Lab Bags for General Purpose, Non-Biohazard Required Applications

Part Number

Description

Quantity/Case

LAB20609NP

Standard 6 x 9 clear Reclosable bag with pocket for documents

1000/case, 100/pack

 

When working with Hospitals or Independent Reference Labs, below are key steps to follow that will make the sales process a smooth one:

1.  Always Start with the end user. Visit the Lab Department to identify the Lab Manager and speak with him or her to identify what types of products the Lab uses today in relation to Lab specimen bags. Be sure to ask about specimen bags and any other type of bags they may be using such as courier bags, etc. You may find that the account uses standard stock products or customized bags.

2.  After you identify WHAT they are using, ask WHO they are sourcing the product from today and if they are apart of any GPO program. The Lab may or may not know those answers, so you will need to find out who the Materials Manager in their Purchasing Department is. Also ask about HOW many bags are used either monthly or annually per SKU.

3.  THEN go to the Purchasing Department AFTER you are armed with the knowledge of what the facility is utilizing. Approach the Materials Manager and mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss specimen bags from Elkay Plastics. State that during one of your visits, you had met the Lab Manager and they shared information about what the facility is using today and that Elkay has a comparable product which may save the facility money.

4.  Once you have been able to contact the Materials Department, work with your distributor account manager to provide a quote and any samples that are required. If at any point along the sales process if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to any member of our Healthcare team. We are here to help and assist with any questions you may have.

5.  Convert that business and begin reaping the volume rewards of healthcare sales! Remember, it begins with YOU simply asking a few questions and leveraging your existing network to get the necessary introductions. Good luck!

Tips for Distributors Selling Poly Bags to Restaurants

Selling poly bags to restaurants can appear to be a daunting task, but don’t sweat it! The best way to resonate with restaurants is to focus on presenting solutions that increase their operational efficiencies that will, in turn, help them control waste and save in food and labor costs. Here are a few simple and effective tips, product recommendations, and solutions distributor sales reps can present during sales calls with restaurants:

Question to ask: Is there any pre-portioning of ingredients for any menu items?
Product Recommendations: Portion Control Bags
Solutions Provided: Less waste and consistent servings through tighter portioning.

Question to ask: Are any ingredients re-purposed for other recipes?
Product Recommendations: Reclosable Bags and Utility Bags on Rolls
Solutions Provided: Food cost savings through less waste.

Question to ask: How are perishables stored in refrigerators and freezers?
Product Recommendations: Reclosable Bags and Utility Bags on Rolls
Solutions Provided: Extended product life and less opportunity for cross-contamination in foods.

Question to ask: Are any menu items baked in hotel or steam table pans?
Product Recommendations: Ovenable Poly-Nylon Pan Liners and Value Plus PTL Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor, utilities, supplies, and clean up costs. Reduces food waste when unused product is stored in the same bag to be re-heated.

Question to ask: Are any soups, chilies, or sauces heated in crock pots?
Product Recommendations: Round Bottom Poly-Nylon Pan Liners and Value Plus PTL Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor, utilities, supplies and clean up costs. Reduces food waste when unused product is stored in the same bag to be re-heated.

Question to ask: Are any menu items or ingredients held in steam tables?
Product Recommendations: Steam Table Pan Liners
Solutions Provided: Savings in labor and clean up costs.

In summary, make a few key observations, ask the right questions, deliver a strong value proposition and you will consistently increase your sales numbers.

Improving Restaurant Food Safety

Foodborne illnesses are among the biggest problems facing the fast casual and quick­service industries, with one in six Ameri­cans each year becoming sick from dining out. Almost any type of food can spread ill­nesses, particularly meat, greens and dairy. Outbreaks tend to be traced to improper storage and unclean surfaces that allow bacteria to latch onto food products.

The cost of treating people with illnesses linked to restaurants annually tops $365 million in direct medical costs. Combating potential illnesses, however, doesn’t require extensive costs; there are a number of easy steps restaurants can take that involve little or no additional expenses.

  • Train workers to clean work stations, prep meals, and properly handle and store image009products
  • Workers must be aware of the resistance of highly contagious germs like Norovirus
  • Constant hand washing and sanitizing must be enforced across the restaurant.
  • Correct food storage is important to keep food from becoming contaminated.

Proper food storage ensures the retention of the nutritional value and functional property of a food product without compromising its aesthetic value. Perhaps the most common choice for commercial food storage is plastic storage bags. Often freezer-proof, they can be simple bags with a twist tie or they could have a zipper or press-seal to keep the air out. There are also specially designed bags for fruit and vegetable storage which allow some air into the bag. Fruits and vegetables can last for up to six weeks in such bags.

Restaurants need to maintain rigid quality assurance and sanitation standards to ensure that patrons always receive fresh, wholesome products. This can easily be achieved by the proper usage of polyethylene products for food storage such as plastic bags, plastic rolls, lock top reclosable bags and/or sandwich bags.

Check out our Foodservice line of products to help your establishment keep foods fresh and prevent the spread of foodborne illness.