Most resellers don’t need reminding that facilities supplies is a golden opportunity. This £5 billion UK market is seen as a key route for reseller diversification because it is growing and continues to be less affected by consumer trends and changing work patterns than other categories.

However, when it comes to showing how and why resellers can match, if not surpass, other providers, it’s possible that not all are as visible in this market as they could be. Here are 10 steps that will help to change that and make the most of this huge opportunity:

1. Train your team

Reseller sales teams increasingly include a specialist from the JanSan or catering supplies world. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these among you, ensure they pass their knowledge on to their colleagues. Wholesaler and dealer groups will also offer FS training days, often in conjunction with suppliers, so take advantage of these so that every sales person in your business understands the product ranges and end-users’ motivations for buying them.

2. Be confident

Remember that many FS products are familiar household names, or are very similar to consumer products, so it doesn’t have to be a hard sell. While knowing the basics of health and safety legislation, or having useful facts to hand about the spread of colds in the workplace are useful, the solution you are selling is not usually an alien one. Encourage sales teams to have the conversation about FS every time they’re with a customer.

3. Remember your advantage

With the one account, one delivery, one stop shop offering, business product resellers have a distinct advantage over many of the JanSan and catering suppliers who work to five or seven day lead times. End users’ lives can be made easier by only dealing with one business, so let them know why that should be yours.

4. Make FS visible

It’s surprising how many resellers still don’t feature their FS offering on their websites and catalogue covers, despite offering tens of thousands of products. If you want customers to understand that you mean business and are a credible FS supplier, you need to make FS prominent wherever you are, on and offline.

5. Seasonal marketing

FS lends itself well to seasonal marketing campaigns, giving resellers the opportunity to talk to end users about different products all year round, whether that’s fans and cold drinks in summer, handwashing in cold and flu season and hot drinks, gritting salt and heaters over the winter months. From email campaigns to customer newsletters, making sure that you’re talking to customers about FS all the time is crucial.

6. Use data

Market trend data is really valuable as far as seasonal marketing is concerned. If you look at the data it will show where seasonality can make a difference and give you an understanding of the purchasing patterns that can follow.

7. Demo products

Take samples to customers and let them use, taste or experience the products for themselves. Whether it’s premium coffee or a better quality liquid hand soap, once people have been given a chance to try out new ranges or better alternatives to their usual purchases, there is a greater chance they will switch.

8. Take one step at a time

Because it’s a diverse category, ranging from catering and cleaning to maintenance and workwear, it’s understandable for some resellers to feel overwhelmed by FS. But rather than trying to tackle everything at once, get to know one sub-category at a time and talk to customers about that. Cleaning supplies can be a good starting point, where you can ask regular customers about their needs and how you can meet those, rather than trying to discuss everything at once.

9. Recognise the cross-sell opportunity

While learning about each of the FS sub categories one at a time makes sense, knowing where sales can lead is important. FS is a great arena from which you can enhance your customer’s shopping experience and provide a complete shopping basket.

10. Market to your internal and external audiences

Ensure your marketing activities are internally and externally focused. Not only is FS about educating and informing customers about what you can provide in this category, but also educating your internal sales teams so that your messages are consistent. Having marketing integrated across all your platforms is essential.

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